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Altos reveals Tahona Society winners

Jenny Teasdale and Jeffrey Garcia have been crowned the winners of Altos Tequila’s Tahona Society Competition with their initiative to increase glass recycling in Colombia.

Tahona Society 2023 winners
Jenny Teasdale and Jeffrey Garcia (pictured centre) are the winners of the 2023 Tahona Society contest

The third edition of the Tahona Society Competition was held in Guadalajara, Mexico, from 26-29 June.

Bartenders were challenged to create and present projects that aim to benefit staff, customers, the bartending community or the environment.

Following local heats in markets across the globe, the winning team in each participating country was flown to Mexico to compete in the global final.

Bartenders were also given specialised one-to-one Tequila training, including a trip to the Altos distillery, and workshops from industry experts during their week in Mexico.

Participants from 12 countries presented projects to a panel of judges on 29 June with one team taking away a prize fund of US$50,000.

Forming the judging panel were: Kirén Miret, executive producer of Mexico and Colombia’s Shark Tank reality television series; Dré Masso, co-founder of Altos Tequila; Luis Antonio Espino, private strategic communications consultant; Elliot Kotek, CEO and founder of The Nation of Artists; and Michael Merolli, CEO at Pernod Ricard’s House of Tequila.

Winning concept

The judges were impressed by Teasdale and Garcia’s project, Green Apple: Zero Glass Waste Cartagena, which aims to shift the perception of glass waste and encourage bars in the Colombian city to recycle.

The non-profit company charges a fee to hospitality businesses to collect and recycle glass, train staff and advise on commercial waste reduction.

Using the prize fund, the Colombia-based duo will build the first industrial recycling centre in Cartagena, with the aim of making glass recycling more widely available.

“The Tahona Society Competition will be life-changing – not just for us, but for our local community in Cartagena,” said Teasdale.

“Glass waste in Cartagena has long been problematic, but our winning project, Green Apple: Zero Glass Waste, aims to recycle up to 25% of the glass waste generated by tourism in the city within two years.”

From March to June, the finalists went through a coaching process with experts providing tips for creating a business plan, as well as communication and presentation strategies.

In addition to Teasdale and Garcia, the other finalists were: Jason Clark (New Zealand), Dimitris Kaitalidis (Greece), Dalmiano Angelozzi (Italy), Danilo Frigulti and Davide Leanza (UK), Jeremy Blackmore (Australia), Marius Østby (Norway), Robin Abrahamsson (Sweden), Jaco Raath (UAE), Francisco Oropeza and Sandra Reyna (Mexico), Martini Fortin (Canada), and Alex Jump (US).

Previous winners of the competition included Cuba-based Diana Figueroa and David Roque for their sustainable line of mixers, and Canada’s Alex Black and Makenzie Chilton with their mental health initiative.

The Tahona Society is a global community of more than 1,300 bartenders. It was set up in 2009 by Masso and the late Henry Besant, co-founders of Altos Tequila.

The programme is based on four pillars: education, networking, career opportunities and welfare.

The biannual Tahona Society Competition was relaunched in 2018 as an opportunity for bartenders to create sustainable businesses that could improve the environment and the hospitality industry.

Masso added: “The Tahona Society Competition is growing on a global scale year on year, as sustainability retains its importance as a key issue which transcends the bartending community.

“We’re continually inspired by the calibre and variety of projects created by our collective of bartenders and Green Apple: Zero Glass Waste is a prime example of an initiative that embodies Altos Tequila’s core values of recycling and waste reduction.”

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