New and interesting products – that’s the lifeblood of the bar business. Anyone running a bar, whether it’s a straightforward bar or part of a restaurant, nightclub or hotel, needs to keep the back bar fresh, the management systems up-to-date and the ambiance exciting so patrons and profits keep coming in the front door.
Just like you, we editors walk the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show floor with an eye out for the latest and greatest, the cool and new and the fresh takes offered by the venerable brands. Here are just a few of the products (in no particular order) that caught our eye when we hit the show floor in Las Vegas, along with our quickly jotted notes on why we were intrigued.
What were show-stoppers for you? Click here to let us know!
Local Local Local - if you are in Texas this better be on your shelf. Clean and Clear and not you daddy's vodka. If you’re not in Texas, think big and think local at the same time and get a bottle.
Pink is the new black and this bottle rocks. Owned by a dentist and made in Oregon.
Esteban Ordonez is one of the coolest brand Ambassadors around and makes Rum drinks at a new level. He is part of the New Breed of barmen.
Still the cheapest in town and now have a new coating that makes your flyers have a wet looking texture.
When you don't want to deal with the 800 pound gorillas in your market, now you have options on selling tickets to your shows.
Business size old school Polaroid pictures and cool cameras to shoot your guests and have them leave with a hot take home to remember where they have been. With smoking being banned in so many places – and matchbooks therefore obsolete – clubs need more take home pieces that work to remind them where they been and where to return.
The Party Bomber
This little tool holds your shots and drops them into pint glasses, making a fun way to do Bomb shots without the mess and banging on the tables.
ABSOLUT Wild Tea
Hints of tea, apples, citrus and elderflower – elderflower is the flavor of the moment that actually took hold – make this latest ABSOLUT entry a keeper. Already made room on my home back bar.
Peanut butter vodka? Why not! Odd as it sounds, it works. Like a peanut butter cup; holds its own over ice and makes a great PB&J Martini.
Hot graphics and handy single-serve bottle make this RTD carbonated-coconut-rum cocktail appeal to guys and gals alike. Created by a dental-hygienist-turned-drink-diva.
Cruzan 9 Spice Rum
This one packs a punch of vanilla and dried spices, and I picked up caramel as well. Rum is heating up this summer for sure, and this is a great way to spice up the Rum & Coke crowd.
This website is like the OpenTable.com of nightclubs. Visitors can book tables, invoice friends to share costs of reservations, submit guests lists via Facebook and buy tickets to events in venues. The only downside is a limited launch; at the time of my visit, they only had five clubs in LA signed up to be part of the service.
This iPad software allows patrons in lesser traffic service areas of a club to submit drink orders and even pay for them by swiping their own card; definite applications in venues where labor is at a premium but speed of service is crucial. They've even built entertainment such as games, local weather and cab calling services into the software. The venue has to buy the iPads as the program involves only the software and the iPad holder. One thought: iPads are not waterproof, meaning spilled drinks could be an issue, but the holder does keep it off the tabletop surface.
With decreases in technology driving prices of moving heads and laser systems down, the entrance fees for clubs to install world-class lighting systems are cheaper than ever. There are units that start as low as $70 and only a few simple devices can adequately light an entire room. Not to mention the full range of control Chauvet offers the operators.
Offering one of two options to avoid drunken driving, this multi-city service will either come pick you up at the beginning of the night and drive your car around (for $15 an hour) or dispatch a team of two to pick you up at the bar and make sure you get home safely ($25 + mileage.)
A 3D display system and backend technology that allows clubs to hand users glasses and experience the same quality they're used to seeing in animated movies inside the club. The devices can incorporate advertisers (they had floating bottles of Budweiser when I stopped by) or any theme the operator wishes. Will clubgoers really want to wear glasses during their experience? We’ll see. More importantly, patrons will be busy watching and perhaps not purchasing drinks (unless those floating Bud bottles prove enticing enough…).
Spirits ranging from absinthe and gin to rye and single malt whiskey. I tried both the gin and the single Malt (Triple Smoke) and was really surprised -- both were ridiculously smooth. Andrew Webber, CEO, and Jason Ingram, Director of Sales, were very enthusiastic about their brand and answered all my questions enthusiastically. It’s obvious they love what they do, and they loved being at the show, too!
After wearing heels all day then all night to a club, any woman can tell you that the best gift is changing out of those stilettos into something comfortable. Sweetslips offers foldable ballet flats that are the perfect remedy to a long night of partying. They’re easy to fold and hide in your purse while also being quite stylish, too.
Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Booth
Adding new mixers into your pantheon of drink mixes is difficult, but Bruce Cost’s Ginger Ale is both fresh and natural alternative. With smells of wafting ginger, the ginger ale itself is authentic, made with fresh cane sugar with hints of the ginger spice. This is a nice addition to your backbar and a fresh idea to add to any gin or bourbon cocktail. It also comes in Pomegranate with Hibiscus and Jasmine Green Tea flavors.
Dr. V Booth
The husband and wife duo behind Dr. V energy drink mixer certainly know how to sell their product; on the Show floor they were handing out Cosmos mixed with their odorless and tasteless energy drink mixers. With most energy drinks, the taste can be a deterrent, but Dr. V’s mixers are flavorless, and, what’s more, it’s a vitamin-infused soda water that is good for you, so guests can get the energy they need to enjoy another Vodka & Soda without any funky aftertaste.