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Bar event first look: Tokyo International Bar Show

  • Photo courtesy of Ju

    Photo courtesy of Julen Esteban-Pretel

  • Photo courtesy of Ju

    Photo courtesy of Julen Esteban-Pretel

  • Photo courtesy of Ju

    Photo courtesy of Julen Esteban-Pretel

Thirteen years ago, Whisky Magazine launched a Japanese language edition and the local publisher decided to throw a party. He booked a small venue and invited some distillers to hand out samples. That party grew into the phenomenon that is now Whisky Live! -- a malt extravaganza that now takes place in 16 countries.

Event Turns Bar Show

Last year, the organisers decided to broaden their scope and tied up with the Nippon Bartenders Association. They renamed the event The Tokyo International Bar Show and invited leading bartenders to give seminars. The bar event drew about 10,000 people and convinced the organisers to do it all again this year.

"The Bar Show has evolved naturally out of Whisky Live!, and the response this year from both consumers and producers alike shows that the combination of the finest drinks and cocktails with the finest bartenders is an enticing formula,” says event founder David Croll.

Meet the Legends, Discover Rising Bartenders

This year’s theme will be “Legends and Rising Stars”. In the legends corner will be Diageo World Class judge Peter Dorelli and Tokyo’s martini master Takao Mori. The rising bartender stars will be Jim Meehan of New York’s PDT bar and Fumiyasu Mimitsuka of Tokyo’s Little Smith bar, who is also the winner of the world’s best after-dinner cocktail award at last year’s International Bartenders’ Association contest.

They’ll be performing on the main stage and hosting more intimate seminars, as will leading whisky writer Dave Broom. Drink and cocktail producers will take to smaller stages to talk up their latest releases.

And for the old Whisky Live! fans, there will still be plenty of free-flowing malt, including many of the winners of this year’s World Whisky Awards.

Book your flight now.

Tokyo International Bar Show
April 20, 21, 2013
Tickets: 1 day: ¥5,000; 2 days: ¥9,000


Nicholas Coldicott has been writing about Japanese drinks and bars for over a decade. He's the former editor of Eat Magazine, former drink columnist for the Japan Times, and former contributing editor at Whisky Magazine Japan.