People sitting outside restaurants on Castle St, with the Town Hall in the background

BLOG: Food (and drink) for thought

A brand new food and drink festival is coming to Liverpool next month which is central to re-positioning the city’s reputation as a must-visit gastronomic destination. Culture Liverpool’s Commercial Director, Sue Finnegan writes about how the stars aligned to bring Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux to the city and how, as with all events staged here, you should expect the unexpected.

Our street food scene has been described by The Guardian as “one of the most exciting in the UK” with new, immersive, quality food and drink venues popping up in some of the most unexpected places and capturing the attention of visitors, investors and media.

For many of the world’s billions of tourists, gastronomy has become a central point of the tourism experience, a catalyst for the growing trend of food-motivated tourism.

Liverpool has the opportunity to position itself as a leading UK foodie destination – a sleeping giant of social and economic potential – through our latest venture.

This isn’t a traditional food and drink festival stereotype – expect the unexpected. French flair meets scouse style, chef’s demo turn Kitchen Disco, plenty of neon, DJ’s, music, instagrammable moments, the city’s finest architecture unlocking their doors and an opportunity to talk to the world’s finest Bordeaux wine producers. It’s a family-friendly city-wide dine-out celebrating a sector revolution; something new, multi-generational and different.

For Liverpool, it marks an exciting new era in our efforts to enter into new markets and develop a competitive edge for gastronomy-led tourism.

Building on our relationship with the French Government and the Grand Conseil du Vin de Bordeaux, now feels like the right time for Liverpool to invest in the development of a brand new festival which celebrates the people and plates, making the city region one of the most exciting foodie destinations in the UK – a zeitgeist moment – an alignment of the stars.

Led by the private sector, powered by the sector, strategically and politically supported by public sector, Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux, has many strands. It will profile our glorious hospitality sector and provide a platform to engage with our young people, to attract and recruit participating colleges and apprenticeships for the next sommeliers, mixologists, waiters, pastry chefs and hospitality legends of the future. It brings together the brightest strategic and creative minds to ensure its impact is far reaching beyond the plate, addressing and driving solutions to some of the sector’s greatest challenges.

Liverpool now shares a seat at the table alongside our sister Fete le Vin cities of Bordeaux, Hong Kong, Brussels and Quebec – an opportunity that not so long ago, we could only dream of. Thanks to the strength of our collaborative relationship with the private sector, Liverpool BID Company and business levy payers contributing to the Retail & Leisure and Culture & Commerce BID’s, we have co-created and co-produced a festival of scale, profile, ambition and legacy – solid foundations to build upon each year.

Relationships are the single most fundamental ingredient to success – the sector trust in our ability to create world class content, to be ahead of the game on audience trends and behaviours and strategically understand emerging economic strengths we need to pounce on and capitalise. Agility and entrepreneurialism is critical in what we do.

Other UK and international cities are watching Liverpool with a close eye in this aggressively competitive market place. This means we must constantly re-invent, re-strategise and re-create, identify new and untapped growth markets, deliver spectacles of scale and ambition, take balanced and measured risks challenging the status quo and secure global strategic brand partnerships which elevate our positioning. Importantly, our job is to ensure Destination Liverpool is at the forefront of innovation.

Sue Finnegan, Commercial Director, Culture Liverpool | Chair, Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux

Taste Liverpool. Drink Bordeaux takes place in Liverpool city centre from 2-5 June.
Use code WINE15 to get a £5 discount on Bordeaux Wine Experience tickets.

Liverpool Waterfront