Diageo World Class is back in 2021 and Madrid is the host city

Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year returns in 2021, with entries to the Australian competition open from 1 Febuary. 

The Australian winner will compete in the Global Finals, where a new World Class Global Bartender of the Year will be crowned in a unique multi-format event hosted in Madrid, Spain from 5-8th July 2021. The event will be the first since the 2020 event was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and will be specially created to celebrate global cocktail culture safely in line with all prevailing government guidelines.

The move to Madrid for the 2021 Global Finals, from the intended 2020 host city of Sydney, allows the adapted event greater flexibility to work across multiple timezones. Instead, Sydney has been confirmed as the host city for the World Class Bartender of the Year Global Finals 2022.

World Class Bartender of the Year – Australian Competition

Back to find the 12th Australian winner, Diageo Reserve World Class is calling on local bartenders to represent their country and enter the drinks industry’s most respected bartending competition. A new format competition, bartenders will lodge their drinks via the Diageo Bar Academy portal before competing in a series of challenges where they use Reserve Brands to experiment with flavour, balance and creativity across Ketel One Vodka, Tanqueray No.TEN gin, Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch whisky and the Diageo Malts portfolio. Prizes will be given at every stage of the competition, rewarding more bartenders than ever as part of the program.

Diageo has assembled the best in the business to inspire and guide bartenders through the challenges, including previous World Class victors and Australia’s finest culinary talent. An interactive online masterclass on 20 January will arm the bartenders with everything they need to know to enter and compete. These sessions will be recorded and available to all bartenders to view at their leisure to support their entry preparations.

To celebrate the Australian finals in April, Diageo will also host the World Class Cocktail Festival, a seven day national program of experiences that celebrate the craft of cocktail culture. The festival will culminate with the national winner being crowned at an inspiring event on 26 April in Sydney, hosted in strict accordance to COVID safety regulations. Further details will be announced in due course.

Krystal Hart said: “This year, the hospitality industry has battled its greatest challenge in known history. But what has emerged from the hardship is an inspiring sense of camaraderie, community and creativity – exactly what World Class is all about”.

“We’re thrilled that World Class is returning in 2021 and cannot wait to see what Australia’s inspiring and innovative cocktail leaders have in store for us. We have a feeling it’s going to be one of our most impressive competitions yet”.

Andrea Gualdi, 2017 Australian Bartender of the Year, said: “World Class is so much more than a title. It is a tight-knit community that encourages us to connect with, learn from and inspire each other – pushing drinks culture to the bleeding edge of innovation. No matter where you place in the competition, World Class leaves a lasting impact and helps open the doors to so many new experiences and opportunities”.

Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year – 2021 Global Finals 

To ensure the safe running of the event, Diageo has designed a number of scenarios for the 2021 World Class Global Final, all with Madrid as the host city. This includes scenarios where bartenders compete in person, if safe and allowed, as well as partially or fully virtual scenarios with bartenders competing from their own country.

Simon Earley, Global Head of Diageo World Class, said: “2020 has been a difficult year for everybody in the drinks industry, but it’s also been a catalyst for innovation, creativity and community. We were determined to create a safe environment where we could recognise that and give people something to look forward to”.

“It’s a genuine privilege for me to confirm the World Class Global Finals will take place next year. Our priority is the safety of our people and our bartenders so we’re delighted to be able to announce this unique multi-format World Class finals to safely celebrate the people taking drinks culture to new heights. Madrid is a fantastic city, full of culture and creativity and home to some of the best bars and bartenders in the world”.

“The final decision on which format we’ll adopt for the World Class Finals 2021 will be decided early in the new year, based on the global situation. Whatever the scenario, we will create something special and we will showcase and celebrate the very best of cocktail culture and the bartenders who make it happen”.

The World Class Bartender of the Year Competition is the world’s biggest and most respected bartending competition, celebrating the skills and artisanship of bartenders worldwide. It is an annual competition entered by thousands of bartenders across the globe, culminating in a Global Final event and experience. The World Class Competition is not only where the best bartender in the world is crowned, it’s where the latest trends are showcased by industry leaders, trade’s biggest issues are unpacked by those actively championing them, and brand and partner innovations that will shape and define future drinks experiences.

Entries for the 2021 Australian competition are open from 1 February and can be made by visiting https://www.diageobaracademy.com/en_zz/world-class-/competition/