A "Open Letter" to DIAGEO: Dear DIAGEO, you may have a WORLD CLASS Problem in Moscow...

After the last few days I felt compelled to write to you directly to tell you a few details on an issue that seems to upset a few of the professional bartending world.
We know each other, but you might or might not recognise me. Although we do not have any large contracts,  I used to take part in the TEN TABLE here in Germany when it was first introduced. A thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all at the events at your companies expense. We also stock a lot of your fantastic brands in our bar "Le Lion" in Hamburg and all of your company representatives in Germany I know, are pleasant guys. I might point out that your Brand Ambassador here in Hamburg, Mr. Tagawa, due to his background as a bartender, comes very highly recommended. The same really goes for your guys in Berlin who also create some amazing events.
The reason why I am explaining all this is to make sure that by no means this is misunderstood as DIAGIO in Germany is appreciated by us bartenders - but you are not just in Germany - you are a Global Company - well known and pretty large. 
And this brings me to the reason for this letter - the way the "World Class" Event - the search for the Worlds Best Bartender has been handled in Moscow this year. 
A few bartenders in Moscow, who I know very well and who are part of the, let‘s call it: IBB (International Brotherhood of Bartenders), are currently pretty gutted and upset and are loosing faith in this amazing event.

Of course in particular you upset quite a few Russian "brothers". You "Hurt the Russian Soul!". We are talking: Gogol, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky - That‘s kind of „BIG TIME“ . So much, that some bars already stopped selling Diageo reserve brands and apparently quite a few more will follow. Rumours say: someting is going down in Moscow.
How do you ask - what did we do to them? Well let me explain. 
This year in it's third year known as an outstanding event for bartenders due to the fantastic way it was promoted and handled the last two years WORLD CLASS has really become an amazing event not only because of the first class speakers and great finals all over the world but also thanks to the social networking and media - the videos from last year were awesome and well done DIAGEO, they made me jealous! So everyone in the bartender world is now aware of World Class and the Global Search for the „Worlds Best Bartender“*
*(If the worlds best really can exist is debatable in my eyes - I was very proud when my little bar was named Worlds Best New Bar at Tales of a cocktail 2008 but also felt quite uncomfortable - because the Worlds Best does not really sit comfortably with me - how can one be the worlds best and live up to that title. Calling something WORLD‘s BESt is very tricky in my opinion, but that is a different story).
WORLD CLASS has become a very well thought of event with bartenders from all over the world wanting to compete in it with the other Worlds Best Bartenders - just like our Russian brothers liked to do - because they are fantastic Bartenders!
And this - so some of my well respected Russian bartenders tell me - is where it went wrong. May I quote: 
„..but so far a few of the best russian bartenders / bar owners, biggest figures and ... people who really drive the community in Russia - nobody knew nothing - it made them all a little bit angry. After two meetings the company (all the details will appear soon) refused to accept all those guys who really wanted to join the comp - they even were ready to come to moscow from other cities on their own expense. this is all very sad.... „
