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Diageo crowns World Class Bartender competition winner

Published:  10 July, 2013

David Rios from The Jigger Cocktail bar in Bilbao, Spain, has won Diageo's World Class bartender competition.


Rios was one of 44 finalists taking part in challenges aboard the Azamara Journey cruise liner and at various destinations along the way. The bartenders were accompanied by around 600 guests, made up of media, Diageo staff, customers and special guests.


The ship sailed along the French Riviera and on to Ibiza, before reaching Barcelona, its final destination. Along the way, bartenders competed in several challenges to create new drinks, master old classics and pair cocktails with food. The competition was judged by respected industry heavyweights including Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Hidetsugu Ueno and Gary Regan.


Rios was crowned winner at an awards ceremony at La Monumental bullring in Barcelona.


He said, via a translator, that winning the competition was about consistency across the challenges. He thanked his wife and children for their patience and support.


UK bartender Gareth Evans won one of the individual challenges - the Red Carpet challenge - but sadly missed out on the regional and overall spots.


World Class competitors are trained to using Diageo's Reserve portfolio, which includes Cîroc vodka, Don Julio tequila, Tanqueray No. Ten gin and Johnnie Walker Blue Label.


James Thompson, managing director of Diageo Reserve, said: "World Class elevates the craft of the bartender, discovers new talent and previews the latest trends which consumers will soon be able to sample when visiting World Class accredited bars across the globe."


Diageo said that since its launch in 2009, the World Class programme has trained over 15,000 bartenders.


Last year, an hour-long TV show following the winners was broadcast across the world and this year, four 30-minute episodes will air in 100 countries. The programme is being made by Shine - the same production company that makes MasterChef.


For more insight into the World Class competition, read our Q&A with the marketing and commercial directors, coming soon.