World Class is the largest and most prestigious bartending competition the world’s bar industry has seen. However, World Class is much more than a mere cocktail competition.
Reserve Brands is the part of Diageo tasked with nurturing the company’s premium brands so by default they operate in the higher echelons of our industry. It is the good folk at Reserve who are behind World Class. They see this as a vehicle “developed to educate and inspire bartending talent to create exceptional cocktails, service and experiences.”
By encouraging and supporting the improvement of bartending standards around the world, the rationale is that better bartending will lead to better drinks and so offer a better opportunity for their luxury brands. Presently World Class operates in some 50 countries and bartenders from all these markets are invited to participate.
World Class starts with Studios, training sessions where experts impart their knowledge to groups of potential World Class bartenders of all abilities. They are designed to inspire bartenders and provide with information on two very prevailing bartending topics – sustainability and flavour manipulation – to nurture skills and prepare the attendees for the competition.
Held in major cities in participating countries, 11 World Class Studios were held in cities across from UK, from Edinburgh to Bournemouth, during October and November 2017.
Bartenders are now invited to submit their entry cocktail recipe between 15th February and 30th March 2018. The Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador team will then carry out in-bar judging of every cocktail entry during April and then select their top 30 to put through to the Semi Finals which will take place on 29th May in London. The top ten will then be put through to the final.
The winners of the national finals will be invited to take part in the World Class Global Final. Akin to a bartending Olympics, the 2018 World Class Global Final will be held in Berlin, Germany where 50 bartenders will represent their countries, their bartending talent being very broadly tested by a series of challenges, each judged by respected gurus of the bartending industry.
World Class starts with many hundreds of bartenders in each country and concludes with one winner. Continuing with the Olympic analogy, that winner, The World Class Bartender of the Year, is best compared to the winner of the decathlon due to the number of different bartending disciplines tested.
Winning a national World Class final is a career changing achievement. Being crowned The World Class Bartender of the Year is life changing.