LCW 2018: 'Best international turnout ever'

Hannah Sharman-Cox, MD of Drinkup.London joined Drinks International to discuss the success of the ninth edition of London Cocktail Week.

Drinkup.London owns three annual festivals; London Beer Week, London Wine Week and London Cocktail Week, the latter of which came to a close on Sunday October 7.

After running the festival for nearly a decade, Sharman-Cox believes this year has been the most successful in terms of international attendance and ticket sales.

“We’ve had the best international turnout for a long time, The World’s 50 Best Bars obviously helped us there but our ticket sales are up on last year,” said Sharman-Cox.

“We’ve been focusing on the American audience because the Mayor’s Office and Visit London have been trying to get US tourists to visit London before moving onto Paris, so we’ve worked with them on this.”

LCW 2018 partnered with 300 bars around London offering £6 cocktails to anyone with a ticket to the festival.

“I reckon we say no to a further 3-500 bars,” she added. “We want to target the top bars and we now have someone employed just to select the participating bars.

“A bar’s revenue increases significantly during LCW. White Lyan, as it was two or three years ago, they were 50% up on revenue the week proceeding, during and after LCW just on £6 cocktails.

“Obviously this makes it well worth while for a bar to be on the list and that’s why we have to be quite militant with who’s on it.”

LCW is open to both trade and consumers wishing to discover different brands, bars and cocktail serves.

Sharman-Cox added: “I originally thought it would be a trade event but then the first year 5,000 people turned up that I’d never met. Since then we’ve continuously listened to feedback and now the programme of events is shaped around trends and what different brands are doing.”

This year the LCW main hub was moved from Spitalfields Market in east London to Truman’s Brewery on Brick Lane to accommodate for more activations and bar space.

“Every council in London has different rules about hosting events so it makes it very difficult to change venue. We outgrew Spitalfields Market where the hub was based the past few years.”

Next year will mark the 10th edition of the festival and there are no signs of slowing down according to Sharman-Cox.

“The show will go on. I’ve been building up a lot towards the 10th year and I know I’m going to cry when we get there.”