You created a World wide respected event and our Russian brothers wanted to show the World that they are WORLD CLASS too. Your Moscow office did not give ALL a fair chance to apply and participate in one of the finest "Global Bartender Events" and they are deeply upset (understandably in my view). Which does not mean that the great bartenders who toke part this year in moscow are not great guys! Well done Gents! But, you just did not make it public and transparent. Which is not really WORLD CLASS Style.
These bartenders are very professional bar profis that would not just be interested in just a free all expenses paid for jolly - my feeling is they would not even mind paying their own way - they are just really upset that they did not get a fair chance to potentially take part in the World Class competition because of the way your Moscow office handled this event. 
They are so unhappy that some have now stopped selling your Reserve Brands and feel like they have been kicked in the teeth. They have started to unite and the noise from Moscow is getting louder. 
This might be of no great concern to you however I still wanted to bring it to your attention as you know as much as I do what today's social networking power can do. I first heard of this issue while in Amsterdam last Thursday and supported the Russian bartenders with a just two Facebook status updates - which caused my inbox to explode. Bartenders from all over the world are telling me they will start to take off DIAGEO brands even if we all had not to much Details on the story. Buones Aires already did it, Paris is in, Shanghai is complaining as well ... nobody asked for this reaction, even not me, but social media as I said is a powerful tool.  A WORLD CLASS Events gets WORLD ATTENTION. And I think, Bartenders just like to unite.
I also got messages from friends and bartenders around the world telling me not to get involved in "assembling a mob to scream blood" and some used much stronger not too polite messages. You know that WORLD CLASS and other Global Bartender Event are a Million Dollar Industrie. For sure, I do not have to tell you, you and other global players pay the checks for hundred of Agencies, Magazins, Speaker,s Consultants, etc. The Global Bartender Entertainment Circus is a Big Business - but this is also a different story. Back to Russia.
So I decided to write to you to let you know what went on in Moscow with the "Application process" for the WORLD CLASS competition. While I am writing you these lines, another of your great employees called me. Jack from the Netherlands - awesome guy.  Lot‘s of your great people start taking care. And it was good to speak to him. He set it back into the right track. 
2011 was the first WORLD CLASS Event in Russia. And you just started to develop your Network over there. And finally its your business and it also make sense that you may let enter only Reserve Brand Outlets. I am totally with you - you pay the checks. But, don‘t let Sales take over this outstanding marketing Event. Or do not longer call it WORLD CLASS.
And, you and me know how this Web 2.0 thing is operating. A few Industry People from other companies will have a look at this open Letter while having  a coffee and feel „SCHADENFREUDE“ that I am complaining here about your WORLD CLASS. Stop Smiling guys - don't think you are doing any better! So, between all of us, let‘s stay fair: WORLD CLASS is a fantastic event. And many of the other companies never made it to this level. They fell  and some even made the same mistakes. So, relax everybody.
Because WORLD CLASS has become such a well know and recognised event you will understand that this is serious business to a lot of bartenders and at the moment a few of the Russian one's are felling let down. 
Hopefully you take this matter as serious as my friends in Moscow and take the time to sort this out with them. So grab yourself a RESERVE BRAND, fly to Moscow to talk to them and take care of it.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to restore the faith of the barkeepers around the world in "WORLD CLASS"
Kind regards 
Joerg Meyer 

