It’s not very hard to find bartending competitions and cocktail competitions. Here are our five suggestions we tell our students if they want to be competitive bartenders!
The first and easiest way for a beginner bartender to break into the bartending competition scene is to check out Liquor.com. They have constant updates and streamline the sign up process a great deal. There’s also a good deal of back and forth communication between the brand hosting the competition and yourself, so it’s fairly easy to keep track of all the rules!
A second way, is to join a local meetup or group of bartenders. Many times these groups will create grassroot contests between them and if the campaign gets big enough, it’s very possible for liquor companies to pay attention to them. These competitions, while not necessarily prestigious, tend to be a good opportunity to break nerves in a casual setting. Also, since it’s not focused on pleasing a brand, but rather pleasing their community, they tend to be a lot of fun for all attendees!
A third option is to join a bartending school. Some bartending schools like our own, are great places for getting information about these local communities and organizers. They can connect you directly with them if they hear something. Many times, speakers from brands or with industry know-how will come in and give lectures about future events that students can apply for or tips on how to be selected for an appearance at one.
A fourth option is to join the USBG, or United States Bartending Guild. Many brands will host small “USBG” exclusive competitions in local communities. These tend to be centralized competitions!
A fifth way, is to be so good at bartending and branding, that brand ambassadors will actively approach you to compete for a contest that they’ll be hosting. While this way has the least amount of red tape, you’ll have to be pretty good at networking to get to this point! By being a damn good bartender, using a combination of the above four points and by engaging with industry contacts, there's no doubt that you will get to this last one!