World Class, a celebration of the flair, creativity and skill of the bartender, is an international, year-long training programme founded by Diageo Reserve that elevates the craft of the bartending profession and brings consumer trends to life in the greatest bars across the globe.
Over the past eleven months, contenders from the most established and prestigious bars around the globe have competed in regional heats, to win a coveted place at the Global Final in New Delhi. Just 34 were selected to go head to head judged by of some of the most revered names in the industry - Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Gary Regan, Hidetsugu Ueno and Daniel Estremadoyro.
This year the World Class final was held in New Delhi, in recognition of its status as a vibrant, international city with a new and exciting cocktail culture, anchored by India's position as one of the fastest emerging luxury goods markets in the world. Whilst the Indian luxury spirits market is currently small in value at an estimated £16 million, the future is bright as the sector is expected to grow with a projected CAGR of 36% (value) until 20151. Super deluxe Scotch is appealing more and more to India's new luxury consumers, with the segment having grown at 41% CAGR between 2004-20092.
Using the luxury spirits from the Diageo Reserve portfolio - Ketel One vodka, Cîroc vodka, Tanqueray No.TEN gin, Don Julio tequila, Zacapa rum and Johnnie Walker Gold Label and Blue Label Blended Scotch Whisky - bartenders participated in different World Class challenges throughout the week-long event which tested their ingenuity, skill and knowledge of spirits in the pursuit of liquid perfection.
Congratulating Manabu Ohtake, Rudy Paoli, Managing Director Diageo Reserve said: "World Class is a truly international celebration of the flair, creativity and skill of the bartender and the appreciation of great spirit brands. Manabu represents the very pinnacle of bartending excellence, and has refined his craft through the World Class programme. Diageo Reserve is proud to nurture the talent of such visionaries who are creating the most exceptional rituals, perfect serves and fine drinking experiences the industry has seen."
Commenting on his win, Manabu said: "It is an honour to win the most prestigious award in the industry and be judged by icons such as Salvatore Calabrese and Dale DeGroff. I am really excited about the year ahead, publishing my first cocktail book and travelling the world with Diageo Reserve to inspire and attract new talent to the profession."
Follow the competition on Facebook at the "Global World Class Finals" page.
A World Class Press Kit including press releases, imagery, factsheet and presentation is available to download here.