Pub and club show drips with glitz

Today is your last chance.

Since Monday, the nightclub and bar industry has taken over the exhibition halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center for the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show. The event, which ends today, offered more than 91 educational programs for attendees and attracted about 600 exhibitors throughout more than 80,000 square feet of exhibition space. An estimated 34,000 people attended.

The show floor is open today from noon to 5 p.m. Registration, which is open to the public, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Exhibitors have included suppliers and manufacturers, nightclubs and bars. Las Vegas-based Ultimat Vodka is one manufacturer that showed up to the party.

With a royal blue-and-pearl white backdrop, Ultimat’s booth featured young women serving shots of mixed vodka cocktails to an eager crowd. Brand director Ed Blinn said it’s important for Ultimat to have a presence at the show, because it’s a fairly new vodka and this marks the company’s first opportunity to showcase it to potential customers.

“It’s a great opportunity for sampling,” Blinn said.

One man agreed, walking away with his shot and saying, “Ah, now I’ve taken my vitamins.”

Ultimat Vodka, which is a brand within the Patrón Spirits Co., is distilled with wheat, rye and potato. Blinn said the company is focused on advertising and marketing its vodka. As such, the Ultimat brand is set to be featured at movie premieres including those for “Red Riding Hood,” “Battle: Los Angeles” and “The Hangover Part II.”

As conventioneers walked away from Ultimat’s booth, they could hear women from Sapphire Gentlemen’s Club offering discount coupons over a rap song’s thumping bass.

Exhibitors showing wooden bar stools, new bar tap technology and laser light effects lined one row, just before the Craft Brewer’s Pavilion, which featured microbrewery brands Samuel Adams, Blue Moon and Mirror Pond. Men and women lined up to taste the beer samples offered.

Joe Gold and his Bahama Mama’s Cigars were just across from the craft beer section. Gold’s booth, decked out in vivid orange and yellow and lined with boxes of varying styles of cigars, was packed with visitors.

Drae Collins, the business’s branding and promotional manager, spoke to customers about the product.

“I want to build the brand. I want to see it grow,” she said.

Two years ago, Gold sold Havana Honeys Premium Cigars to General Cigar. Now he has created a new brand, Bahama Mamas, and is back on the circuit. Gold, who already operates one retail shop at McCarran International Airport, has plans to open a second Bahama Mamas store near the baggage claim around April 15.

“We think it’s an ideal location for brand building,” Gold said.

At the convention, Gold wants to reach out to bar and nightclub operators who may want to carry his product.

“It all adds up,” he said. “You never know who’s going to come to your booth.”

Just across from Bahama Mama’s was the Emulator, a multitouch-screen disc jockey system that was blaring Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy.”

“It’s basically a toy for DJs,” said Andrej Patrman, a DJ in Toronto.

The Emulator costs from $3,000 to $6,000, depending on size, either 32-inch or 42-inch, and the number of touch functions, either two or six. The high-end toy is manufactured by Smithson Martin of Ontario, Canada.

Across the show floor, a slew of technology companies displayed the latest point-of-sale systems. Large television screens played music videos, and spirits groups showcased their newest beverages. One enterprise even exhibited a waterless urinal.

Only in Las Vegas.

Contact reporter Laura Emerson at
lemerson@lvbusinesspress.com or 380-4588.

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