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Altos Tequila crowns competition winner

The Tahona Society Collective Spirit competition has awarded a US$50,000 grant to bartenders Diana Figueroa and David Roque for their sustainable line of mixers.

Altos Tequila
The La Mata project will use the winning funds to expand and provide jobs in the local community

The second annual ‘pioneering, sustainability-centric competition’, founded by Pernod Ricard-owned Altos Tequila, took place from 15 to 20 November. The contest challenges bartenders worldwide to present initiatives that benefit staff, customers, the bartending community and/or the environment, in order to win US$50,000 to bring the idea to life.

This year, Figueroa and Roque from Cuba created the winning initiative, which consisted of launching a range of mixers and products for the cocktail industry, using a sustainable approach and maximising the use of local raw materials.

“We were proud to represent Cuba for the first time in this prestigious competition and are incredibly grateful to The Tahona Society for this life-changing opportunity,” Figueroa commented.

The project, named La Mata, will be escalated with the funding, as Figueroa and Roque will invest in equipment, supplies and raw materials to increase production.

The judging panel were impressed by La Mata’s focus on waste production

“Our winning initiative will help support our local community, while limiting waste reduction and environmental impact by showcasing how to maximise raw local materials. We can’t wait to begin rolling it out in Cuba and we hope its success will lead to expansion in the coming years – watch this space,” added Figueroa.

Figueroa and Roque own Jibaro bar and restaurant in Havana, Cuba, and spotted a gap in the market when they began to produce their own handcrafted products and mixers in 2017. These included cordials and liquors using homegrown Cuban produce.

The new line will use 100% recycled bottles only, and the project pledges to provide jobs for the local community with the project.

Dré Masso, Altos Tequila and The Tahona Society co-founder, said: “It’s no secret that sustainability is more important than ever before on a global scale. So, it’s inspiring to see our community of bartenders becoming increasingly socially and environmentally conscious and really considering the impact of their bar practices.

“Figueroa and Roque’s La Mata project resonates with Altos’ deep-rooted respect for the environment and support for the local community, and we can’t wait to see the positive effects of the scheme come into play.”

The La Mata team also aims to build a small education centre that will allow bartenders and the community to learn about how best to use the products, plus sustainable practices they can adopt.

Last month, Venezuelan rum producer Diplomático named Katie Rouse as the winner of its UK cocktail competition, Mixed Consciously, which focuses on sustainability.

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