Following this year’s Diageo World Class bartending competition, Owen O’Reilly was crowned South Africa’s best bartender 2019 after competing in five grueling challenges alongside seven of the top bartenders in South Africa last week at the Keyes Art Mile in Johannesburg.
Now in its 11th year, the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender competition is the industry’s most prestigious mixology event and aims to elevate the skills and craft of the bartending profession, setting global trends and standards in the service industry.
The panel of judges included My Kitchen Rules SA’s David Higgs, Self-taught chef and make-up artist Neo Nontso, Michael Stephenson a former Diageo World Class competition leader and World Class Netherlands winner of 2015 Tess Posthumus.
The three-day competition was full of excitement and comprised of a series of grueling challenges. The most challenging of them all is called the Twelve in Ten – a rigorous display of skill and excellence as bartenders make 12 cocktails in 10 minutes. After the five challenges were assessed and scored, Owen O’Reilly was named SA’s World Class National Finals Champion.
Owner of Molecular bars and winner of World Class’ National finals in 2015, Dom De Lorenzo is still highly involved in the growth of Diageo’s passion project. He has been running the World Class programme since 2016.
“Diageo World Class is the world’s leading bartending competition and the finalists are paving the way in the cocktail culture. The competition is a great way to educate consumers on the versatility of the Diageo portfolio while showing them how they can elevate their own celebrations with exciting new executions.
Owen has our full support as he journeys to Glasgow. We know his South African flare will shine through his execution and we are already proud,” says De Lorenzo.
Owen will represent South Africa in Glasgow against the best in the world later this year, where mixologists from more than 60 countries will compete to be the ultimate, World Class Bartender.