To make another a drink is to be human.
But the industry doesn’t rest, trends rise and they fall. And while technology can change the way we drink, and what we drink, it’s the people and not the machines that push things forward.
The bartender is unlikely to be replaced by software in the cloud any time soon.
But we do live in a global world, one in which ideas and drinks and new techniques can spread rapidly across oceans and continents.
With that in mind we present you The Creators List 2016 — a collection of people and their companies that are creating the future of the global bar industry.
We’ve pulled together a panel of well-travelled industry figures from across the world, each of them influential in their own right, and asked them for their suggestions as to who they think are the identities shaping the future of the industry.
To see the full panel — click here.
Here’s the 40 people creating the future of the global bar industry
Alex Kratena, P(OUR) SYMPOSIUM
It’s no surprise to us to see Alex Kratena on this list: having helmed The Artesian at The Langham, which has been at number one on the World’s 50 Best Bars list four times, his next steps are being eagerly watched.
“Alex’s post-Artesian life is even busier than before, and his new initiative, POUR (a non-profit education and discussion forum for the hospitality and drinks industry) is as innovative as his cocktail creations,” one panel member said.
” He creates unbelievably conceptual cocktail with service, and his hospitality is way beyond. Definitely one of the top influencers in 21 century so far,” said another.
Luke Whearty, Operation Dagger, Singapore
“Luke’s new bar, Operation Dagger is a natural extension of his time and learnings at Der Raum,” we were told. “House-made booze, amazing hospitality, amuse bouche on arrival and a unique aesthetic all made this stand out. It’s clear that alot of what defines him has come from Der Raum but this showcases and individuality far beyond his humble Richmond beginnings.” Whearty has been described as having the most considered — and “quite simply the best” cocktails in SE Asia, and “maybe in the world.”
“Luke’s creativity inside the glass is almost unparalleled, but it can blind you to his far greater hospitality vision outside the glass. Plus, he’s got a decent beard.”
Rich Woods, UK
Rich Woods in the global bar manager for Sushi Samba, which has locations throughout the world, and London’s Duck and Waffle.
He was described as “a social media guru, operator of an epic bar and volume concept, with awesome innovative well delivered drinks.”
“He approaches a drink in the same way a chef looks at a plate, by looking at the individual ingredients and building upon them and often likes to show that ingredients, normally associated with the kitchen, can quite equally be applied to the liquid world when you add balance.”
Pamela Wiznitzer, Seamstress, NYC
Pamela Wiznitzer runs the bar at Seamstress in New York, but you’ll also find her as a bartender of choice for many brands in New York thanks to her winning attitude and approach to bartending.
“This ex- Dead Rabbit bartender, and super busy woman manages be involved in so many different aspects of nurturing the industry whilst running successful venues,” one panel member told us.
We were told that his Imperial Shaker and other “machinery is pretty groundbreaking, his product range is good and consistent. He’s always been at the forefront of a great idea in some way, shape or form.” Another said: “as well as being charismatic, [and] engaging… he combines some of the best attributes to have; a solid portfolio of projects and products, and high quality creative work.”
“Kino is an up and coming talent in the Singapore scene at the moment,” the panel member told us. “She’s young and fresh (haha) and she’s a great ambassador for the Singaporean bartending community.
“She’s as cool as a cucumber when it comes to competing in cocktail competitions. She’s extremely passionate about bartending.”
Banjo Harris Plane, Bar Liberty, Melbourne
We didn’t limit this list to bartenders — the brief was, it was people who will be shaping the future of the bar industry.
And sommelier Banjo Harris Plane — who is doing great things with wine in Melbourne — is a welcome addition to the list. Described as an “outstanding ex-Attica sommelier that opened his own venue, Bar Liberty this year and organised the Grow Assembly, in reponse to MAD Symposium et al. Making wine more accessible for normal humans and bringing the appreciation of great wine to a new audience with zero pretension.”
Formerly at Clover Club in Brooklyn, she’s the co-creator of Speed Rack, the bartending competition that celebrates women in the industry and has been exported across the USA, over to London, and to New Zealand — we hear it’ll be making its way to Australia soon, too.
Jason Scott & Anton Forte, Swillhouse, Sydney
These guys are no suprise to find on this list — their influence on the bar industry in Australia is hard to overstate; they’ve hit number one on the Most Influential List in 2013 and 2015; and their Restaurant Hubert recently opened to critical acclaim.
“Each venue they create is innovative, stylish, and keeping abreast of market trends,” we were told.
