[:it]Interview with Paola Mencarelli, creator of the Florence Cocktail Week[:]

[:en]Paola Mencarelli

From 21st to 27th September come back there Florence Cocktail Week, the event dedicated to mixing organized by Paola Mencarelli. The event, which has come to an end this year fifth edition, has become in just a few years a point of reference in the sector, involving an ever-increasing number of cocktail bars: from 13 in 2015 to 40 this year, between Hotel Bars, Cocktail Bars and High Volume Bars. For the second year in a row, from today until Sunday 20 September, the other event featuring the 10 Tuscan provinces also takes place, the Tuscany Cocktail Week, which this year takes place in 70 cocktail bars. To delve deeper into some general themes and others of particular interest in this exceptional year, we asked some questions to thecreator Paola Mencarelli.


Five years ago the Florence Cocktail Week was born, which this year will be held from 21 to 27 September. How did the idea of creating such an event in the city come about?

Cocktail Week was born in London in 2008 and from there the format spread throughout Europe and the world. In 2016, we had the intuition to propose it again in Italy. It is a format that adapts based on the city in which it is replicated. Florence, being a small city, is suitable for allowing the public to take the entire tour in cocktail bars. Based on the format we, as Florence Cocktail Week, have then included the Masterclasses in the afternoon and the Guest Nights in the evening.


What are the greatest satisfactions that the event has given you in recent years?

The greatest satisfaction is having seen the level and quality of mixing in Florence grow. Five years ago there were already some cocktail bars doing research but on an international level the city had no weight. Now, together with Rome and Milan, Florence has become one of the international capitals of reference, also thanks to the arrival - in recent years - of international journalists and opinion leaders.


This is a special year for the events sector. How will yours take place? Will there be any differences compared to previous editions?

We are lucky because ours has always been a traveling event unlike fairs and bar shows. In our planning there was only one final moment in which the final contest should have taken place between the bartenders - which for this edition we decided not to do - and RiEsco a Bere Italiano, the Salotto dei Liqueurs, Bitters and Italian Spirits with 20 Italian companies . This is the only part we had to give up, because it would imply the presence of tasting tables and we would have to stick to the distancing rules, which are difficult to respect in this case. This does not affect the rest of the event, which was nevertheless a miracle on an organizational level.


Given the historical moment, have you thought about a possible cancellation or has the desire to send a positive message to the sector always been stronger?

No, we just postponed the event because the initial scheduled date was supposed to be May 4 -10. We immediately decided to move the event to September 21st – 27th and so it will be.


What turnout do you expect this year?

Undoubtedly the entire international part will be missing but, as there are no other events in the sector, we still expect a good turnout. Since it is a traveling event and not a fair, we will not be able to have a count of entries.


Last year, in the wake of the Florentine event, the Tuscany Cocktail Week was born, which this year will be held from today, 14 September, until Sunday 20. What kind of feedback did you get last year?

It was a first activation and it was not easy to organize it from scratch. This year there was much more participation from everyone, including cocktail bars. We have increasingly made companies aware of investing in the provinces - the new claim of the event is in fact Responsible drinking and quality drinking, enhancing the territory – and this year we have already had the first results.


Do you have any future plans?

It would be nice to bring the Florence Cocktail Week brand abroad. But now let's think about this edition.[:]


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