Surekha Ragavan
Jun 14, 2018

Case study: Singapore Cocktail Festival

How the events team dealt with sensitivities among competing brands and ensuring equal publicity.


The Singapore Cocktail Festival's (SGCF) second edition took place last month across 10 days and 41 bars, and featured 24 international bartenders.

The highlight for visitors was a three-day carnival-like setup dubbed the “Festival Village” at Empress Lawn, which made use of Victoria Concert Hall as a resplendent backdrop. This segment of the festival pulled in 8,000 visitors.

“The choice of venue is crucial. It determines the canvas against which the event is designed,” said Wai May Leng, managing director at The Events Artery, the agency alongside Food News PR tasked to handle brand partnerships, venue partnerships, programming, logistics and operations, marketing and PR.

“Our venue came with zero infrastructure but our team went through multiple technical and production meetings to ensure water and electrical power supply, manpower resources and inventory to meet the demands of the three-day festival.”

The main objective of SGCF is to elevate Singapore’s position as an “iconic cocktail city” and to boost trade.

“We feel that the market is ready for this, people are open to craft experiences and we thought the festival would be the perfect platform to showcase this,” said Shamima Rafi, general manager at The Events Artery.

“The festival has been able to reach out to a lot of people who are newbies in the cocktail scene – people who are out for a good time, but fall in love with the amount of craft and passion when they meet these guest bartenders.”

For the first time, the festival featured bar pop-ups from brands like Belvedere Vodka, Hendrick’s Gin, and Monkey Shoulder. On top of brand partners, the team worked with bars, artisanal spirit distillers, content partners, individual bartenders, sponsors and more.

They also had to ensure the content of the festival appealed to all visitors – from newbies to cocktail aficionados.

The Events Artery was also responsible for organising this year’s ceremony for the Asia’s 50 Best Bars announcement, which tied up nicely with SGCF. The prestige of the list helped to boost the agency’s F&B portfolio, while also elevating SGCF as a serious platform for bartenders in the region.

Of course, for a festival of this scale, the run-of-the-mill logistical challenges come into play – consistent water and electrical supply, AV, and safety and security. A unique challenge for the festival was making sure that all bartenders and bar pop-ups had sufficient ingredients and equipment to set up their stalls.

“The inventory for something like this is different than something like a beer festival where you just provide them with beer. At SGCF, we might need rosemary to burn under someone’s nose, and a lot of other things to source,” said Rafi.

On top of that, the police permit for the festival to use the venue came with a caveat – an alcohol license up to midnight but for noise levels to subside by 10.30pm. To deal with this, the team introduced a silent disco segment.

“We made one quick announcement to everyone at 10.30, and we were pleasantly surprised at the results. Almost all our 200 headphones provided were used up and people ended up taking lots of Instagram pictures,” Rafi said.

“We found that it worked well."


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