The first WFA Grand Slam in South East Asia for 2018 has been and gone – and it was great! Bartenders from all around the world flocked to Singapore for the Barstylez Big Match World Bartender Championship 2018, which for only the second time is part of the WFA Grand Slam Tournament. For those who don’t know, the WFA Grand Slam Tournament is a year long leaderboard, starting with the first Grand Slam competition in January and finishing in November/December, depending on when the last competition falls. Where you place at each competition equates to a certain number of points, the Grand Slam Champion is the bartender with the most points on the leaderboard at the end of the year, so consistency is key.
With that in mind, lets have a look at how the leaderboard stands considering we are almost half way through 2018. It is very tight with only 10 points separating the top 4 and only 5 points between the top 2! Who will be crowned the 2018 Grand Slam World Champion, will it be Marek again? Only time will tell…
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Barstylez Big Match Result
Taking place at the Hard Rock Cafe in Singapore, this year’s Barestylez Big Match was a hard fought competition. Key to the Big Match competition culture is the meeting of East and West. This is one of the few occasions in the year where some of the best flair bartenders from the East take on some of the best Europe has to offer. As we have discussed in previous articles, there is certainly a different style to flair bartending depending on where in the world you learn and practice – with really noticeable differences in moves and style from North America through to Europe, Asia and South America.
A keenly fought competition, it was clear that everyone bought their A-game and a cocktail to match. As with many WFA Grand Slam competitions moving forward, the cocktail you create is becoming increasingly important with a higher percentage of the overall score coming down to your mixology skills and not just your flair. This became increasingly clear at the Big Match with Luca leading the field his cocktail creation in the finals and Roman Zapata and Yu Abiko taking the highest cocktail scores in the qualification round.
Overall it was Luca Valentin who went away with the Barstylez Big Match victory belt, with Giorgio Chiarella coming in 2nd, Deniss Trifanovs in 3rd, Marek Posluszny in 4th, Roman Zapata in 5th and Hiroshi Ichikawa in 6th. You can take a look at the full list of results from the qualification round and the finals below:
The winner Luca took home a mighty $2000 Singapore Dollars, as well as a trophy and of course the infamous WFA Black Level. Both Second and Third were also awarded the WFA Black Level as well as $1500 and $1200 respectively. As per normal 4th, 5th and 6th place got the WFA Purple Level in addition to cash prizes and a trophy each.
This year’s Asia Champion was Japan’s Hiroshi Ichikawa, with the Best Big Ass Move trophy going to Grant Lee from Taiwan and best cocktail to Yu Abiko also from Japan. Congratulations to everyone who took part at the Barstylez Big Match World Championship and to this years winner – Luca Valentin! (@lucavalentin).
Some key mentions from WFA Judge Tom Dyer:
“Although Hiroshi Ichikawa was the only Asian bartender in the finals, there is clearly some great Asian flair bartenders out there with some tremendous skill. I can’t wait to see them proceed and get better. The lack of Grand Slam competitions in Asia is definitely not helping them improve but it is something we are working on to bring the east and west closer together. Allowing those bartenders to shine through and start competing with some of the biggest names in flair bartending.The overall level at Barstylez Big Match World Bartender Championship was very high, some special mentions go to:Grant Lee, Shallum Recto and Ryo Miyake for great rounds. Denny Ageev although he didn’t have a great day, he had some nice ideas, I’m looking forward to seeing him land this concept clean in the near future”.