P.S. Dear DIAGEO or others, please do NOT send me emails on this Issue. Post them here as a comment, otherwise I will do it.
_ _ _ _
Roman Milostivy,  a fellow Bartender from Moscow, published a FACEBOOK NOTE (please feel free to comment at Facebook). His side of view: "Diageo World "CLASS B" Russia" 
I decided to publish his note, because you only can read it on FB, if you are connected to him. 
Dear All,
I'm writing all this down because during last week I've received a lot of questions from many bartenders from different parts of the world asking "please tell us more, what really happened to Diageo World Class Competition in Russia". This has turned back to me as a huge snow ball of comments after I posted on the Facebook that "I was really disappointed to not have received a chance to take part in this great event alongside with many more bartenders in Russia". The number of comments, I think, only proves a high status of this competition worldwide and the attention it draws. I still think so and let me share with you what is going on. 
First of all, please keep in mind that it's only my very humble point of view - and I don't want to discredit the event and offend either the bartenders who are taking part in the event this year or previously did nor the judges but I personally think that when such things take place we should express our attitude somehow. And by the number of messages and comments I can now say that these things happen from time to time in many parts of the world. So please consider this message as just an attempt to bring some certain things to the public in effort to make this competition and our small bartenders' world a little bit better. 
Putting all this down here and saying it's only my point of view you can be sure that the total majority of local bartenders, bar managers, bar owners, and bar professionals who daily put their effort in "Raising the bar" scene in Russia share these feeling and point of view completely. Their words could be only more straightforward and less polite. 
So, first of all, I should once again mention that Diageo World Class Competition has a very high (not to say the highest) image and status among the bartenders competitions in Russia. Every professional behind the bar here dreams to get the chance to participate in the Global Finals stepping up on the same mark with the brightest bartenders from around the world. We could only thank the local office that Russia was included in the World Class this year.
I also have to mention that alongside with the World Class there's another activity for the bartenders in Russia - Diageo Bar Academy - annual program / competition with great presentations from the best trainers brought to Russia (Ian Burrel, Alex Kratena...) and great prizes to win (travels to distilleries and many more) - and this event is widely covered and anyone from any city in Russia can enter. Great! But nothing like a Global Finals of the World Class... 
And now we're moving to the point - it's all about how the World Class was organized. 
[b]Point N1. [/b]
Local office made their own decision which venues (not bartenders) could take part in the World Class - judging on the "premium-ness" of those. So there was probably a list of 5-7 different bars / restaurants / nightclubs and of course some bartenders from such places have never heard of the World Class and even didn't show up for the first round. It was only city of Moscow chosen leaving the rest of Russia out immediately. 
[b]The biggest question here[/b] - is how a company could judge by the venue, not the bartender or fair rules for all the bartenders (such as "Reserve brands in the menu", "Knowledge of English language", "years of experience behind the bar" even maybe)... This immediately could separate the community if... the community only knew! about it and possessed all the necessary information for possible participation in it. 
so we're moving the point N2 - 
[b]Point N2. [/b]  
99% of the bartenders in Moscow (or Saint-Petersburg or Russia) - didn't even know about the competition and the chance to apply! I personally found out about it from a friend after the first round was over! And to say more I can suspect that the local office did that on purpose - so to keep it a "small circle of bars" event". (remember? the best competition in the world?) The only people who knew about the dates and the rules were only the participants from the bars that the company personally contacted... 
Even if the local office in each market have the power to slightly change / adjust the rules - is it really the proper way? And if the local office don't have enough experience or understanding of "what kind of competition it is" - don't these people ask for advice from the local (or global) bar community?
After "we" ("we" - a big group of bar professionals including bar association, independent consultancy agencies, those who run bar websites, respected and well-know bar names in Moscow, Saint-Pete and many more cities in Russia) just found out about this event (the first round was already over!!!) - of course we all felt we should have done something about it and express what we think. We didn't want to "start up a war" immediately and just wanted to receive an explanation from the company why they did it in such a way not giving a fair chance for everybody to participate. We all agreed that if the company did some certain steps towards the community and let those who wanted to participate join the competition it could be the best solution for everybody. 
 As the bartenders we don't want to "start up a war", break any connections with one of the biggest spirits company and stop selling their products - it's probably not the best way to react but we had to react somehow so these things would not happen again.   
Today I still can't tell you how it will all end but one thing is certain - many bartenders who already entered and took part in the first round are ready to leave the competition now as the sign of their non-agreement with the rules and on the other hand many of those who wanted to enter or join really have lost this strong feeling and wish to do it. 
I personally hope I won't have to stop any activities and work with Diageo because of such things but for a bartender it seems on of the few things to do to show the attitude to the big company. I still respect the brands and like the World Class Competition but these small things on the local market just make me sad sometimes. 
And I also still think that bartenders should not keep it as "closed stories on the local scene" but express and share with colleagues. How else we can improve our small "bartenders world"? 
roman milostivy"


