Diageo World Class Competition

The 12th edition of the Diageo World Class Competition is here!

This is a platform with a vital brand purpose. Making people care about what, where, and how to drink. This is even more important now, after everything the industry has been through over the last 12 months.

Where it started….

Founded in 2009, Diageo’s World Class Competition has changed fine drinking and the mixed drink culture far and wide. Presently, in more than 60 countries, it has upheld, taught, and roused more than 250,000 bartenders through its educational program. The World Class Bartender of the Year rivalry unites the very best of the bartending fraternity worldwide and puts them through rounds of rigorous competition to ultimately win the crown of the world’s number one bartender.

This year the competition will focus on five key brands that will bring the competition to life, namely Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, Talisker, Ketel One Vodka, and Bulleit Bourbon. The first leg of the competition began in February with the World Class Studios. The Diageo Brand Ambassadors took the opportunity to coach and upskill bartenders in various parts of South Africa.

How it’s going…

Following the World Class studios, competing bartenders submitted their first round of cocktail recipes using their acquired skills. With 100 submissions received, the competition had officially begun. With ten finalists from each region chosen, the regional finals got underway, kicking off with a bit of fun; the competing bartenders in each area enjoyed a
day of Quad Biking and some training around the competition brief for the Regional Finals.

Regional finals began in Johannesburg on 15 March, making their way to Cape Town on the 16 th and finally concluding in Durban on the 17th. Regional Finals included three different challenges: A Singleton Challenge, in two parts; Part1: a cocktail, where contestants were required to create a cocktail that respected The Singleton’s flavour and two suitable accompanying ingredients. The two elements had to be in a liquid state. Only one of these liquids can be homemade, and one garnish was permitted. Part 2: the contestants were required to create a drinking experience that enhances and compliments Singleton whiskey with two suitable accompanying ingredients.

The two accompanying components needed to be in a solid or gas state, and the Singleton was to appear either neat or on the rocks. Next, contestants were required to participate in a written test, testing their knowledge of the mixology industry and a spirit identification test.

In it, to win it….

Regional Finals are the qualifier for the National Finals, which will occur in Johannesburg at the end of April 2021. The Top 2 bartenders in each region and the four next best placed will make up the National Top 10 Finalists who will vie for the ultimate prize of competing at the Global Finals to be hosted in Madrid later this year. The winner not only scores bragging rights but the opportunity to travel the world as a Diageo representative, judging cocktail competitions and serving drinks in locations across the globe. With finalists from all over the world, it will be exciting to see how the South
African Winner will fair this year and who will reign supreme in 2021.


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