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Behind the Scenes Selecting World Class Top 50

By Shayleigh Ward posted 09-10-2020 11:59




Behind the Scenes Selecting World Class Top 50

In the fall of 2019, hundreds of talented bartenders entered USBG Presents World Class sponsored by DIAGEO for the opportunity to vie for the title of Bartender of the Year and represent the U.S. at the Global Competition in Sydney.


Our esteemed panel of judges meticulously scored each individual cocktail recipe, evaluating the drink on its flavor, craft, expression of theme and its creative use of the DIAGEO Reserve Portfolio. The Top 100 applicants then advanced to phase two (2) of the competition. In phase two, applicants were challenged to create and submit a flight of three mini-cocktails which challenged the applicants to use the progression of flavors in the cocktail flight to tell a story.


In early February, ten of the nation’s best and brightest industry professionals met in New York to evaluate these cocktails and select the World Class Top 50. Judges included industry influencers, as well as past national and global World Class champions.

Each cocktail was created to the exact specifications listed in every recipe, then presented anonymously to be scored by the judges. And judges were impressed by many of the creative and delicious flavor combinations submitted, including Zacapa and strawberries, Talisker and coffee, and even Don Julio combined with cherry tomatoes!


With events surrounding COVID-19, the USBG in consultation with DIAGEO made the precautionary decision to postpone the Regional Competitions scheduled for the spring of 2020. However, these Top 50 fierce competitors have all confirmed their place in the 2021 Regional Finals and will have their chance to compete this upcoming spring. The top two scoring Regional Finalists from each of the five regions will then advance to the National Finals. Only ONE bartender will advance to the World Class Global Finals in Sydney, Australia! 

Congratulations to the following Top 50 bartenders!






@Kelly Chi
(Adam) @George Fournier
@Karina Martinez
@Julio Morales
@Anton Nguyen
@Sam Penton
@Ramon Pinon
@Jonathan Stanyard
@Adam Stearns
@Nathen Theobald

@Viacheslav Borisov
@Adammichael Gesell
@James Hodge
@Erin Holtman
@Nicolas Kokonas
@Raj Shukla
@Carl Sparks
@Kyle Strategier
@Jackson Wolph

@Kristin Amron
Kolyn Brown
@Peter Hannah
@Joshua Mantooth
Logan Mosteller
@Shawn Newman
@Isaac Privette
@PJ Smerechansky
@Nic Wallace

@Patrick Abalos
@Josh Bearden
@Benjamin Carrington
@Chanel Godwin-McMaken
@Cory Mendonca
@James Pederson
@Cesar Perez
@Bryan Pierzga
@Gregory Rodriguez
@Tobias Steeves

@Justin Cara-Donna
@Chelsea DeMark
@Hunter Douglas
@Leanne Favre
Margaret Izotov
@Christina Mercado
@Benjamin Pozar
@Fernando Sousa
@Jason Swaringen
@Koharu Usui