Woodford Bar Competition

Today I would like to talk about the bartender competition. The topic is quite big, so there are going to be two parts. Welcome to part Ι and enjoy your reading.

Last month I took part in the Woodford Reserve Bartender Competition. That event inspires me to make this post and share my opinion on Bartender Competition in general.

Before the Bar Competition

Let me ask you a couple of questions, what do you know about bartenders. Are they mostly students taking this job as a part-time job and making decent pocket money before they graduate? Are they handsome buddies with tattooed sleeves and well-looked beards and moustaches?  Do you know that there are approximately 4,300 establishments with a licence to serve alcohol(it was info before COVID-19) in Toronto? About two-thirds are restaurants and bars, and all of them need a bartender. 

My next question is what makes a bartender good or bad, famous or not really? And you can give me a lot of answers for that: industry recognition, the rank of the bar, creativity, knowledge, some people would say education, and probably they are right. 

Taking part in a cocktail competition has become one of the fastest ways when a bartender can receive fame in the industry.

Beyond bragging rights, winners often take home a chunk of cash and, more importantly, coveted high-profile opportunities such as brand ambassadorships and consulting gigs. Especially at the highest levels of major international competitions like Bombay Sapphire or World Class, or even International Bartender Association, merely entering the finals can catapult local talent onto the global stage. 

Woodford Bar Comp

Also, even if you think that you are still on the entry-level, the competition can stimulate rising stars and help bartenders to grow. Without a set ranking bartending system, competition win can really set you apart and help you build a reputation in your home city.

Let’s not forget about the experience.

Competing against other bartenders always will bring you some sort of new information even if you don’t exactly realize it. You can develop new bar skills and techniques. For example, during the previous competition, I discovered a new bar technique as blending madling By Dave Arnold. It allows you to blend products with alcohol and keep them fresh and bright.

So, competing is also learning and investing in your future which is almost free of charge.

Moreover, a set of social skills such as holding an audience, representing yourself, writing a speech, multitasking, develop creativity are necessary for bartenders. They are quite different from shaking, stirring and pouring. There are those set of skills, that might open the door for you to a different world.

More benefits and some drawback I will tell you in a week. Stay safe.

To be Continued…

Photo credit Rick O’Brien

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