It all happened at the Hilton last night, with Bar week drawing closer to a close.
A broad representation of the industry filled the ballroom, to hear the results, to celebrate ten years of the awards and to have a decent crack at getting smashed, responsibly, of course.
Anyhoo, you’re probably reading this because you weren’t at the awards, or you were there but pushed the boat out a touch too far.
Best New Launched Product.
The first award of the night went to Russian Standard vodka. Beam Global administer the brand here in Australia, but they bought a little Russian charm to the event, in the guise of Miss Russia. The leggy model’s purr and smile quickly caught the attention of the room, and ever the entrepreneu, Dave Spanton capitalised , auctioning thirty minutes of her company off to charity. Perhaps the surprise of the evening was that Cafe Pacifico’s Phil Bayly was the man with his hand in the air. I hope she likes tequila.
Best Training Program
Went to the boys from Diageo’s Alchemy. Investment in training is ever increasing in the market here, with legends of bartending being flown around the globe to teach, train and tour the lucky country.
Brand Ambassador of the Year
The Mixxit team must have only missed out by a whisker of winning the best program prize. Dylan Howarth managed to scrape back some semblance of honour taking out the individual award.
Small Stand Award
Without question went to Bacardi, the Blind Tiger speakeasy, overseen by the debonair David Cordoba, international daiquiri ambassador. It was all about story, setting and sharing the love and passion that goes into making the world’s favourite white rum and the simple expression of sugar, sour & strong; perfectly diluted into a very special dream state.
Large Stand Award
Goes to Philip Morris. They wouldn’t let me in last year, and I didn’t try this, so they obviously aren’t in it for the PR.
Brisbane bar, The Bowery, takes out this prestigious prize. I really sweet speech shows just how much the recognition means.
Best Food Offering
Laruche, again from up in Brisbane, takes out the prize. Might be time to book a flight and go and check out my Northern neighbor.
New Venue Design
Down scale speakeasy-cum-saloon, Shady Pines, takes home the bacon. Special shout outs to eBay and Bunnings for supplying the goods.
Best Drinks Selection
This can be found at the Crown & Sceptre in Adelaide. Might have to visit the festival state too.
Bar Manager of the Year
Sebastian Derbomez from Hemmesphere takes out this one. His speech is great, for the first two minutes. After that he starts to ramble about the lot of Bar Managers everywhere. Dave Spanton finally intervenes. Bravo.
Best Marketed Venue
Lee from the Victoria Room has some kind words to say about family run and owned venues. Vive la petite revolution! While he claims to have no knowledge of marketing, his plug for the Fluffy Duck Blazer would make any spruiker proud.
The lights go down for Kit & Kaboodle. Teamwork seems to have deserted them as they fumble the thankyous in the speech. No one knows this now, but they’ll have another chance after dinner.
Naren Young deservedly honoured for his efforts behind the bar and in articulating the whole thing in words too. His speech is great, starting with an acknowledgement of the role of Tom Cruise in his career, and that inability to grow a beard is no impediment to making a contribution. His thanks at the end are heartfelt and more than a few eyes aren’t dry around the room.
Best Bar Team
Rollicking on to the stage with no shortage of gay abandon, the team from the Black Pearl in Melbourne proudly lift the trophy, and the new addition to the Hysted repertoire, the finger mustache. Curled, of course.
Best Specialty Beer Venue
Goes to the Local Taphouse, from Sydney. “Beer is the new black” a five word speech that says it all.
Best Wine Bar
Team Gazebo takes it out again, only t his time it’s the new venue in Crown St, The Winery, that will have an award upside down on the roof.
Rookie of the Year
Goes to the stunning and talented Elle Wormald, from Eau de Vie. Great to see a lady taking away one of the individual prizes. Hopefully a sign of great things to come.
Best Operator – Single Venue
Sebastian, Liz and Lisa from 1806 in Melbourne take out the prize.
Best Small Bar
Little laneway legend, Grasshopper, from Sydney takes this one out. Great to see the small bar legislation working well.
Cocktail Bar of the Year
Jason Crawley kicks things off with a great joke about whales. The winner is a whale of the industry, Der Raum, from the streets of Melbourne takes it out. Flavour fog ahoy!
Best Music Venue
X&Y from Brisbane take this one away. Can you hear the people sing?
Best New Bar
Eau de Vie gets an award! Great result for Sven and the team. Consumer recognition from Gourmet traveller and now the trade. This place is my favourite bar for a reason.
Hotel of the Year
The multi faceted Ivy proves you can in fact be all things to all people…
Multiple Venue Owner
Keystone Hospitality lift the trophy.
New Hotel of the Year
The Flinders Hotel gets an award! Most of the folks who aren’t already there are going now. Make mine a Red Hook!
Bar of the Year
Hugos Manly proves there is a reason to visit the insular peninsular.
Bartender of the Year
Jason Williams from the Galley Room in Melbourne takes the top prize. Adam Brewer from Cloudland in Brisbane 3rd & Chris Denman from X&Y came 2nd.
It was a great night and showcased the strength and development of the bar industry in Australia. Well done to the Spanton team and all the winners.