We caught up with Marissa Johnston ahead of the World Class Global Finals

Senior Global Reserve Brand Manager, Marissa Johnston, tells us about her Diageo journey and her involvement in the upcoming World Class Global Finals.


Since joining Diageo, Marissa has worked in various marketing roles and gained experience across different markets. Today she works as a Senior Brand Manager across some of Diageo’s most prestigious brands and tells us about her involvement in the first-ever fully virtual World Class Global Finals due to take place 4th-8th July 2021.

What has your Diageo experience been like since joining to your current role now?

Having worked for Diageo across both Australia and The Netherlands, I’ve had the opportunity to progress through roles in consumer marketing, customer marketing and trade advocacy which has enabled me to have a broad set of skills within marketing. I’ve also had the pleasure of creating incredible brand and festival experiences across Australia, Spain, Scotland, France and Germany.

What is the most exciting thing about your role?

I get the opportunity to talk with colleagues from over 55 countries giving me a great insight into different cultures. Recently I’ve worked with 7 key cities to create World Class Cocktail Festivals helping to drive consumers back into bars and restaurants to reignite the hospitality industry.

Tell us more about what the World Class competition involves?

World Class is the largest bartending competition in the world with over 55 countries competing each year. It has supported, trained and inspired over 400,000 bartenders across the globe for over 12 years, while partnering them with the world’s finest spirits – the Diageo Reserve collection. The last 12 months have thrown a lot at the hospitality industry, but we’ve been determined to shine a light on the innovation, creativity and community spirit within the bartending community and crown a winner no matter what. 

Diageo is due to hold the first-ever fully virtual World Class Global Finals in July. What has it been like behind the scenes to get this organised and why was it important for Diageo to do this?

It takes an incredible team to deliver the global final event for World Class and this year’s virtual event is no exception. The five-day spectacular will be packed full of immersive opportunities for people to both watch the competition and engage with some amazing virtual and interactive experiences. From events to trend-led panels, masterclasses to AR-bars, the entire event has been re-imagined to adapt to the realities of today’s climate. 50 country winners will be streamed live from around the world as they sip, shake and stir their way through a series of unique challenges set to test their bartending skills to the limit. As well as the competition, the unique virtual event will host the biggest names in the industry, all contributing to events taking place during the competition.

How has working on World Class impacted your career?

For me, working in marketing and with World Class has opened up a breadth of opportunities both professionally and personally. Professionally I’ve had the opportunity to work across two countries in multiple roles which has given me great experience. It’s allowed me to work with teams from many backgrounds giving me a unique insight into different cultures. Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of working on World Classwhich is inspired by the best bars and restaurants in the world. For someone who has a huge passion for great hospitality it’s been an absolute joy to network with some of the best in the business.

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