The winner of the 2019 Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition has been revealed, with Singapore’s Bannie Kang taking out this year’s award at the Global Final in Singapore.
Australia’s Alex Boon took part in this year’s Global Final, however despite impressing the judges just missed out on a place in the top eight, with Kang competing in the final round alongside bartenders from Japan, Hong Kong & Macau, Denmark, Great Britain, Taiwan, Canada and South Korea.
Simon Earley, Head of Diageo World Class, said: “This year’s competition was one of the most competitive we’ve ever had. The skill and talent of the bartenders battling it out across all the different challenges was awe-inspiring. Bannie Kang is a worthy winner and her technique, temperament, and artisanship really stood out across the four days.
“At first glance, Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year is all about inviting the planet’s finest bartenders to take part in a huge competition using the very best spirits available. But it’s also about getting all these incredible talents working and learning together, so they can inspire each other and spark ideas off each other that will elevate drinks culture globally, for everybody’s benefit.”
Kang, was selected by a judging panel made up of former winners, award-winning mixologists, drinks writers, and journalists. She will spend the next 12 months as a global ambassador for Diageo’s Reserve brands, travelling the world and judging World Class national heats; inspiring 2020’s hopefuls and crowning regional champions; completing guest shifts in the world’s best bars; and playing a role in Diageo’s global partnership with IMG’s Taste Festivals.
Speaking about her win, Kang said: “This has been an incredible experience. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work – a real whirlwind. I’d like to say well done to all the finalists – there were so many incredible drinks created this week it could have been any of us who won.
“I’ve learnt a lot and made some friends for life. It was a privilege to spend the last five days with these guys, working with these incredible spirits brands, at the best bartending competition in the world. To have won is the cherry on the cake.”
This year’s event also saw the location of next year’s global final revealed, and Sydney will play host to bartenders from all over the world in 2020. Australia has seen two winners in the 11 years of the competition with last year’s winner Orlando Marzo following on from Tim Philips in 2012.
Earley said that with Australia’s impressive history in World Class, the competition was looking forward to heading to Sydney.
“At first glance, Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year is all about inviting the world’s finest bartenders to take part in a huge competition using the very best spirits,” he said.
“But it’s also about getting all these incredible talents working and learning together, so they can inspire each other to elevate drinks culture globally. Australia has consistently punched well above its weight in the global competition, and we cannot wait to see the city come alive with the world’s best in 2020.”
Andrew Oughton, Diageo Australia Marketing & Innovation Director, said: “We’re incredibly excited to welcome the world’s biggest and best bartending competition to Sydney in 2020. A vibrant food and drinks scene is at the heart of any great city’s culture and we can’t wait to showcase ours next September. Australia’s bartenders are going to show the world why we’ve produced two World Class winners in the competition’s 11-year history, leading the charge with creativity, innovation and expertise. It’s going to be a brilliant celebration of Australian hospitality and our diverse and innovative drinks culture.”
Next year’s finals will transform Sydney into an innovative hub designed to inspire the world’s best bartenders, alongside a host of exciting experiences that can be enjoyed by consumers. Further details will be announced in 2020.