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Meet Your 2022 World Class Southwest Regional Finalists

By Tiffany Soles posted 03-07-2022 10:36

  


2022 USBG World Class Sponsored by DIAGEO season is in full swing! The competitors are fiercely preparing for the Regional Competition taking place at the USBG Regional Conference in Tucson, AZ on April 10-13. They'll take part in three challenges that will test their skills and knowledge behind the bar. Register for Regional Conferences here.


    Get to know the Southwest regional finalists!


    ::Southwest Region::


    SARAH ALEXANDER

    I started in the beverage industry at 21 as a cocktail server and transitioned to bartending which is really rewarding because you get out of it what you put in. You can read/learn and find that there is a never-ending rabbit hole of information you can use to grow your and your guests' appreciation of the craft.

    When I am not working, I am out hiking or riding my motorcycles; I don't have a car and choose to only get around via motorcycle, it is such a meditative part of my day that I don't feel like myself without.


    JORDAN CHANDLER

    I am 25 years old and have only been bartending for 3.5 years and now bar managing. I have an immense passion for inspiring bartenders to prove that age and years in the industry don't matter. Passion and mindset can beat everything!


    KEVIN COLLINS

    Born and raised in Indiana, I started bartending 11 years ago and moved to Denver five years ago. I've worked everything from dive bars, to specialty beer bars, to cocktail speakeasys, to fine dining. I'm currently slinging up serves at Curio Bar in the Denver Central Market. I just love being in bars and sharing my experiences with people!

    I studied music and Spanish in college, and I love traveling and learning about people and culture!

    AMBER MILNER

    I was born and raised in sunny South Florida. I have been working in hospitality since I was 14 years old. I started bartending in college, while attending the University of Central Florida. After graduation, I went into managing restaurant/bars, where I found myself getting involved in beverage programming. In 2016,I moved to Austin TX and fell in love with the hotel industry. I began working with the Fairmont Austin in 2017, during pre-opening stages and now to the re-opening phases.

    I have been able to take my affection for beverage and showcase it to thousands of people at a time.

    CONOR O'REILLY

    I’m from Dublin, Ireland. In April, 2018 I packed my bags and moved to Austin, Texas to further my career in the service industry. Hospitality has been a passion of mine from a young age and it’s my lifelong dream to own my own bar/restaurant. Working in the service the service industry has given so much back to me and provided life skills that goes so far beyond shaking up a cocktail.

    When I’m not working you can find me traveling, cooking, reading, boxing, and triathlon training.



    CESAR PEREZ II

    Based in the border town of El Paso, TX, I've worked as a bar lead and consulted for about six concepts in the borderland. I'm influenced by the people and culture of the Frontera, blending the tastes and rituals of ancestral Mexico with the modern American cocktail tradition.

    JAKE POWELL

    I grew up in Erie, PA with an older brother and two younger sisters. When I was a kid I remember spending a lot of time playing songs on the jukebox in my grandpa’s basement bar or at the Elks Lodge he took us to on Sundays. When I was 13 we moved to Jensen Beach, a small surf town on the east coast of Florida, about two hours north of Miami. It was a great place to be a teenager, because the beach was five minutes away and always gave us something to do.

    I wrestled in high school and college, winning a team National Championship my freshman year at UCF. I still credit wrestling with teaching me everything I know about work ethic... I moved to Denver in June of 2021 to work for Death & Co, and get outside a little bit more on my days off. It feels really cool to work for the bar that wrote the book that first got me into cocktails, and I get to continue to learn from amazing people everyday.


    PAUL RAMON

    I'm 27 years old, and I've been in the hospitality industry since I was able to work, basically. I went to school for music, later to go back into the service industry because I felt more in touch with it. As for my bar history in Austin, I've been lucky to work at some of the best spots in town (Whislers, Half-Step, and now Here Nor There) and learn from some great people during that time.

    I hope to someday own a bar, the property, create a brand for glassware, the whole nine yards really. I love what I do, and I learn everyday.


    JAVIER RAMIREZ-FONSECA

    From working in my families restaurants as a kid to where I am now seems like an easy transition, but it was a lot twists and turns along the way. It took a while to realized when I wanted to be behind the bar. After that the sky was the limit, and I am still trying to reach the top. It will always be a work effort.


    WESTON SIMONS

    I grew up on a small farm in Bosque Farms, New Mexico. My Father was a photographer, and my Mother was a dancer. Some of my earliest memories are around the dinner table, which we shared with doctors, farmers, and artists from around the world. In this way, my whole life has been shaped by the idea of hospitality. Every job I've ever had has been in the hospitality industry, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've been a Soda Jerk in a Mom & Pop Malt Shop, and I've been head mixologist of a 4-Diamond Hotel. Each and every one of those experiences has only strengthened my belief that the most magical thing in this world is the people we get to share it with.

    I've been privileged enough to have the opportunities to learn and grow in fantastic establishments, and led by the incredible people, and it is my deepest wish that I get the opportunity to share these with others, that they may come to love the people around them the same way I do.

    Good Luck to our Southwest region competitors!

    #WorldClassUS #worldclass2022 #usbg #diageo

    Stay tuned for more highlights on the competitors by region, more news about the competitions, and an announcement of the 2022 US World Class Bartender of the Year! 

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