  1. very clear and close to the point. Thanks for support, Joerg! we really appreciate it here! Many of the guys you know in Moscow wouldn't have used such polite and nice words to express the situation, but the reaction will follow...I'm afraid...

  2. Professor Joerg, you wrote a great letter.
    Following their example will send a letter to the local branch of DIAGEO.
    And shared the letter of ROMAN and his with all my friends on facebook and all South American associations of bartenders.
    I hope that the headquarters of Diageo, hear what the barman in the world have to say.
    A hug from the far south

  3. We Hear You! Part 1.

    Dear Joerg,

    First let me introduce myself. My name is Louise Mc Guane I work in the Global Diageo Reserve Group team, based in London. Many in this community will not know me, but for the past 3 years I have been working to drive the World Class program and pushing its expansion globally from behind the scenes. I work closely with the faces of the program i.e. Spike Marchant, Salvatore Calabrese, Dale De Groff, Simon Difford and Co.,. to make sure that the program continues to evolve and grow in a way that benefits the bartender and the community as a whole.

    I’ve worked in this industry for well over a decade and had the honour of sitting at the other side of the bar and experiencing the creativity of great bartending more than most. As a result, I am really passionate about what World Class is trying to achieve. We started World Class to reward and recognise the outstanding craftsmanship alive in bartending today. The revolution of creativity that has happened in bartending in the past few years is really something to behold, but the majority of people outside of the industry are not aware of it or exposed to it. Diageo Reserve is a global organisation and as such we have the capability of elevating the awareness of the craft of bartending on a widespread scale, something which will benefit everyone in the industry. We do this through driving publicity centred around our World Class winners & their creations and this naturally culminates in the National and Global Finals each year.

    The bartender has always been and always will be at the very heart of the World Class Program. So, naturally I am saddened to see the recent talk in the community and I hope to address some of the issues here and to make it clear that we are listening and we are willing to act. I’ve had to post my response in two parts due to space issues, so please do read both.

    World Class is now active in almost 40 countries. As you can imagine, the market conditions are very different in each individual country. We give the local Diageo Reserve guys who physically run the program in their own country some freedom to set their own parameters when it comes to joining World Class Heats. This is influenced by many factors locally, including, but not limited to;

    The Stage the Competition is in i.e. Year 1, 2 or 3. Naturally the program gets bigger as time goes on and the net is thrown wider for entries. Each country needs the opportunity to test the waters of the program before it expands.

    The Resource available in the country to run World Class, both human and fiscal. It takes Diageo people and money to run the events, pay for the prizes and let people know about the program. Sometimes the size of the program is very influenced by this.

    Relationships that the local Diageo Reserve people have with bars. Some bars & bartending talent in a country may be better known to Diageo Reserve than others, one of the functions of the program for us is that it can help to identify bartending talent in a country. This is something, again which evolves over time.

    We have found in many countries that World Class tends to grow organically over time as the word spreads. Given that Russia is in the early stages of running World Class, what you are seeing here is very much the seeding stage of the program in that country. I know that the Russian Team have been working with Roman to try to answer to his specific queries, and I know the conversations are not over so I won’t address that here any further just now.
    The Diageo Russia team are listening to Roman, and I want you all to know Diageo Reserve Global is listening to this community. As such, I am personally willing to field queries directly from barmen or women who have issues with World Class and you can contact me directly at louise.mcguane@diageo.com

  4. We Hear You Part 2.

    As for the Global guidelines on entry, we specify that the competition is open to those bars working with or who have a desire to work with Reserve Brands. This is manifested in the fact that the competition entries in the form of cocktails and serves have to use the Reserve Brand Portfolio. I think this is only fair. Naturally, if we are going to run this competition we want the opportunity to share our brand’s stories and attributes with you guys. The core global portfolio includes, Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Ciroc Vodka, Ketel One Vodka, The Six Classic Malts, Tequila Don Julio, Ron Zacapa and Tanqueray No. 10.

    In some countries there are other local brands included in the Reserve portfolio, but this depends on the local situation.

    To summarise, World Class is your program, it is centred around you and would not be here without the passion and talent that naturally exists in this community. We will try to find a resolution to these concerns, but I would ask for your patience while we work it out.

    I would be very interested to hear directly from the community as to how we can improve, and what changes we can make moving forward to safeguard the integrity of World Class. Please feel free to drop me a line or respond. Lets keep talking.

    Best Regards,


  5. An Open Letter from Spike:

    First up thanks to Joerg for writing his letter and opening up the discussion and to acknowledge the concerns of the bartenders in Russia.

