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Diageo World Class 2021 swaps Sydney for Madrid

Diageo has named the Spanish capital of Madrid as the host city for its ‘multi-format’ World Class cocktail competition next year.

Madrid will be the host city for the 2021 World Class cocktail competition

Diageo did not hold its World Class competition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event was due to be held in Sydney, Australia, but will now be held in Madrid next year as it provides ‘greater flexibility to work across multiple time zones’. Sydney will host the 2022 World Class competition.

The 2021 competition is due to be held on 5 to 8 July and will ‘celebrate global cocktail culture safely and in line with all prevailing government guidelines’.

Pedro Mendonça, global reserve managing director, said: “2020 has been a difficult year for everybody in the drinks industry, but it’s also been a catalyst for innovation, creativity and community. We were determined to create a safe environment where we could recognise that and give everyone something to look forward to.

“This year’s event will be like no other ­– we’ve chosen Madrid, not just because it’s one of the truly great destinations for cocktail culture and home to one of the world’s finest cocktail festivals, but also because of the flexibility to work across multiple time zones and create a dynamic event that can adapt to all safety guidelines.

“It’s a genuine privilege for me to confirm the World Class global finals will take place next year. Our priority is the safety of our people and our bartenders so we’re delighted to be able to announce this unique multi-format World Class finals to safely celebrate the people taking drinks culture to new heights. Madrid is a fantastic city, full of culture and creativity and home to some of the best bars and bartenders in the world.”

Furthermore, Diageo has planned a number of scenarios for the global final in Madrid. The company has looked at situations where bartenders compete in person, if it is safe and allowed, along with partially or fully virtual settings with participants competing from their own country.

Mendonça added: “The final decision on which format we’ll adopt for the World Class Finals 2021 will be decided early in the new year, based on the global situation. Whatever the scenario, we will create something special and we will showcase and celebrate the very best of cocktail culture and the bartenders who make it happen.

“For now, I’m inviting interested bartenders to sign up and get practising – because next summer one of them will be named Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year.”

Bartenders can sign up for the 2021 competition soon. For World Class updates, visit the Diageo Bar Academy website.

In September 2019, Singapore-based bartender Bannie Kang was named Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year.

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