The inaugural Bartenders’ Weekender event is launching in Brisbane this June – Drinks Trade

The inaugural edition of Bartenders’ Weekender will take place over three days in Brisbane from 16 to 18 June this year, featuring more than 30 individual events.

Created by industry figures Sam Bygrave and Penny Sippe, the long-weekend festival has been specifically tailored to Australia’s bar trade. Attendees should expect the event to offer invaluable opportunities to learn, network, and celebrate alongside fellow bartenders and trade workers from across Australia.

“Bartenders and drinks professionals shouldn’t have to travel to the US or Europe to get inspiring and in-depth knowledge from accomplished bartenders, operators, distillers, and drinks creatives,” said Co-Founder Sam Bygrave. 

“We feel now is the time, too, for Brisbane’s bar scene to take a turn in the limelight.”

Bygrave  is the editor and founder of bartending publication Boothby Media. Last year, he was named as one of the top 100 most influential bar industry figures as part of the UK’s Drinks International awards, and has featured on the Oceania academy chair for The World’s 50 Best Bars since 2018. He is also the Asia-Pacific co-chair for Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards and is a frequent host at trade events such as the upcoming Paramount Liquor’s recent Future Proof Adelaide. 

Bygrave co-founded Bartenders’ Weekend alongside Penny Sippe. Sippe brings with her more than 20 years in the marketing and events industry, including 9.5 years at Bacardi-Martini Australia. 

In the lead up to the event, five scholarships will be awarded to emerging bartenders to help encourage the next generation of industry trade.

“We have created a scholarship program and are looking for the five most promising bartenders to bring to Brisbane and encourage the next generation of passionate industry professionals to become leaders in their home cities,” said Sippe.

Successful applicants to the program will be provided with an all access pass to the venue, along with return flights to Brisbane, three nights accommodation, $500 spending money, and a Better Bars Summit pass. For more information or to apply, visit the following link. 

The Better Bars Summit will headline the festival, providing guests with bartender career advice across subjects as diverse as opening a business, exploring creative possibilities, and improving bar-work itself. The summit will take place over two days and will include a mix of presentations by individual speakers, panel discussions, and one-on-one interviews with Sam Bygrave. 

The list of confirmed speakers includes:

  • Jason Williams (House Made Hospitality) 
  • Natalie Ng (Doorknock, Now & Then) 
  • Hayden Lambert (Above Board)
  • Evan Stroeve (The Waratah)
  • Stefano Catino (Public Group, Maybe Sammy)
  • Andy Young (The Shout, Bars & Clubs)
  • James Irvine (Merivale), Rob Libecans (Caretaker’s Cottage)
  • Samantha Payne (Wine writer, sommelier)
  • Matt Whiley (RE)
  • Sammy Ng from Singapore (Puffy Bois) 

Early bird tickets are already available for purchase.

The list of brands that will be supporting the event includes Fever-Tree, Jim Beam, Proof & Company, Joseph Cartron, Burdekin Rum, Teremana Tequila, Four Pillars, Act of Treason, Starward, Moet Hennessy, Remy Martin, Saint Felix, StrangeLove, Jagermeister and Never Never.

For more information, visit the event’s webpage. 

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