    I'm a freelancer but I work as the Global Ambassador for World Class and I've been responsible for the Finals and a lot of the content in many countries. My background is in the UK industry where I worked for many years, and I know Joerg and Helmut and a lot of key people who make our industry such a great one. I've spoken about World Class at conferences and events like the Berlin Bar Convention around the world and so I hear and value the opinion of our community.

    World Class has grown from a handful of countries participating in 2009 over the last two years to a much larger competition. Different countries run it in different ways because their bar scene has specific traditions, or the company has a focus on certain areas or because contemporary cocktail culture is still a fairly recent thing in some places. This variation is true across the world where I've worked on the competition: in Europe, across Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Diageo Reserve has put an enormous amount of effort and money into spreading the world on cocktails and encouraging bartender’s work and talent, and as a company there are a lot of individual people who work hard and passionately believe in World Class. Ask any of the bartenders who have been to the Finals in the last few years about what they thought of the process, and that we aim to create something amazing for them. This is also true of the judges who have a lot of input into the competition like Gary Regan and who are involved in different countries judging preliminary rounds as well.

    It’s early days in Russia. The team there have to make decisions on how to start the ball rolling this year and made choices about what city to start with an what venues to choose - mainly based on stocking Reserve products because of course World Class has a commercial aspect to it. I don't know every detail but I've heard from the team there and they have held meetings and tried to find common ground. I also understand that people feel excluded and this will influence how things progress.

    So bear with us, inside and outside of Diageo the World Class team are working to continue to make it a great experience and maintain it’s credibility. If there were decisions made that have caused a grievance then they have been heard, believe me. The World Class competition will grow and remain healthy because we do listen.

  6. Dear Louise, Dear Spike,

    thank you very much to give some answers here. I nearly agree to all of your points and for sure it's up to DIAGEO to decide who "enter's". You pay for, why should you not decide who is "in"? That's fair, I think...

    I think, reason for the moscow problem is just miscommunication. Bartenders in moscow just did not know about most of this limitations. Me either. I thought, everybody could apply and DIAGEO will do a selection.

    Even if this "Moscow Problem" has nothing to do with me here in Hamburg, I still like to go on with the discussion, because, after I read Romans post and your answers, to me, two points are still not "answered".

    First of all - A Question from me for all the other Bartenders reading here: HOW TO ENTER the Competition? Please, could you give us a c explanation how to do this? I think, lot's of bartenders like to know!

    But, to Romans points:

    - his point 1: Is it correct just to invited a few Moscow Bars, no others from whole Russia to get the BEST Russian Bartenders for the Competition?

    - his second Part of 1. What is the exact Definition for the Venue to enter? Need the Venue a Contract with DIAGEO? Or is it ok if they just also work with RESERVE BRANDS? Whats the main Idea for WORLD CLASS: Should everybody apply or is it about the VENUE? Do you have (International) Guidelines for that and would you mind sharing them with the bartenders?

    - Would you agree on, that it is indeed a little bit confusing that you call the Event the SEARCH for the WORLDS BEST BARTENDER and if I didn't get it wrong, to enter the Portfolio of the VENUE is important?
    How can a Venue be important if you look for the WORLDS BEST BARTENDER? (Not for the WORLDS BEST DIAGEO RESERVE BRAND VENUES BARTENDER?)

    Don't get me wrong. You do an awesome job. WORLD CLASS seems to be a super Benchmark for this style of competitions.