The Baxter Inn landed at number seven on the World’s 50 Best Bars list last year, and Shady Pines Saloon — five years old now — has featured on the list in previous years.
Mike Enright, The Barber Shop, Sydney
“Mikey has been at the forefront of the Australian bar scene for nearly two decades,” we were told — and we have to agree. He continues to impress, with The Barber Shop going from strength to strength. “His keen eye for detail, incredible touch with people and his talent for originality in aspects of his professional output is seemingly infinite.” He’s also gone all in on the “idea of a gin bar (with the Gin & It) concept… driving consumer awareness on gin consumption across Sydney, whilst simultaneously championing mens grooming – which has never been so trendy in modern times.
Jörg Meyer, Le Lion Bar, Hamburg
You may be familiar with this Hamburg-based bartender— after all, he’s the creator of the modern classic cocktail, the Gin Basil Smash. Meyer owns Hamburg bar, Le Lion Bar, which is renowned for top flight cocktails (the bar landed at 19th on the World’s 50 Best Bars list last year) and he’s not short of words when it comes to talking about the industry. We were told: “The creator of the Gin Basil Smash does frequently start public debates in the bar scene about staff payment, work ethics, or commercial sell-out to brands.”
Xavier Padovani, UK
Xavier Padovani is the former global ambassador for Hendrick’s Gin and behind the Experimental Cocktail Club, which, if you know it, has been pushing the boundaries of the bar industry for years.
We were told that Padovani is “the ultimate concept creator and a very good host. Ibiza ECC is one of the most stunning cocktail bars [for a] beach experience.”
He also has network agency called Orfeus Agency, and has launched his own spirit called Vulson White Rhino Rye, a 100% rye grown and produced in the French alps.
Arnd Heissen, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Berlin
Arnd Heissen is doing something different at Fragrances at the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin. While a number of bartenders will play around with aromatics, Heissen has used fragrances by the likes of Giogio Armani and Bulgari as the launching off point for their cocktails.
“The award winning bar manager has developed an interesting concept with Fragences bar. He’s applying the art of aroma therapy to cocktail creation,” we were told.
Steve Schneider, Employees Only, Singapore
American bartender Steve Schneider is familiar to many Australian bartenders through his work with Bacardi Legacy last year; he’s moving closer to these shores, as he is a partner in the soon to open Singappore outpost of famed NYC bar Employees Only.
But Schneider is doing more than bartending; his podcast, The Steve Schneider Show, has gained popularity with bartenders the world over as he interviews big industry personalities at length.
Thor Bergquist, PS40, Sydney
Sydney-based bartender and co-owner of PS40, Thor Bergquist, has been making waves in both local media and international media, thanks to the forward-thinking work he and business partner Michael Chiem are doing at PS40.
“It’s a natural extension of everything prepared and bottled and artisinal,” we were told about the bar.
“And thankfully it’s local. The range of mixers and how they then evolve into pairings with booze is one of the most exciting developments on the local landscape we’ll see this year.”
Naren Young, Dante, NYC
Naren Young has had a stellar career so far, from his days working the bar at Sydney’s old Bayswater Brasserie, to his role as editor of Australian Bartender in the ‘aughts, all the way to the opening of his NYC bar, Dante.
That’s where, according to the panel, he offers “a great point of view on and embracing the aperitivo concept of low proof drinking — driving this current trend in a well constructed venue.”
Another said: ” what doesn’t this man do! TV Shows, mentor, industry leader, editor, journalist, author, and now bar owner.”
The Houston Brothers, LA
Mark Houston and his twin brother Jonnie have established themselves as big time players in the nightlife Los Angeles.
They have a portfolio of 10 venues in LA, including No Vacancy, a speakeasy-style venue that has championed quality cocktails to Hollywood’s less than artisanal set.
We were told, “there are few people creating better, more detail orientated bars (save for the people that copy these guys verbatim, and the Swillhouse boys). They’re fun, creative and fully realised.”
We were told: “He is certainly the man that kickstarted the craft cocktail movement in Houston and perhaps Texas, where he now owns several bars and restaurants and he is still on the right side of 30. Last year he started OKRA a charity saloon that donates 100% of the profits to a different local charity each month which could potential start a trend here in the USA.”
Jonathan Downey, London
The man who brought Milk & Honey to London, and is responsible for a generation of top-flight bartenders thanks to his Match Bar group, has created Street Feast in London and continues to innovate:
“I have never seen something so ambitious look like it is being pulled off with such ease. They have 31 bars in four locations and it’s currently one of the London’s best nights out. They have plans to take Street Feast to other parts of the UK and several other Countries in the next few years including Berlin, Amsterdam and the USA.”
