Julian Short crowned Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2017 in South Africa

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South Africa may be home to plenty of bartenders who can shake up cocktail masterpieces, but only one can claim the ultimate title of “South African Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2017”. On Wednesday 26 April at the exclusive Green Park Venue in Sandton, Julian Short emerged as the winner of the SA Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year competition, following a three-day battle of creating decadent drinks that left judges and audiences in awe.

The final leg of the competition took place over three days where bartenders from across the country brought their skills to Diageo headquarters to fight it out for the coveted title. Julian outclassed others with his mixing skills. In accepting his prize, he said “World Class is where it all started for me. It marked the beginning of my career as a professional bartender and I have always been in awe of the level of bartenders who competed in the competition. I am so proud and humbled to have won World Class SA 2017, and I couldn’t have done it without the love and support from my incredible family. Here’s to taking the win in Mexico!”

As the winner, Julian will go on to compete against the best in the world, representing South Africa where bartenders from more than 60 countries will be on a victory quest for the ultimate, World Class Bartender title in Mexico later this year.

The South African judging panel consisted of industry heavyweights, including renowned mixologist, Dominic Walsh, TV presenter, Lorna Maseko, Global mixologist Dennis Zoppi and Chef David Higgs. The competition turns a spotlight on various skills in the bartender’s arsenal: technique, personality, spirits knowledge and how well they perform under pressure. For the past 6 years, Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year has recognized the best bartenders and experts in mixology.

World Class is both a cocktail making competition as well as a very high-end training programmes for bartenders the world over. It has supported, educated and inspired over 250,000 bartenders. “The programme is not only about bartenders but also exists to make consumers care about what, how and where they drink, and strives to educate people on fine drinking paired with good food,” says Steve Saunders, Senior Reserve Brand Ambassador at Diageo South Africa.

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