  7. Hello from Moscow
    Spike and Louise great thanks for your letter!!!
    First I want to introduce myself - my name is Dima Sokolov I am bartender and bar-owner from Moscow
    I am bartender
    from 1998 these years was the begining of bar culture in Russia, now I have 5 bars in Moscow:
    Helpbar- first cocktail bar in Russia and was awarded like best cocktailbar 2006,2007,2008, by russian website menu.ru
    2010 by Timeout magazine
    Temabar,Freebar,Dreambar, Alltime bar
    Great bsrtenders such Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Hidetsugu Ueno, Joerg Meyer,Phillip Duff , great historians Anastacia Miller and Jared Brown know my bars and me
    in 2010 with another leadres of russian bar scene I helped to organize first Moscaw bar show and Mr.Mejer,Mr.Ueno,Mr.Sporkslede,Mrs.Miller and Mr.Brown was invited and we all make very interesting event.
    Now about whats going on with World Class;
    as I understand your letters,local office decide how to organize competition in each country and the main global idea to have and of course to sell Reserve portfolio in bars ....
    I want you must know, Russian office dont invite 99% of most talented bartenders in Moscow,which selling RESERVE portfolio in their bars every day!!!!!!!!!
    Nobody didnt know nothing about World Class, Diageo people hide it from all community
    We dont understand how it possible to organize competition and to find out best bartender without competitors!!!!!!!
    I want to say one more time Russian offfice didnt explain us the principles how they choose competitors!!!! only you write about it!!!
    To my mind when you organize such prestigious competition you cant make it without help of bar community , lots of bartenders from Saint Petersburg,Kaliningrad wants to compete and can come to Moscow for their own money, they just ask opportunity to compete!!!
    We had meeting with Russian office( Mr.Kimmelman and Mrs.Sorokina) in the end of December and they said they want to change, but it immpossible, because global WORLD CLASS team make such rules!!!!!!!!
    And we undrestand now it is not true!!!
    Listen please to community , we want to develop cocktail culture, and we accept all honest rules....
    As we understand( from your words) World Class is competition for bartenders, let it like this!!!

    Mr.Mejer great thanks for wish to help
    and of course Louise and Spike

    Dima Sokolov

  8. Hi Joerg and Dima,

    This is just a quick post to let you know that the World Class team will come back with more clarity and some answers to your questions asap.

    I'm on the road and we have to liaise with the team in Moscow and London but I know everyone want this to be resolved positively.

    All the best,

  9. Der Kommentar wurde von einem Blog-Administrator entfernt.

  10. just to let you know - I deletet the last comment and will delete all Anonymus comment and/or comment which are Kind of rude... So please - stay world class

  11. that wasnt a rude comment. but it certianly didn't agree with the sentiment of your letter. so i can see why you would have wanted to delete it.

    but there you go, name now included.

  12. Welcome Daniel Liard,

    If have nö Problem with the fact that you have a different Point of view - that Perfect ... Anonymus Is just a Kind of Bad style for me. To me it was also a Kind of rude because the main Affektion was not to discuss this issue - to me more like joking arround - and I Know how this ends in comment. Everybody, please stau World Class...

    So, here Is your comment back:

    Danile Liard wrote:


    did the cool kids get upset because they weren't all invited?

    the only thing that this tells me is that the pretentious egomania that is hospo or bartender culture is not endemic to the cities where i have worked. why dont you all just give youself a pat on the back and start a facebook group to explain how cool you are to other bartenders.

  13. Sorry - MY f**king german autospelling in the iPad sucks...

  14. I agree with Mr. Laird, this entire incident is totally about bruised egos. and that's that. Competitions like this one are completely self serving, it's a way for everybody in the industry to feel good about themselves and they hardly ever involve the public in a meaningful way.

    I am yet to see a cocktail or bartending competition that was decided on merit and not industry or local politics. if you compete and win in a competition like this, it doesn't mean you are "world class" it just means you have gained a corporate sponsor, and in return you are awarded a bit of hospo cred and usually a nice holiday somewhere.

  15. Stan,

    I agree. I only entered a competition once when I was 20 and Never did again. - it isoften Circus Entertainment to attract Media and has nothing to do with the hard work behind the bar. But if a brand Claims "World Best Bartender" I can understand why a few bartenders are now dissapointed.

    In fact, if someone applied for a Job At Le Lion and put in all this Competitions and sort ihm out and do not employ him. If bartenders take this Competitions to serious in the "Real World" they have lost focus...

