Who won The Perfect Blend 2024 QLD Regional Final?

This year’s Regional Finals across Australia and New Zealand each see a day of education or a brand immersive experience unique to their state.

Our QLD finalists were treated to a day on Loop Growers Farm, just north of Brisbane CBD, to learn about regenerative farming and the importance of soil health to flavour development in produce. The Beam Suntory brands, in particular Maker’s Mark pride themselves on sustainability, so to lead the educational experience was Rhianna Lucas, our very own National Maker’s Mark Diplomat who collaboratively worked with Alice, Paul and Peter, at Loop Growers to provide the finalists with a Meet the producer experience.

The group of competitors went on a guided walk around the grounds, trying and tasting all the (unique and some unheard of, I may add) produce, learning about regenerative agriculture and creating a zero-waste loop between producers and the hospitality industry. The finalists were then treated to Maker’s Mark Private Select tasting, perfectly positioned by the fire while the rain continued to fall outside. Glorious.

Following this was a delicious, literally straight-from-the-garden dinner by the restauranteur and chef from Yoke. – a partner of LOOP Growers, accompanied by delicious Maker’s Mark cocktails.

On Tuesday morning, the fourth Regional Final for The Perfect Blend competition was held in Brisbane at Cloudland, revealing the winners from the Apprentice and Professional category.

An array of awe-inspiring talent took to the stage to present their signature creations in front of an esteemed panel of judges … 17 finalists to be exact!

Eight bartenders competed in the Apprentice Category and nine bartenders competed in the Professional Category, with each showing off their skills and sharing their interpretation of the submission brief presented last year in September 2023 upon entry of The Perfect Blend.

They had to choose one of two briefs:

  1. Tradition
  2. Personality

On the judging panel for QLD was Jamie Flemming, Rhianna Lucas, Tony Huang and Jack Stacey, and they decided the final 50% of their weighting toward the finalists’ overall score. Prior to this they completed 10% Blind Tasting, 15% Product Knowledge test and 25% World Bartender Day listings.

After strong performances by each competitor the time of the night came for the announcements of who will proceed to the grand final, hosted at Bisou Bisou a Jim Beam Welcome dinner was where the scene was set.

Who were the winners? Drum roll please…

In the Apprentice Category, Thomas Svensson from Boston Shaker Bar took out the top prize, while Sam Russ from Agnes – took out the top prize in the Professional Category.

From left to right: Thomas Svensson, Apprentice Category, and Sam Russ Professional Category.

The Perfect Blend 2024 Queensland winners, Thomas Svensson and Sam Russ will now progress to the Grand Final in June, to be held in Queenstown, where they will go head-to-head and compete with the other lucky finalists from each Regional Final.

The finalists competed for that trip of a lifetime for two bartenders to head to the U.K, visiting Beam Suntory’s award-winning distilleries as well as IMBIBE and experiencing some of the world’s best bars.

Two Regional finals left… keep following on!

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