While Hong Kong’s bar industry is suffering a serious blow from some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 curbs, the world’s leading spirits giant Diageo has kickstarted its global bartending competition Diageo World Class 2022 in Hong Kong and Macau to revive the spirits of the industry.
Since January 7, the city’s thousands of bars are ordered to close as part of the government’s social distancing measures to curb covid. The closure has since being extended to at least April 20, meaning bars and pubs have been shut for more than a quarter of the year.
Despite the social gathering restrictions, the World Class 2022 competition continued this year with the launch of “World Class Studio” virtual workshop on 24 February, which offered an opportunity for top bartenders from Hong Kong and Macau to exchange with each other amid the pandemic.
First started in 2009, the World Class competition is deemed to be one of the most recognised bartending competitions. It provides a global platform for professional bartenders to perform their skills and collaborate with luxury spirits brands in the Diageo Reserve collection, such as Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky, Tanqueray No., Ketel One Vodka and more.
The competition has successfully nurtured more than 400,000 bartenders in more than 60 countries worldwide, according to Diageo.
This year, the opening workshop has invited Diageo’s global brand ambassadors Tim Phillips Johansson and Mark Moriarty to share their bartending skills and brand knowledge.
The duo was joined by Antonio Lai, a renowned bartender from Hong Kong; bar and beverage expert Sam Jeveons; and Mr. Art Fatkullin, the winner of World Class’s last edition, who shared tips and the judging criteria for the competition.
The entry round would be held virtually, where contestants have to create two unique cocktails and upload videos showcasing the cocktail on social media platforms.
The live judging for entry round will be held in April, where a judging panel of bar industry professionals will choose the top 6 bartenders for the final round held in May.
As the current social distancing measures in Hong Kong will be extended till April 20, final dates and details for the coming rounds are yet to be confirmed.