  16. ANSWER from DIAGEO -

    Hi Joerg:

    I simply cannot post this on your page for some reason it won’t load, I’ve been trying for an hour!. Please can you post it?

    Thank you for your questions, I have addressed them individually below. I just want to preface my responses with the following: As I originally said, the bartender is at the absolute heart of World Class. We also recognise that the bartender is intrinsic to the long term success of the spirits business as a whole. We recognise that not only do bartenders make drinks; they create experiences and memories for their guests that keep them coming back for more. It is largely the bartender’s knowledge and skill that underpins our ability to grow the spirits category in the on-trade. We recognise this and for this reason we view World Class, not just as a competition, but also as a training and knowledge resource for the community. We provide access to Global Gurus, Brand Ambassadors, Master Distillers and run training sessions in product knowledge, global trends and category specialisms. There are some countries in which cocktail culture is just blossoming where this is a hugely welcome element of the program. The Competition itself is meant to inspire bartenders to enhance their skills and dig deeper for knowledge for the opportunity to compete on a global stage and to be judged by some of the best in the industry.

    World Class has grown from 18 to 39 countries in three years. We have plans to enhance even further what the program can bring to the community for 2011. We do get a lot of positive feedback from bartenders about what we have created and as a result are dedicated to this being a long term venture. I would ask everyone again though for your understanding that our resources are not limitless. To execute the World Class training AND Competition takes time, money and people. The program is officially happening now in Russia and can only continue to grow.

    Please see my answers below:

    Is it correct just to invited a few Moscow Bars, no others from whole Russia to get the BEST Russian Bartenders for the Competition?

    It’s not ideal to be honest, it of course would be ideal if multiple key cities were involved immediately. However, as said in my first response, when each country rolls out World Class there are several elements that limit its size, at least initially.
    World Class is not just a competition; it is a training program too. We bring Gurus like Salvatore Calabrese into markets in addition to distillers & brand ambassadors to train ALL competitors. To do this takes resource and time.

    The market needs to organise and pay for: creating materials to publicise the program, promoting the program, conducting the trainings, bringing the gurus and brand ambassadors in, renting the venues for the events, host the events, stock the events, publicise the events, follow up with the bartenders etc. etc.

    see part II

  17. Part II from III

    In the case of Russia it is really their first push behind World Class this year. If given a chance, World Class in Russia will grow organically, and quickly. It’s clear now there is a demand for it in not just Moscow but elsewhere, and as I’ve discussed with the Russian team they will absolutely take this on board moving forward. We view World Class as an investment in the industry

    Second Part of 1. What is the exact Definition for the Venue to enter?
    The global guidelines to markets who are first launching world class ask that when starting the program with limited resources is that they approach premium or high end accounts. The rationale behind that is if you can concentrate on a smaller group of venues to begin with your resources will go farther. Let me emphasise though that once the program is established countries are encouraged to expand it.
    Every country has its own definition of what premium or high end means and it is very different from market to market. The Russian team shared their definition with the bars they approached and are planning to post their precise definition on their Facebook as well.

    Need the Venue a Contract with DIAGEO? Or is it ok if they just also work with RESERVE BRANDS?
    The venue does not need have to have a contract with Diageo, it is ok if they only work with Reserve Brands.

    What’s the main Idea for WORLD CLASS:
    The main idea for World Class is to bring a program to bartenders which will Inspire, Educate and Recognise them. Let me explain:
    Inspire them to reach new creative heights through the training we bring, the access we give to gurus and the opportunity to compete on a truly global stage and maybe become famous...
    Educate them on our product stories, product attributes, global bartending trends. We do this through providing access and training session with to Brand Ambassadors ie Angus Winchester, Spike Marchant, Gurus ie Simon Difford, Gary Regan and distillers Bob Nolet from Ketel One Lorena Vasquez from Zacapa etc. etc.
    Recognise the craftsmanship of great bartending. Find and publicise the amazing things bartenders are doing today for the benefit of all of us. As a global company we have the scope and size to really make a difference in this area.

