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2021 World Class Virtual Studios

By Lisa McMillan posted 9 days ago


USBG World Class Studios is going virtual!

USBG Presents World Class Sponsored by DIAGEO – World Class Virtual Studios is a series of training sessions that pushes boundaries, educates, and inspires bartenders around the globe. Some of the world’s best bartenders, drink professionals, and creatives have helped craft each original session. USBG World Class Studios aim to provide a hands-on experience while connecting USBG and DIAGEO leadership on the local level.


USBG World Class Virtual Studios has a fresh and original take on spirits education that is valuable to everyone, no matter your experience level, and is being offered in communities all across the U.S. beginning February 2021.


Below are the current USBG chapters participating in World Class Virtual Studios:


WEST: Hawaii, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Napa Sonoma, Orange County, Oregon, Seattle, and Silicon Valley

MIDWEST: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Greater Detroit, Indianapolis, Kentucky, and Minneapolis/St. Paul

SOUTH: Austin, Charlotte, Greater Baton Rouge, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, and Tampa Bay

SOUTHWEST: Colorado Springs, Denver, New Mexico, and Tucson

NORTHEAST: Central Jersey, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, and Richmond


*If your chapter is not on this list AND is interested in participating in USBG World Class Virtual Studios, please let us know HERE!



Meet Your USBG World Class Presenters!


Aidan Bowie, originally from Scotland, is currently bar tending at Dead Rabbit in New York City and has been working in cocktail bars for the last 10 years.

Aidan was part of the opening team at Dandelyan, London and was the head bartender there for 2 years. During that time, Aidan won the U.K World Class competition in 2016, competing in the global finals in Miami as well as winning Class Magazine bartender of the year.


Aidan moved to New York in 2017 to become the beverage director at The Aviary and The Office at The Mandarin Oriental where he worked for 18 months. He then moved on to working at BlackTail and Dead Rabbit, where he is currently.







After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Academy with a degree in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, Tyson Buhler worked in a number of Arizona's top bar programs before moving to New York in 2012 to bartend at world-renowned cocktail bar, Death & Company. In 2015, Buhler took home the honor of US Bartender of the Year in Diageo's World Class cocktail competition.


After two years as Head Bartender, Tyson took over as Beverage Director for Death & Company with a focus on beverage development and trainings, overseeing properties such as Death & Company NYC, Denver, and recently opened Death & Company Los Angeles. Tyson lives in Los Angeles, CA with his fiancée, Shel.






Chris Cardone has 20 years of bartending, hospitality, and nightlife experience. He has trained, opened, and consulted for multiple restaurants, cocktail bars, nightclubs and a bartending school in New York. He has helped design, build, and remodel bars on Long Island and New York City. He is the 2017 National Champion of Diageo World Class, the world's largest global mixology competition, as well as a three-time national finalist (2014, 2016 & 2017). In 2015, Chris also finished in the top 3 in the Amaro Montenegro National Finals at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

Chris is also a four-time national flair bartending finalist. Chris has organized and judged bartending competitions of all styles all over the world since 2004 and has appeared on a number of television networks including NBC, ABC, CBS, Spike TV, The Food Network, USA Network, E-Television and the Travel Channel. His work has been featured in the NY Times, Newsday, New York Magazine, Beverage Media and Chilled Magazine. He is currently bartending at Restaurant I Sodi in NYC.





A global bartending champion, James Beard Award winning beverage designer and guest experience guru, Charles Joly is a leader in the international craft cocktail and spirits movement. With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, he has helped to usher in the modern age of the cocktail. Fresh off of his fifth year creating and serving the signature cocktails at the Oscars and Emmys, he is a go-to entertainment personality for sources like People, E!, Access Hollywood, US Weekly, The Today Show, Rachel Ray and others. Charles is sought out for his refined palate, creativity and no-nonsense approach to hosting.


His passion for culture, history, traditions and the people behind the cocktails and spirits we love have taken him to more than 50 countries. During his travels, Charles leads master classes for professionals and enthusiasts, visits spirit producers at the source, is tapped for his expertise and dives head into the rich and diverse landscapes our world has to offer. It turns out you can learn quite a bit about someone while sharing a cocktail together...He was raised by his grandparents on Chicago's South Side and continues to carry on his blue collar roots. He's been fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with fantastic charities over the years including No Kid Hungry/Taste of the Nation, Meals On Wheels, Habitat For Humanity, The Trotter Project, countless rescue animal organizations and many others.


His career highlights include NBC's On the Rocks reality series, where he took home top honors and $100,000 prize, 4 James Beard nominations in addition to his win, making the list of "10 of the Most Influential Bartenders" by Bon Appétit and being named "US Bartender of the Year" by Tales of the Cocktail.



Andrew Meltzer is an experience-driven bartender from San Francisco with a flair for technique and presentation. In 2016 he became the World Class U.S. Bartender of the Year, and he is a two-time food and cocktail pairing champion. Andrew led the bar team at the alleyway cocktail destination 15 Romolo, created an Eastern Mediterranean high-volume menu at Noosh, and recently moved to London to work at Happiness Forgets, one of the world's best bars. He believes that cocktails should be consistent and delicious, but genuine hospitality is the most important part of a memorable experience.


Meltzer is a leader in the bartending community and spent five years working with the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the U.S. Bartenders' Guild, where he served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He's made cocktails all over the world and has been featured on, PUNCH, The Beverage Journal, and Bevvy Magazine. Andrew is most passionate about advancing the bartending community through education and mentorship. A huge fan of tiki cocktails and spirit-forward whiskey drinks, you'll find him drinking Daiquiris and Manhattans.






Laura Newman is a Brooklyn native who moved to Birmingham, Alabama in the spring of 2016. While she initially intended for the move to be temporary, she was so taken by the thriving local food and beverage scene that she eventually decided to open a bar in the booming downtown Loft District. While in New York City, Laura worked at bars and restaurants such as Dover, Bergen Hill, Bacchanal, and Sweet Polly, and served as the assistant beverage director for Mother of Pearl and Cienfuegos. Laura also served as the St-Germain Brooklyn brand ambassador.


She is a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers, has a degree in hospitality management from the Institute of Culinary Education, served in the Cocktail Apprentice Program at Tales of the Cocktail 2016, and has presented at numerous industry events and seminars, such as the Nightclub & Bar Show and USBG Regional Conferences.


She and her work have been featured in publications such as Time Out New York, Beverage Media, Food & Wine, Tasting Table, Coastal Living, and She has also been featured in books such as Maggie Hoffman's The One Bottle Cocktail and Clair McLafferty's Romantic Cocktails. She's also been a national and regional finalist in competitions such as Patron's Margarita of the Year, the Woodford Manhattan Experience, and Speed Rack. In 2018, she was the first woman to win the Diageo World Class US competition and placed in the top 4 at the global finals in Berlin.



Katie's extreme passion for cocktails and spirits led her to leave her job as a software developer and seek mentorship behind the bar. She started her exciting bartending career in Chicago, IL and has worked at some of the best cocktail bars in the city, including Moneygun, Drumbar, GreenRiver, and Billy Sunday.


Her creativity and love of storytelling has caused her to receive recognition in several major national cocktail competitions; most significantly and achieving one of the biggest goals in her career, she was most recently named World Class US Bartender of the Year for 2019. When she's not bartending, she can be found playing music, doing yoga, and cooking to her heart's content.


Stay tuned for more news about the Virtual World Class Studios.