From L.A. to K.C., Competitions Reign

PAMA LiqueurPAMA Liqueur has launched the Beyond The Glass Bartender Search, which kicks off on Sept. 12. Created in partnership with the U.S. Bartender’s Guild (USBG), “Beyond The Glass” seeks a bartender who exemplifies the qualities that make the profession great, beyond creating delectable drinks. The selected bartender will receive $4,500. The online talent search, which runs until Oct. 31, asks bartenders to nominate themselves by submitting a video showcasing their personal style (how they dress, shake, stir and serve), garnishing skills (how they create the powerful finishing touch to a cocktail) and commitment to their community (how they contribute to the local bartending profession and use their bartending skills for the benefit of good causes). A panel of judges made up of members of the USBG executive board will award points for each section of the submission; 10 runners up will receive annual dues to the USBG. To enter, go to

Los Angeles drinkers have been invited to nominate their favorite bartenders to compete in the L.A.’s Best Bartender competition. To nominate a bartender, consumers or friends must submit the bartender’s picture, name, place of work and why they deserve to be named L.A.’s Best Bartender. Five bartender finalists will compete based on USBG rules. Judges will be: Matthew Biancaniello, Library Bar, L.A.'s Best Bartender 2010; Dale Degroff; Jessica Gelt, L.A. Times writer; Johnny Iuzzini, pastry chef; Bricia Lopez, restaurateur; and Marcos Tello, president, USBG L.A. Chapter. This year's winner will get the ultimate trophy: an actual full-size billboard in L.A. featuring a huge image of the winning bartender, his or her name and the title "L.A.'s Best Bartender." Enter online:

San Francisco Cocktail WeekDetails are emerging about San Francisco Cocktail Week, a weeklong celebration of the Bay Area’s liquid culture being held Sept. 19-25. Tickets are now on sale for the fifth annual event.

“We’ve grown, the culture has grown and the momentum has grown since our first-ever Cocktail Week in 2007,” says H. Joseph Ehrmann, co-founder of San Francisco Cocktail Week and president of the Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail. “For our fifth annual celebration, we have engaged a broad team of professionals to make our little fête even better.”

Special Farmer’s Market Happy Hour San Francisco Cocktail Week Preview Night takes place on Aug. 24. In September, events will be held in venues, bars and restaurants throughout the Bay Area, including a Bar Crawl to Rye, Cantina, Otis Lounge and Rickhouse; an opening-night party at Anchor Brewing; and a showcase with West Coast bartenders from San Diego to Vancouver — each participant will offer a cocktail that uniquely represents his or her city and its cocktail culture. For more info, go check out

Thirteen bartenders were selected as finalists in the 2011 Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. From Kansas City: Tony Beyer, Benton’s Prime Chop House; Jennifer Tosatto, Manifesto/The Rieger; Valdez Campos, Manifesto/The Rieger; Travis Stewart, Chaz on The Plaza; Justin Richardson, The American; Jason Kimbrell, Tannin Wine Bar; Berto Santoro, Extra Virgin; Paige Unger, M&S Grill. From St. Louis: Shannon Ponche, Taste; Chad George, Demun Oyster Bar; Matt Seiter, Sanctuaria. Other competitors are Jon Yeager, Watanabe Asian Cuisine, Nashville and Matthew Herman, Trezo Vino, Leawood, Kan. The Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition was created in 2007 to honor the men and women bar professionals in the Greater Kansas City area and to encourage the best practices within the local trade. Beginning in 2010, the competition expanded to include a wider stretch of the Midwest. Organizers Doug Frost and Ryan Maybee are now aided by a committee made up of local bartenders from the Kansas City Bartenders Alliance.

Priscilla Young’s "HEIR-loom of the Dog" was named grand prize winner for the competition introducing Bloom Premium London Dry Gin. Competitors were the first in the U.S. to work with Bloom, which makes its debut this month in San Francisco. Bloom’s makers, British distiller G&J Greenall, selected San Francisco for the brand’s American launch because of the city’s cocktail heritage, legendary bar talent and role as host of the annual San Francisco Cocktail Week. Young (of the Mandarin Oriental) made her HEIR-loom with California heirloom tomatoes, mint leaves, fresh lime juice, jasmine ginger syrup and a wedge of organic grapefruit, earning a trophy and $300 for her victory. Other finalists included Eric Nyeste of Zero Zero, Ian Adams of Orson, Ileah Paolinelli of Hops and Hominy, Lara Doranian of Bubble Lounge, Trent Simpson of DOSA (on Fillmore) and Zachary Taylor of The Brixton.

social media iconsThink social media can help your business? Think some more: A report from the United Kingdom says consumers place less value on a social-media presence when buying an alcohol brand than any other product type. The study looked at trends among drinks consumers and what drives them to purchase certain brands, specifically, what matters to them the most: value for money, quality of product, relationship with the brand and the brand’s level of ethical responsibility. Value for money in drinks came out as the most important factor for most consumers, with 48% of those questioned citing it as their most important deciding factor. Quality came in second at 37%, while ethical/environmental considerations and customer service both scored 3.7% each. The ability to interact with a brand via social media was last; 2.5% of those questioned cited it as an important factor, according to The Drinks Business, a European drinks trade publication.

Here’s an idea that IS worth pursuing: a free shuttle service that transports groups of up to six to any of a quartet of bars owned by the same group in San Francisco. From the owners of Bullitt, Tonic, Rebel and Mayhem, the service allows small groups to catch a ride in a van to any of the spots from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and driven from one venue to another. The service helps make talk about responsible drinking come alive.

Bols FoamDutch distiller Lucas Bols, who is about to roll out aged Genever in the U.S. market, is claiming a world's first with the launch of an alcoholic foam for dressing and finishing off cocktails. Bols Foam is created from small bottles of Bols liqueurs served with a pump dispenser. The patented "secret" ingredient (sucrose and fatty acids, among other ingredients) causes the liqueur to foam when it comes into contact with air. The foam holds up for 15 minutes and the range consists of Bols Banana, Blue, Crème de Cassis, Amaretto, Peppermint and Cacao White. It's only available in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom at present.

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