    Should Everyone Apply?
    In an ideal world yes, but I think I have covered off the resource issues above. There is no reason we cannot consider some kind of Wildcard entry. I would be interested to hear what the community thinks of this. Either email me at louise.mcguane@diageo.com or post responses on the World Class Facebook site http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/GlobalWorldClassFinals so we can keep track of your opinion.

    Or is it about the Venue?

    I have covered off the venue question below.

    Do you have (International) Guidelines for that and would you mind sharing them with the bartenders?
    The terms and conditions and guidelines we issue to markets are quite exhaustive and not ideal for publishing here in this forum, if for no other reason than their length. What I can do is publish these in PDF form or similar over on the World Class Facebook site for all to see and peruse. http://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/GlobalWorldClassFinals
    However, I will stress again, that each market ultimately will publish their own local Rules and these are the ones which ultimately hold sway in that market. I will also publish the rules that are issued to each Global World Class finalist before they attend the final. I would ask you give me a few days on this just to get it lined up. I will post here and around on Facebook once this is done.

  18. Part III from III DIAGEOS Answer

    Would you agree on, that it is indeed a little bit confusing that you call the Event the SEARCH for the WORLDS BEST BARTENDER and if I didn't get it wrong, to enter the Portfolio of the VENUE is important?

    I think in any competition there is a barrier to entry. For example, to win the FIFA Player of the Year you have to play professional soccer for a club. In the national stages of World Class, bartenders are representing not only themselves but their bars. Any national winner is hailed and publicised as “Name of Bartender, Name of Bar World Class Bartender of the Year Name of Country.” For example: after Korea’s Jaelin Lim from The Coffee Bar won the National final, the bar reported to us that takings went significantly up on the nights that Jaelin was in. This was good for Jaelin, good for The Coffee Bar and yes good for Diageo Reserve as they worked (not exclusively) with our products.
    I would never deny there is a commercial element involved here for us, of course there is. However I don’t think it is confusing. I think it is only natural that we would ask that the bar the competitor is representing works with, or are willing to start to work with, the Reserve Brand portfolio. That’s the key barrier to entry. In return, if that competitor goes on qualify to the later stages or to win we can bring significant publicity and hopefully footfall into that bar.

    How can a Venue be important if you look for the WORLDS BEST BARTENDER?

    It is the bartender talent in that particular country that is important when looking for the World’s Best Bartender. In the past two Global Finals we had a broad range of finalists from a broad range & type of venue, everything from casual bars to white glove service and all in between. I’ve listed below a fairly representative cross section of some of the guys who competed in Athens last year in the Global Final. I have been to four out of five of the below places and can vouch that they are all quite different types of venues.

    Erik Lorincz: UK: The Connaught, London (He has subsequently moved on to The Savoy)
    Arlando Hernandex: Puerto Rico, The Intercontinenal San Juan Resort and Casino
    Esteban Delgado Badilla: Costa Rica, TGI Friday’s, San Jose
    Max La Rocca; Ireland, Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare
    Angus Zou; Taiwan, Marquee Restaurant and Lounge, Taipei
    Timo Janse: The Netherlands, Door 74

    I hope this answers you specific questions and paints a clear picture of where we are with this. Any other questions I am happy to field louise.mcguane@diageo.com

    Louise Mc Guane
    Global Commercial Marketing Manager
    DIAGEO Reserve

  19. Wow, This is really getting crazy,

    I'm dropping a quick line just to attest that everyone behind the World Class program that I've encountered is incredibly passionate about bartending and the industry. It's clear that something's gone wrong up there, and it's truly lamentable that there's dissatisfaction - but I'm equally assured by my own World Class and Diageo experiences that those guys are going to make a true and measured response to solve the problems.

    Without the fiscal angle, there'd be no World Class at all, and while I don't know the details of what happened - for myself I feel a duty in my venues to return the love by supporting the simply fantastic portfolio in turn.

    Keep up the good work guys!


    Adi Ruiz


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