The first ever WFA Grand Slam in India went down in Mumbai on the 14th and 15th of October and what an event it turned out to be. Dream Flair was expertly put together by the team at Flairology, as well as the two days of competition there were various other workshops and activities going on for bartenders of all levels to get involved in. There was a great turn out at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel with bartenders and the audience travelling from all over Asia and in some cases the world. Now of course for the juicy details, what went down at Dream Flair 2018:
Taking the top spot and pulling out even further ahead in the Grand Slam Tournament 2018 is Latvia’s very own Deniss Trifanovs, taking second place (his highest placement in a WFA Grand Slam yet and his first WFA Black grade) was Eugene Sokolov, with Oliver Deak taking third place. Fourth place went to the impressive Jun Nakamura who also received his first WFA Purple Grade, along with Monish Raj in Fifth and Sachin Gowda in Sixth. Monish and Sachin have become the first WFA Purple Grade bartenders in India. The prize for Best Indian and 100 Euros also went to Monish Raj, with Anuj Negi taking 100 Euros for the Best Sponsor Prize.
The WFA Grand Slam leaderboard has seen a bit of a shake up with the latest event too. We have 15 new entries, as well as big movements from Deniss (pulling out further ahead) and Eugene who came straight in at number 12. Jun was our biggest mover, jumping from 60th to 10th and Oliver Deak also made waves moving from 20th to 3rd place! Check out the latest leaderboard below:
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The competition and competitors
We spoke to judge on the day and Head of Gradings here at the WFA Tom Dyer to see what his views were on the competition and the competitors:
“Dream Flair was very well put together for the first WFA Grand Slam in India, if it is a sign of things to come then it was a very good sign indeed. The competition had one of the best crowds we have seen at any flair comp this year and it is clear that flair bartending is extremely popular in India. We must say a massive well done to Flairology for organising Dream Flair and we can’t wait to see what they bring next year!
As for the competitors, overall we were very excited to see what the South of Asia had to offer. Many of these guys we never get to see flair as they cannot make it out to the international flair competitions that are often in Europe for a variety of reasons – so it was really great to bring the WFA Grand Slam to them and see what they brought to the table. For us as judges it was like stepping into a brand new competition with brand new competitors, the competitive flair world and community is quite small so you quite quickly get to know many of the girls and guys that take part in it. We were really excited to see what the prospect of a country of 1.2 billion people had to offer and we certainly weren’t let down!
As we didn’t know a lot of the names, we also didn’t know who to look out for (aside from the international flair bartenders that attended). It became quickly apparent though who the big names in India were from the crowds of people who came to watch. One of the guys we have seen before was Sachin Gowda about 8 years ago in a competition. It was clear to see that his flair had developed a lot since that time and that was great to see. Monish Raj was a surprise for us, he was completely new to us and there was a great battle between him and Sachin for the Best Indian prize. The level of nearly all of the local bartenders we saw at Dream Flair was very high, they only thing many were missing was the more challenging and intricate moves and performances – but this wasn’t too surprising as this comes from competing all around the world and being exposed to different styles of flair and different ideas.
Stage presence and crowd interaction didn’t seem to be a problem for almost all of the bartenders. This side of their performances was particularly strong. There is certainly a lot of natural talent for flair amongst the Indian bartenders we saw. Pratik Choudhary was great, he had a very high flair score (6th overall), unfortunately however he was just let down by his cocktail score and deductions, which brought his overall score down. The bartenders that really stood out used original music and showed some original moves. As I said Monish and Sachin were both very close and it was a great battle. Although Sachin’s flair was a bit better, Monish edged it with a better cocktail speaking testament as to why the cocktail you make is just as important as the flair you show to do it.
Regarding the international bartenders, Jun started fantastically well. Unfortunately it seemed that his first drop put him off for the rest of his performance, however being able to deal with drops and move on from them is something that comes with experience and what else we saw from Jun was great – so we expect some great things in the future from him. Oliver was clearly really enjoying himself on stage, it was great to see him really going for some challenging moves. Eugene is a move machine and it is great to see him back on stage, whereas Deniss was probably the most focussed we have seen him this year and right now we can’t wait to see what he brings to every competition he enters. He will always bring a new move and that is really refreshing to see!”
Most memorable moment
“For me the most memorable moment of Dream Flair 2018 was a move from Deniss. I think it was a three bottle, two tin move and it just seemed to go on and on – it was incredible and you could see the sheer happiness in his face when he landed it! This epitomises his determination and focus to win and we love to see that from anyone at any flair competition”.