Blog: Bartender tip shows softer side to Diageo's World Class cocktail battle
Andy Morton | 6 May 2016
This week, Diageo held a UK semi-final for its global World Class cocktail competition.
Talk to bartenders and they'll tell you that this competition is the big one in terms of prestige within the industry. And that's not just because of the deep pockets of Diageo, who this year will fly finalists to Miami for the global showdown in September. The competition itself is a tough rite-of-passage for the bar world, and bartenders often wait to get a few years of experience under their belts before even considering entry. Those who win, therefore, attain a certain status among their peers.
This week's stage was as tough as ever, with 50 contestants vying for five places - six, in the end, as judges couldn't split the final two. I spoke to two of the six ahead of the results announcement, meaning I didn't know I was talking to the top tier of the UK bartending world. But no matter, because I wasn't that interested in the competition itself. I wanted to know what the hot new spirits are for bartenders, as whatever these men and women are serving often ends up the choice pick in the retailer aisles.
Disappointingly, both Aidan Bowie of London's Dandelyan and Dominic Whisson of The American Bar at The Savoy had no undiscovered darling of the cocktail scene to share with me, instead saying that gin remains the gilded star. Bowie said the spirit still has a long way to go before it falls from favour, mainly thanks to the new distilleries popping up all over the country. This is perhaps why the gin boom remains for now more of a UK phenomenon that has yet to translate to the US.
However, Whisson did have an interesting tip for the top. He said that artisanal mixers are going to play an increasing part in his cocktail future, partly due to the success of Fever Tree's tonics and also because of trends towards lower-alcohol drinks among consumers.
With even PepsiCo getting into the artisanal soda scene, he may well be right.
Today is SABMiller's final day. Some time this evening, Brussel's time, the second-biggest brewer in the world will be subsumed into the biggest, creating a beer behemoth of unprecedented proportions....
No, this is not PepsiCo's new ad slogan for its Mountain Dew brand....
In the first part of just-drinks' interview with Bulldog Gin Co's founder & CEO, Anshuman Vohra, we looked at the birth and rise of the brand. In part two, Vohra considers the wider gin segment, Bulld...
Major wine players flocked to China ready for online giant Alibaba's 9.9 Global Wine and Spirits Festival, which took place on 9 September....
In May, Heineken's CEO, Jean-François van Boxmeer, called Vietnam the "poster child" for international beer thanks to strong demographics and growing demand....
- Five ways small brands can beat big players
- Interview, Bulldog Gin founder Anshuman Vohra
- Pernod Ricard Q1 2017 results by region, brand
- Interview, Bulldog Gin CEO Anshuman Vohra, Pt II
- The end is nigh for Global Travel Retail - Comment
- Stumbling UK Pound prompts Conviviality price hike
- AB InBev fund ZX Ventures buys homebrew co
- Edrington’s The Macallan 40 Year Old - NPD
- CCBA partner "in place by 2018" - Coca-Cola
- Diageo most at risk to Thai alcohol ban - analyst
- Global gin insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global Scotch whisky insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global rum insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends
- Global Wine Market 2016-2020
- Global RTD insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends