The Diageo Reserve Brands, known for their luxury and superb tasting variants, present the Diageo World Class Bartender of the year 2016 competition. This exciting and exclusive competition is now in its 5th year running, having been launched in Johannesburg, South Africa.


As part of the preliminary stages, hundreds of ambitious bartenders from across the country took part in a number of vigorous and extensive challenges. Only 30 of the most talented contestants have been selected through these intensive testing procedures to be placed in the South African regional finals.


The program to date has included an online exam, as well as a themed cocktail challenge which requires each contestant to demonstrate their capabilities in front of the judges. This year the judges for the regional finals are Dom De Lorenzo (current SA champion) and Chantelle Horn (Trade Specialist and previous Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador who played a big part in the launch of the program).

The Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender program was designed by the Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassadors and Mixologist gurus: Alex Farnell, Bradley Jacobs and Haroon Haffajee.

World Class exists to make people care about what, how and where they drink fine spirits – the same way they do about food. Bartending is an artistry and is a growing global phenomenon. This competition aims to change the cocktail experience for South Africans and Bartenders alike -from ordinary to exceptional.

Alex Farnell states “Why should people put so much effort into food preparation and not do the same with their drinks? World Class is a global platform using luxury spirits such as Ketel One Vodka, Don Julio Tequila, Johnnie Walker Whisky, Tanqueray Gin and many more to educate the masses on how to drink less but better!”

Vongani Chinkanda, Marketing Manager for the Diageo Reserve Portfolio adds: ‘World Class has evolved considerably over the last few years and remains the biggest and most respected bartender competition both here in South Africa and globally.  The quality of entries heightens year on year and inspires more and more talent. The competition celebrates the best of the best of the bartenders in South Africa – those who set industry trends and standards. What is exciting to see is that awareness has spread beyond the bartending industry and we are seeing consumers become more aware and demanding about the quality of their drinks and the spirits that are used in their cocktails. As the competition continues to grow, as Diageo, we have in turn seen the growth and success of several of our Reserve Brands in the portfolio.”


The skill and talent of WORLD CLASS bartenders is honed using the collection of fine spirits from the Diageo Reserve luxury portfolio – KETEL ONE Vodka, CIROC Vodka, TANQUERAY No. TEN Gin, DON JULIO Tequila, ZACAPA rum, JOHNNIE WALKER GOLD LABEL RESERVE Blended Scotch Whisky, JOHNNIE WALKER PLATINUM LABEL Blended Scotch Whisky, JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL Blended Scotch Whisky, BULLEIT Bourbon, The SINGLETON Single Malt Scotch Whisky, and TALISKER Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
The competition details, as well as the program highlights, were announced on the 26th April 2016 at the prestigious Maslow Hotel, Sandton, Johannesburg. The Top 6 National finalists announcement will be made on Friday the 13th May 2016. Guests will able to witness live demonstrations of cocktail art, the language of mixing fine spirits and the experience of enjoying luxury cocktails hosted by Alex Farnell and 2015 South African winner Dom De Lorenzo.
The 2016 winners will not only walk away with huge credibility and trade celebrity status but also have the chance of winning some of the highest paid prize money in the industry:

Regional finals in each city

1st R5,000

2nd R2,500

3rd R1,000

National Finals

1st R20,000 (A chance at global finals, The Hall of Fame and Celebrity Status in Diageo Reserve)

2nd R10,000

3rd R5,000

The competition will continue until the final event (held in the week of the 5th July 2016), which is pegged to announce the winner in style at a grand reveal of challenges in Johannesburg.

Guests at the launch of World Class 2016, were treated to a informative journey on the World Class Program with visuals showcasing previous World Class Competitions and challenges within the program.

Dom De Lorenzo, South Africa’s 2015 World Class Winner, who also placed 12th within the International World Class Competition held in South Africa last year, was on hand to demonstrate just how easy it is, to make and serve delectable and luxurious cocktails in the comfort of your own home.

For more details on the competition and finalists click here: www.worldclasssacomp.com


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