Fernet-Branca Barback Games
Words by Difford's Guide
Photography by Fernet-Branca
Back after its Covid-forced one-year hiatus, Fernet-Branca's Barback Games celebrates the unsung heroes of hospitality, and this year will reward the winning UK team with a trip to Milan where they will have the honour of designing the 2022 pressing of the iconic Fernet-Branca Coin.
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Bartenders in San Francisco first adopted the WWI military challenge coin tradition with Fernet-Branca Coins in 2010 and it quickly spread among other bartenders across America and then the world. Bartenders present their Fernet-Branca Coin when meeting other bartenders and if able to match the challenge by producing their own coin. If they are unable to meet the challenge with their own coin then custom dictates they buy the challenger a drink. Hence, Fernet-Branca Coins have become something bartenders place on the bar when visiting other bars to denote they are a bartender. The coins are high prised and very collectible.
The Fernet-Branca Barback Games is a competition that invites teams from bars across the UK to compete against each other in a series of four challenges inspired by daily tasks carried out in a bar, all against the clock. Taking place at the end of the month-long London Cocktail Week on the 28th October at London's Village Underground, the games are part of the grand finale of London Cocktail Week.
Bartenders, barbacks and bar managers are invited to represent their bars and be in with the chance of being crowned the top bar team in the UK. Teams, comprise two members of their bar and applications for bars to enter closes on the 5th October. Competitors and spectators will be offered complimentary Fratelli Branca drinks, food, and an incredible live performance. So, if you don't fancy competing then be sure to sign up to the guest list to support your fellow hospitality family. These 2021 games will be a celebration of the reopening of hospitality and bouncing back from one of the toughest 18th months it's ever seen.
Enter your bar team at fernet-branca.co.uk/barbackgames applications are open until the 6th October, with finalists announced on the 8th October, 2021.
To get your name on the Guest List
Sign up at fernet-branca.co.uk/barbackgames or ask your local Hi-Spirits rep for a wrist band to guarantee entry on the night. Strictly guest list or wrist ban entry.
The Barback Games 2021 takes place at the Village Underground in London on the 28th October.