Europe’s greatest export to promote the art of strong drinking opens next week in one of America’s oldest cities, Boston.
SIBOS, an acronym for Standing In Buckets Of Slop,
was created by the Belgians as a way to promote wine and beer drinking
and is normally held in the Autumn to pre-empt Germany’s October
Beerfest and France’s Beaujolais Nouveau day. The Slop in the acronym refers to the grape crushing
by peasants in barrels of fermenting wine (or the participants lying in
it during this trade show), and was the Belgians method of poking fun
at their German and French counterparts.
However, this year being
a year in which Europe comes together to celebrate fifty years of
union, the show has become almost an Olympics for drinking and the
European’s, especially the British, usually win the drinks final that
takes place on the Thursday evening at a secret venue that only paying
attendees are able to be involved in.
Moving each year between
Europe, Asia and America, the show really has become the finest display
of holding one’s drink around the world. Last year for example, the
Show took place in Australia and had the theme "Raising Ambitions". This referred to the raising of glasses to higher levels.
This year, the theme is "Gaining Momentum", which is quite hard to do after you’ve had a few, and goes with the overall by-line of "More Together" which we all share as a vision – more drink together that is.
enough, the attendance at the SIBOS show is normally represented by
only the most drink-hardy industries, such as banking and technology.
These hearty souls are able to really take more than the average barrel
of brew and still remain standing.
The organisers of the show – a firm called SWIFT which I think stands for Some Wine Imbibed For Tea
– have this year tried to extend the attraction of the show to other
industries, which they have called ‘corporates’. Corporates have
apparently stayed away from SIBOS historically because they prefer
drinks with meals in nice restaurants, rather than late night clubbing
in great warehouses full of wine and beer. Even so, and even with
Boston being the home of the Samuel Adams brewery, it appears that over 100 of these corporates are likely to come along this year, which is no small achievement.
Now, for those virgin corporate drinkers coming to the throng, a word of advice.
Many of the people at the show talk about payments. Avoid those people, as they’re generally trying to work out how to lumber you with the bill for the round of drinks.
On the other hand, if you hear people talking about supply chain, get
in there early as this normally refers to the order of who pays for
which round of drinks and, if you are there are the start, it means you
can position yourself at the end of the chain. Hence, when it comes to
your round, most of your chain will be so blotted that they’ll have
forgotten you have to pay and you will get away with drinking all night
Finally, the worst people to mix with are those who talk about messages. This is because it is a colloquial SIBOS phrase derived from the Scottish meaning of messages, as in to ‘get the groceries’.
In SIBOS parlance, it means that if you get stuck with the messages
then you not only have to buy all the drinks that night, but you have
to give everyone a large double Scotch to finish off the evening too.
That can be very expensive, so keep away from that lot.
Anyway, I’ve been at SIBOS for several years now. Can’t remember a thing about them but luckily I kept a blog in 2006, so I can remind myself what the hell I did.
Pass the port old boy.