Ryan Chetiyawardana & White Lyan, London
Ryan Chetiyawardana got a number of nominations from our panel, as did other members of his team, like Robin Honhold. When White Lyan opened in Hoxton a couple of years back, it took the cocktail world by storm — no ice, no citrus, and innovative, creative cocktails. That was just the start— his bar at The Mondrian in London, Dandelyan, soon followed and garnered its own kudos. Of Honhold, we were told: “Robin Honhold is the man in the lab at White Lyan, Ryan Chetiyawardana and Iain Griffiths’ East London bar. White Lyan is famous for its anti-perishables, anti-waste stance, but Honhold has spearheaded the bar’s recent experiments into fermentation.” And of Chetiyawardana, well he gets credit as the man overseeing it all, and for ” Going against the grain and creating new trends in the cocktail world.”
We were told: “Dean is increasingly becoming an international powerhouse with a huge amount of influence across all of WGS on-premise activations as well as their premium consumer plays. One of the most important people in today’s global bar industry.”
Said one panel member: “Doh works with the more known roll call of French spirits (Calvados, Armagnac etc.) but also those that few know about — spirits from Corsica, brandies from Alsace, the eau de vie de poire William, Marc de Bourgogne and even single malts from Brittany. Doh hopes the bar will help to “change” the perception of these spirits.”
Jeffrey Morgenthaler, Portland
Jeffrey Morgenthaler has been a long-time presence in the USA bartending scene — as a bartender and owner, and as a respected writer on the craft who “writes eloquently and, magically in this world… doesn’t care who he pisses off. Why, he’s even got into a spat with Dave Wondrich. His latest book, The Bar Book, would qualify him for this nomination alone: it is the best and most serious examination of technique – and technique alone – ever attempted.”
“Quite apart from the boundary-breaking theater of service evident in their first (Purl) and subsequent (Worship Street Whistling Shop) venues, Tristan’s own series of books (The Curious Bartender, Odyssey of Whiskies, The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace) are beautiful and iconoclastic tomes that take a point of view (the whisky book spends quite a bit of time debunking the “special water in our whisky” myth, for instance).”
Sven Almenning, Speakeasy Group, Australia
He has been at the forefront of the Australian bar scene for over 10 years, with his Speakeasy Group of venues (Eau de Vie Sydney and Melbourne, The Roosevelt, Boilermaker House) at the leading edge. Now, said the panel, he’s devoting “time, energy and resources to creating an unbranded spirits and cocktail education program, The Ananas Academy, bringing together some of the best industry minds for an unbranded education experience that will set an unbiased standard for bartenders in Australia.”
“In 2014 he started his company Behind Bars. It´s a creative agency that creates exciting and sustainable concepts. With this company he led the Himkok project. You have to look this bar up it is insane. It has a huge copper pot still in the bar that produces its own gin, vodka, aquavit. It had its own green house to proudcue botanicals to use in drinks. Whilst it also produces high volume TapTails in a second bar upstairs.”
“David Kaplan and Alex Day have created one of the most sophisticated consulting companies I have witnessed. They have an ability to bring amazing drinks to their own stable of bars which includes Death & Co and NiteCap in New York and HoneyCut, Walker Inn and the Normandie Club in Los Angeles.”
“It’s Paige’s dedication to helping women in the industry see bartending as a viable career, founding the Coleman’s Academy, and generally being an outspoken advocate for bartending in general, that marks her out as one industry personality shaping the scene in both Sydney, and the country more broadly,” said one panel member.
Charles Schumann, Schumann’s, Munich
Known to many a bartender in Australia thanks to his cocktail book, American Bar, Schumann was an early leading light in the craft cocktail scene in Germany with his bar, Schumann’s.
“He’s been shaking things up for over 25 years as he’s the living role model for a stable and succesful bartending career. No in his 70ies he doesn’t stop innovating like estabshling his in-house boutique bar project Les Fleurs du Mal,” said one panellist.
Stuart McCluskey, The Bon Vivant, Edinburgh
The creative force behind The Bon Vivant, one of Edinburgh’s leading bars, Stuart McCluskey has done and continues to do a lot for the industry in the UK. He was described to us as an “all round amazing human being. Great vision, toxic personality and slick operator. Makes everything look easy thanks to his industry native DNA. A diverse portfolio of cutting edge venues which swim against the local tide, showcases his creative prowess is no one trick pony.”
