By Stefanie Collins, editor bars&clubs
The upcoming Agave Love event is an ideal way to educate drinkers and bartenders on the intricacies of tequila, mezcal and other agave-based spirits, says event organiser Phil Bayly.
According to Bayly, drinkers need more education around the different spirits and how they should be consumed, something he has experienced through his own venue.
“Having had Pacifico, and having served tequila over the bar, and then my interest in mezcal grew, I’ve been able to convert a lot of people into drinking tequila and enjoying it.” He says. “Seeing the popularity of mezcal come into the market here, I see people getting confused because they’re thinking that tequila and mezcal are the same thing and a lot of people are wanting to drink it the same way but not understanding why it’s expensive, and it’s not really what they’re expecting it to be, or appreciating it.
While the spirits are often misunderstood both in the trade and by drinkers, Bayly’s own passion for Mexico – and the wish to spread that passion – is the driving force behind Agave Love.
“I have been going to Mexico for the last 35 years and during that time I have met some amazing people who have inspired me to become passionate about tequila and Mezcal,” he says. “I thought it would be fantastic to these people over here to give Aussies a chance to actually meet some of them and hopefully get inspired by them.”
Agave Love has been structured to be much like the iconic Tales Of The Cocktail formula – with in-depth talks at venues that are within walking distance and quite intimate in themselves, to create atmosphere. The small bar venues have been chosen for proximity and their passion for agave-based alcohols. Given the size of the venues, the talk numbers are capped quite low, allowing for more interactions between attendees and the experts who are presenting.
Bayly says that he was deliberately trying to avoid the bar show model with a single venue, which can be overwhelming for attendees. Instead, Agave Central – the hub of the event – will feature brands and distributors in a simple set up of identical tables that he says lets the products speak for themselves.
“The idea is to make people interested and get them hungry for more information,” he says.
With the international talent on board – including members of the regulating boards for both tequila and mezcal, as well as internationally renowned bartenders and tequila ambassadors, Bayly says that the event is also a unique opportunity for local bartenders to network. It is also a unique event, in that it is the first time that such a diverse range of agave experts have been together in one place.
“The chance to actually meet [these experts] and actually sit down and talk with them [overseas] is close to zero – you’ll never find them, they’re too busy,” he says. “Here, they’ve dedicated their time [to the event]. It’s a great opportunity to make contact with people from Mexico, so that when you go there you can get a chance to go to some of these places you may not have found otherwise.”
Agave Love takes place 22-23 March 2015.