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Tahona Society winners to support mental health

Canada’s Alex Black and Makenzie Chilton have been crowned the winners of Altos Tequila’s Tahona Society Collective Spirit competition with their initiative to support mental health in the on-trade.

Mackenzie Chilton and Alex Black of Canada won this year’s Tahona Society Collective Spirit competition

The final took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday (16 November) and saw 15 bartenders from around the world pitch their ideas for sustainable initiatives, events or projects that benefit the on-trade or the environment.

Black and Chilton pitched their Mind the Bar scheme to a panel of judges that included Pernod Ricard House of Tequila vice president Christophe Prat; Shark Tank Mexico executive producer Kirén Miret; co-founder of design studio Agenda 28 Valerie Kramis; and co-creator of Altos Tequila Dré Masso.

The team from Canada was awarded US$50,000 to support the development of Mind the Bar, a mental health resource, information and support system for the hospitality industry, which focuses on the major issues of depression, anxiety, addiction and workplace harassment.

Chilton said: “I’m just shocked but so so thankful. We’re going to help so many people and we’re going to literally save lives.”

The prize fund will help the organisation hire further support staff who will be able to offer help and advice to bartenders across Canada.

Black said: “We’ve got a whole lot of new friends in a whole lot of great communities and we’re sure that they probably need as much help as ours do and we’re excited to be able to offer as much as we can.”

House of Tequila and the businesses of Miret, Kramis and Masso will also support the initiative from Laura Kelton and Kristina Magro, from the US, who pitched Support the Staff – a non-profit that aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding mental health in the hospitality industry.

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