For our big November issue, we spoke with the winner of this year’s Bartender of the Year competition sponsored by Havana Club, Nathan Beasley. You can find Beasley at Melbourne’s Black Pearl.
How does it feel to be crowned Bartender of the Year?
It feels great! It hasn’t sunk in yet, I don’t know if it ever will. I am very fortunate and humbled to have had the opportunity to compete alongside the industry’s best.
What does it mean to win?
I think it is a wonderful award and great recognition for anyone who puts in the time and effort to challenge themselves in a competition format. It also makes you incredibly grateful for all the people that have put time into you in order to help you blossom as a bartender. It is recognition for their hard work also.
How did you go about preparing for the competition?
As my good mate and former Bartender of the Year Chris Hysted taught me, I picked apart the judging criteria for each section of the competition, focusing on trying to get the very most out of each point, as well as studying as much as I could.
What does it mean to you that Black Pearl went 1 and 2 in the comp this year?
It means a lot. Sam did a magnificent job of it. We always strive to make Tash [Conte, owner of Black Pearl] as proud as possible, as she has had a major influence on myself and the group. I think it is reward and a good reflection of our dedication of striving to do better at Black Pearl.
What was the group of competitors like this year?
So many talented individuals. Australia is kicking goals with the overflowing amount of bartending talent we have. Above all, the friendship and camaraderie shared is what I enjoy most about comps like this.