A bumper bartending bash

All the action from Sydney Bar Week — and dates for 2013 announced!

Phil Bayly — Bar Week

By David Spanton

Well what an action-packed line up of events unfolded recently for Sydney Bar Week! People from all over the country once again descended on Sydney for what is without question the biggest gathering of bartenders and bar professionals in Australia each year. We implemented many new changes to the schedule this year and none better than the move back to the event’s spiritual home at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in the Rocks. If there was one thing everyone could agree on it was how much better this picturesque waterside location was for both the trade and general public visitors. And with the addition of the amazing weather blessing Drinks Fest again this year, it was hard to believe we were all actually ‘working’ down there!

Other changes, like expanding our bar events to consumers as well as trade was also welcomed with sell-out after sell-out bookings. This was our first year doing consumer events and I must say I now am hooked! For over 13 years I have focused on the bar professionals who are very spoilt for choice with the perks of the business and therefore pretty tought to please. So what a nice change it was for us to open our doors and welcome a host of passionate consumers eager to learn more about drinks and bar culture.  I wish we had done this sooner as it proved a real win for not only the visitors but also the exhibitors who managed to sell loads of takeaway stock.


How good were the Bar Awards! Well pretty bloody amazing if you were to ask Anton and Jason from Shady Pines and Baxter Inn. This innovative team and their talented staff managed to scoop the pool with the “Best Bar” award but also “Best New Bar”, “Best Drinks Selection” and “Best Bar Operators”.  It’s a massive achievement especially when you consider how strong the competition was on the night. I don’t recall there ever being such an amazing line up of new bars in the running for an award and I strongly believe that it’s the highest standard of bars we have ever seen launch in Australia. Aside from the Baxter boys there were a host of great bars and people who also won on the night, so congratulations to them all. A special congratulation goes to Greg Sanderson from EDV for taking out the coveted Bartender of the Year title. A lot of hard work goes into preparing for this competition so well done Greg for an amazing job. Pointing an actual shotgun at the judges during the competition final can pay dividends!

Thank you to our valued sponsors because without their support, staging such a big event just isn’t possible. I always say to readers the best way you can support Bartender magazine or Bar Week is to consider these exhibitors, advertisers and sponsors when you’re making a purchasing decision. If it’s a close call between suppliers’ then maybe their support of this trade event is that extra tick for them to win your business over the supplier who choses not to support Bartender or Bar Week. If you value what we do then this is my request to help us continue providing you with the best possible trade magazine and event.

Finally thank you to my amazing staff and the fantastic Flying Ruby Events team and most importantly thank you to everyone who attended Sydney Bar Week and helped to make its events such a roaring success!

Mark your diaries!

Get these dates for Sydney Bar Week 2013 down: Saturday the 21st of September to Tuesday the 24th. This year is expected to be a big one, so make sure you mark your diaries and get plenty of time off work!

Editor’s Pick: Ocho Curado


A few years back Tom Estes, the internationally renowned tequila aficionado and founder of Ocho, swung by my office with local tequila legend Mr. Phil Bayly. When this happens you know the rest of your day is over as once you get these passionate amigos started you just need to sit back and enjoy the show. What they came to showcase and “test” on my team and I was this new Ocho concept called “Curado” which is an infusion of 100% agave blanco tequila with pure cooked agave fibres. In essence it’s tequila infused with the flavour of cooked agave. I recall thinking it was a well aged Anejo but the fact is it’s a Blanco with some added rich, earthy flavours.  There currently isn’t much of this stuff floating around and if you can get your hands on a bottle you’re doing well as not even Bartender HQ got a bottle this time round! Well-done Tom and the Ocho family. Available through Thinkspirits.

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