Richard Hunt, UK
Here’s a guy who has been in the industry for some 20 years and continues to influence the scene both in the UK and in Europe.
His recent work includes The Duchess in Amsterdam, “lauded as the best cocktail bar in The Netherlands as well as winning awards from GQ and best new Hotel Bar. The Duchess brings ‘classic cocktails with a twist’ into a whole new dimension. It is without a doubt one of the most innovative, but approachable, and tasty menus I have seen in a really long time..”
“Currently his research and drinks development focuses on recipes and preservation methods that pre-date World War II, with a belief that a combination of technological developments such as, the refrigerator and post war processing methods have disconnected us from food and drink.
Drink Up London, UK
Drink Up London is the work of Hannah Sharman-Cox, Siobhan Payne, and Emma Murphy and they are the team behind London Cocktail Week and other drinks industry events, giving the scene there something to rally around.
“The lovely ladies of Drink Up London are the creative minds behind London Cocktail Week, London Wine Week, and London Beer Week, ensuring the city never goes thirsty,” said one panellist. “For the second year in a row, LCW will feature a cocktail village in Old Spitalfields Market, uniting consumers with brands, bars, and above all else, delicious drinks.”
Yugnes Susela, El Tardeo, Singapore
Described to us as someone who thinks outside the box, the Singapore-based Susela is pushing the boundaries of the bar’s offering, including creative events for Singapore Cocktail Week, like one whose “purpose was to evoke your senses… Yugi enlisted a local botanist and perfumer. Yugi is a super humble, super talented bartender always keen on learning and always sharing his knowledge with his team”.
Tim Philips & Icebank Hospitality
Tim Philips lays claim to being the most awarded bartender to come out of Australia, and in recent years the bars under the Icebank Hospitality banner — Bulletin Place, and Dead Ringer — have achieved popular and critical acclaim. He doesn’t work in isolation however. Business partners Rob Sloan, Adi Ruiz, and David Hobbs are all influential industry figures in their own right, and their venues have charted a different course for the industry which others seek to emulate.
Of Philips, one panellist said: “His words and editorial pieces also provide awareness across a broad range of subjects that are important to the industry. Tim is here to stay, and his footprint is long lasting.”
Jenna Hemsworth, Black Pearl, Melbourne
The seriously talented Jenna Hemsworth has been busy making a name for herself in competitions over the last few years — she has become a fixture in the finals, and last year took out 2nd place in the Bartender of the Year competition. She’s also an outspoke advocate for women in the industry.
“Jenna is a bartender to watch. With youth on her side, she has developed into the consumate professional whose talents I expect to see creating new avenues for the industry in Australia,” said one panellist.
Marian Beke, The Gibson, UK
Marian Beke has made quite a name for himself. First, it was for the creative, well-made drinks — with some spectacular garnishes — that he led at London bar Nightjar (and which saw them in the higher echelons of the World’s 50 Best Bars). Now he resides at London’s The Gibson and is a “renowned global bartender with his own style and look to the cocktail as art. Exceptional presentation of drinks and theatrical cocktail making.”
Stephan Hinz, Little Link, Cologne
Stephan Hinz was described as “one of Germany’s top bartenders” and is also the author of his own book, Cocktailkunst. His own bar, Little Link, opened in COlogne last year and is doing some startingly different things: “Little Link is a cocktail lounge where you’re as likely to be served salmon-gin, parmesan or eucalyptus as anything remotely resembling a normal drink. Supplying the bar with crazy concoctions is Hinz’s laboratory – an adjoining room of molecular tomfoolery,” said one panellist.
Nico de Soto, Mace, NYC
Described as one of the world’s most creative bartenders, Nico de Soto is the man behind the impressive spice-driven menu at NYC bar, Mace, and he has “some of the best bars on both sides of the Atlantic: Experimental Cocktail Club, Painkiller, and Happiness Forgets.”
“His adventurous cocktail menus marry flavors that most of us would never imagine could work and yet somehow they always do. The menu at Mace features a different ‘hero’ spice in each cocktail and constantly changes for seasonality.”
Tim Bacon, Lving Ventures, UK
Between putting the call for nominations out to our panel and the time we went to press, we sadly heard the news that Tim Bacon, a Tasmanian-born bartender who went on to found the successful hospitality group, Living Ventures, had passed away. Here’s what one of panel members said about him:
“The ultimate hospitality entrepreneur. Launched UK bartending in the 1980’s. Tasmanian born TGI Fridays barback to multi-multi-millionaire. Business models are slick, venues are progressive, simple and balanced. A true champion of the industry responsible.”