Never Never Distilling Co. have announced ‘Step Into the Never Never’ is back for its second year, a cocktail competition that’s aimed to celebrate and solidify bartenders at every level of experience around the country. An opportunity to spotlight the next generation of talented Aussie mixologists, explore exciting flavours, and celebrate the hospitality industry as a whole – an industry that has been challenged more than most over the last few years.
“One of the core values of Never Never is that we celebrate hospitality,” says Co-Founder and Brand Director at Never Never Distilling Co. Sean Baxter. “It’s a part of who we are, it underpins the products we make and it’s the reason we do what we do,” he says.
To be a part of the competition (for all the details click here), bartenders need to create a Never Never menu for their venue featuring one drink from each of the two categories; a gin and tonic featuring Never Never Triple Juniper Gin and a three ingredient cocktail using Triple Juniper Gin or Ginache, and then promote them in their venue using a menu they design.
To be a part of the competition, bartenders need to create a Never Never menu for their venue featuring one drink from each of the two categories; a gin and tonic featuring Never Never Triple Juniper Gin and a three ingredient cocktail using Triple Juniper Gin or Ginache, and then promote them in their venue using a menu they design.
“It can be an insert, a chalkboard, a projection, a pinboard, a holograph, a tattoo, although I’m not sure how your mum would feel about that one,” says Sean, “It can even be written on the back of a coaster, whatever you feel works for your venue, just make sure it works as a menu and is live from May 9th, 2022.”
‘Step Into the Never Never’ has been built to be as inclusive as possible, attracting bartenders from all walks of life, as long as they’re motivated by putting as much flavour in the glass as possible. One winner from each participating state around the country will then be flown to South Australia to partake in a three-day Bartender Challenge during the Adelaide Fringe Festival that includes amazing food and cocktail experiences. From the rooftops and marketplaces of Adelaide to its most exciting new bars, restaurants, and wine regions, they’ll be doing it all.
One winner from each participating state around the country will then be flown to South Australia to partake in a three-day Bartender Challenge during the Adelaide Fringe Festival that includes amazing food and cocktail experiences. From the rooftops and marketplaces of Adelaide to its most exciting new bars, restaurants, and wine regions, they’ll be doing it all.
During the day, the Bartender Challenges will allow the winning entrants to flex their skills for cash prizes in some of Adelaide’s most iconic locations. During the evenings, they’ll experience everything that Adelaide’s Fringe Festival and food and drink scene has to offer. In addition, they’ll visit the Never Never distillery in McLaren Vale, meet and speak with some incredible industry mentors and get to taste all the flavours of South Australia.
While campaigns like ‘Step Into The Never Never’ are not sales-driven, they supports relationships with bartenders. On a business level, these are the people that have the power to be ambassadors and advocates of brands, and on a personal level, the industry is a close-knit one and bartenders are very much its beating heart.
“As soon as I became a co-founder in a spirit business, I wanted to create something that backed bartenders of every level to get involved. We’ve tried to create a competition that still rewards and celebrates creativity, but not at the expense of simple, well-made drinks. The gin and tonic and the three-ingredient cocktail are some of the most common gin cocktails requested in venues and also the most delicious, so we wanted to create a cocktail competition that focuses on these two drinks in particular,” Sean says.
Pivoting their marketing efforts, ‘Step Into The Never Never’ is a way to say thanks to bartenders, who are gatekeepers for spirits brands – their recommendation on a product holds weight with consumers – a menu placement can move cases and a simple verbal recommendation can turn a customer into a lifelong fan.
“We tried to create experiences that would be impossible to replicate anywhere else in the country, taking some of the best food and booze moment’s that South Australia has to offer and transforming them into the backdrops of some outrageous bartending challenges.”
The judges selected to participate in the final prize are some of the industry’s most experienced, acting as mentors to the competitors during the trip and offering valuable insights into what has made them particularly successful.
“Ultimately these are drinks that bartenders should be familiar with, that would regularly feature on menus all over the country,” says Sean, “this is an opportunity to show us your creativity to win a chance to spend a few days with us.”
Winning venues will also win a case of Triple Juniper Gin or Ginache for giving up their bartender for several days if they are successful in making their way to South Australia to partake in the national prize. To find out more on ‘Step Into The Never Never’ and how to enter, see here.
Established in December 2016, Never Never Distilling Co sets out to embrace a sense of adventure, harnessing the fearless spirit required to push into the unknown. Based in Adelaide, the Never Never Distilling Co is the coming together of three fiercely passionate individuals; George Georgiadis is Managing Director, Tim Boast is Director of Distilling and Operations, and Sean Baxter is Brand Director.