London Cocktail Week will become a month-long event aimed at supporting the on-trade industry as it rebounds from the initial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Cocktail Village, which usually hosts pop-ups from beverage brands, will not run this year. Instead, London Cocktail Week 2020 will focus on "celebrating and supporting" the London bar scene to survive the crisis by driving consumers through the doors.
Offerings at partner venues throughout October include a £6 cocktail available to festival-pass holders, special menus and in-venue immersive brand activations. Activations previously took place in empty retail spaces, but this brand spend will now be directed towards supporting existing bars. All pop-ups and events will adhere to government guidelines and be announced in September.
Sponsorship comes from spirits companies Brown-Forman, Diageo, Edrington-Beam Suntory and Moët Hennessy, which have committed their support alongside 26 individual brands including Bacardi, Grey Goose and Patron.
With the popularity of digital events over the lockdown period, London Cocktail Week 2020 will also be adding an at-home element to its event. It is working to reimagine its "Cocktail Tours" to run via a national delivery service so consumers can take a tasting tour of Soho from home.
The co-owners and organisers of the festival, Hannah Sharman-Cox and Siobhan Payne, have made several commitments to the industry ahead of this year’s instalment. They have pledged to help their bar partners get back on their feet, ensuring the safety of their guests, maximising the number of people that can take part in the festival and bringing the London bar scene together.
Sharman-Cox and Payne said: "The hospitality industry is in very real danger, and not acknowledging that would be foolish. Bars are ready and willing to accommodate guests but, understandably, people are nervous.
"As London Cocktail Week, we have a very real responsibility to reassure our thousands and thousands of consumer guests by working closely with our bar partners to ensure they are meeting all the requirements to be deemed 'responsible operators'. If we can give people a reason to get out and get exploring London again, we've really achieved something good."
If there is a second lockdown, the October event will be postponed or pause, in that eventuality tickets will be fully transferable or refundable.