Beam Inc. (NYSE: BEAM), a leading global premium spirits company, last night proclaimed Chase Bickerton as the winner of the biggest bartending competition in New Zealand history - Beam Bar Legend. Bickerton, from The Naughty Penguin bar in Queenstown, was crowned the winner after a gruelling two day final in Auckland, having beaten 8 grand finalists from a pool of 370 entrants from around the country.
He will take home $25,000 worth of prizes as well as the prestigious title of New Zealand’s first ever Beam Bar Legend.
"It is hard for me to describe how I feel right now. All the finalists are deserving of the title and I don’t think the win has sunk in for me yet," he said.
"The past two days have been fantastic and really tested all of our skills not only in terms of making drinks but we have really had to prove ourselves with our personality and knowledge of the Beam portfolio as well. Everyone on the stage tonight was legendary," he adds.
Beam (NZ) Marketing Director, Rene Bros, was one of the judges for the event and had the unenviable task of helping to select a winner.
"With an unprecedented prize pack at stake, we needed to make sure that we chose the right person for the title. To ensure that happened, I had International Galliano Brand Ambassador Ago Perrone, Former New Zealand bartender of the year Chris Harrop and Club Suntory Manager Nigel Weisbaum from Sydney to support me," he said.
New Zealand’s biggest bartending competition will get even bigger next year, with Bros confirming last night that the contest will be run again in 2013.
Finalists were tasked with six rounds including a formal interview, a blind tasting, an aperitivo challenge, a masterclass with Ago Perrone, and two cocktail invention challenges at the live final.
Bickerton took home a prize that includes an all expenses paid trip to a Beam distillery of his choice (Kentucky, Canada, the Caribbean, France, Scotland), an expense card valued at $10,000 and a $5,000 party for his bar.
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