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Diageo World Class reveals host location

Smirnoff owner Diageo will host this year’s World Class Bartender of the Year Global Finals in Sydney, Australia.

Diageo World Class
The 2021 winner of World Class Bartender was Canada-based James Grant

Last year’s Diageo World Class competition was held in a digital format for the first time due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The 2022 iteration will take place in Sydney from 12-15 September. The event will feature during a week-long World Class Cocktail Festival (9-18 September) for the first time, which will celebrate the best of Sydney’s cocktail culture.

Marissa Johnston, global head of World Class, trade and social advocacy, said: “We are hugely proud to be hosting the World Class Cocktail Festival and global finals in a city full of culture and creativity, and home to some of the best bars and bartenders in the world.

“Last year we were able to explore new opportunities for the World Class community within the digital world – and with this year’s hybrid model, the programme will continue to expand.”

The event has been designed to include virtual contenders, for those who cannot travel to Sydney.

At the final, the contenders will showcase their cocktail-crafting skills through a series of challenges. There will also be brand pop-ups and Sydney-based bar collaborations.

Johnston added: “Packed full of unique, reimagined drinks experiences, our 2022 event will include masterclasses from some of the greatest names in the bartending industry as they create world-class cocktails to try at home, and see the world’s best bartenders battle head-to-head as the ultimate global champion is selected.”

Bartenders will be able to use a number of brands within Diageo’s portfolio, including Don Julio Tequila, Johnnie Walker whisky, and Tanqueray No. Ten gin.

Jonathan Morgan, head of reserve, Diageo Australia, said: “We are thrilled and privileged to host this year’s World Class Cocktail Festival and Global Finals event – it’s a great boost to the bartending industry following the challenges of the past two years.

“Sydney has been eagerly awaiting its turn after the 2020 postponement and Australia is ready to showcase the pinnacle of home-grown bartending talent to the world.

“The week-long Cocktail Festival will create an incredible buzz for our great city – providing a perfect opportunity to explore Sydney’s incredible cocktail scene and witness the future of drinks experiences that push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

Last year, Canada’s James Grant was bestowed with the title of World Class Bartender of the Year. The bartender opened up about his journey to the top to The Spirits Business back in September 2021.

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