While there hasn’t been a lot of good that has come out of this global pandemic, the irony of our isolation is that we actually have a lot more access to people than ever before.
Through zoom meetings and Facebook meet-ups, a lot of bartenders, brand managers and industry titans than we might never have had a chance to meet in real life are talking and teaching on our screens.
Bars in the UK have been able to demonstrate cocktails to bartenders in India; distilleries in Scotland have been able to show tours of their facilities to brand fans in the US; bartenders in Singapore have been able to share their vision with home-bartenders in Australia.
Sure, it’s not ideal but if you have an interest on what is going on around the world of spirits, what people are working on and how to master techniques, there have been a wide range of classes, instruction and discussions going on across screens across the globe.
One such group that is aiming to share knowledge is Diageo, who have taken their World Class event and turned it into World-Class Community Week, an exciting new digital initiative designed to inspire, engage and communicate with the drinks community around the world.
The sessions have so far been run in Northern Europe, Italy and Canada. Next week they will move to Australia, but the thing to remember is that anyone, no matter where you are in the world, no matter what level, can join in.
Led by Diageo Reserve and World Class Global Cocktailian, Lauren Mote, the seasons will feature the industry’s finest drinks talent including previous World Class winner and Australia’s own Tim Phillips-Johansson.
Designed to cover a range of topics from tutored tasting sessions, to creating bespoke cocktails at home and in-depth discussions around the positive impacts bartenders and the industry have on the community, the sessions provide business tips, masterclass tutorials and panel discussions with the industry’s best.
As Krystal Hart, the Australian World Class Brand Ambassador and Trade Advocacy Manager said, “I think it’s a really unique opportunity for us to speak to not only regional bartenders, but to speak to global bartenders, to up and coming bartenders, or even just to at-home cocktail aficionados or flavour champions.
“I think the platform in itself enables you to simply open your laptop or your iPhone, click on a zoom link, and listen to a really engaging chat. You can choose to either engage with, by keeping your video on and offering questions, or you can just listen, look at everybody else that’s on the panel, and feel connected with all these ideas that will be at your fingertips.”
To get an idea of what is on offer, we talked to Hart, about what these sessions will contain.
Day 1: Wednesday 13TH May – 5PM AEST / 9AM GST
The Future Of Whisky // Katie Nagar (Moderator), Ervin Trykowski – Global Ambassador, Alan Mulvhil – Roe & Co, Brooke Hayman (Whisky & Alement)
“Of course, we’re going to lead with the future of whiskey. Diageo as a business has some of the most magnificent distilleries throughout Scotland and throughout the rest of the world. So who better to lead the session than none other, our Australian Whisky Ambassador, Katie Nagar. She and the rest of the panel will not only discuss the way people are consuming whiskey but how people might want to drink whiskey in the future.
“We’ve also got Brooke Hayman, who is one of the owners of Whisky and Aliment (Melbourne), and they’re doing some really exciting package whiskey offerings at the moment. We wanted to get her insight on how she sees her business currently and whether their current offerings creating new opportunities for her business in the future, and how she thinks people are going to continue to drink whiskey.”
7pm AEST / 11AM GMT
Power Of Community – Krystal Hart (Moderator), Andrea Gualdi (World Class Winner/ Maybe Sammy), Luke Ashton (Wills), Evan Stroeve (Bulletin Place) and Dennis Tamse (Ketel One Vodka).
“This session is all about sustainability in drinks and the benefits of supporting local. And each of our panel have their own expertise to help highlight the importance of local ingredients, indigenous ingredients, and of course, the community and culture that create an understanding or a deeper understanding of why we should be using these ingredients, how, and the impact that can have on the environment.
“We want to look at the culture and the community from where a lot of these ingredients are sourced, but also give people some tips on not only what to use but also how to get the most out of the local ingredients they choose, which is quite exciting.”
Day 2: Thursday 14TH May – 5PM AEST / 9AM GST
No & Low Alcohol – Nick Edwards (Moderator), Lauren Mote (Global Cocktailian), Nick Tesar (Bar Liberty), Ollie Margan (Maybe Mae)
“Here, we are really looking to unpack, not only what the aperitif is, but also how important the ritual of the aperitif is in everyday drinking. We’ll be taking a look at some of the trends and how we see the evolution of some of these incredible styles for the future.
“Australia is probably one of the most interesting countries in terms of understanding how seasonality can play a really important role in the ingredients and can manifest into unique serves such as the Spritz. We won’t necessarily have access to strawberries year-round, but you might have incredible orchard fruits, which when coupled with some grapes and underlying spice notes can truly bring out autumnal or even winter flavours.”
7pm AEST / 11AM GMT
Trivia Night – Katie Nagar (Moderator), Jonny Nease, Tim Glasson, Nick Edwards, Ervin Trykowski (Global Ambassador)
“I’m actually really excited to see how trivia plays out. We’ve got some great panellists and the concept is to have a great trivia chat, get involved in the questions and really have a bit of fun.
One of the most important things about feeling connected to a community is the fact that we’re able to relax and have a really good time. And we’ve got some really great hosts to do that under the banner of some really interesting cocktail trends, drink trends, that should really inspire those of us that want to learn a little bit more about flavour, that are budding cocktailians at home or just love going to the pub and engaging in a great trivia challenge. So, I think we’ll have a pretty diverse audience for that session.
Day 3: Friday 15TH May – 5PM AEST / 9AM GST
Ready To Drink – Gemma Duff, Tim Glasson, Jenna Ba (Brand Ambassador & Moderator), Pasan Wijesena (Earls Juke Joint), Alex Boon (Australia World Class Winner 2019)
“We are going to look at those bars that are catering for Ready-To-Drink offerings, not just for the now, but as an extra layer or an extra offering to their service. We’ve got Pasan, owner of Earl’s and Jacoby’s, who probably has one of the most successful models at the moment to cater to their audience and their consumers. This really enables the community to feel truly connected with these bars.
When you’re using fresh ingredients, it’s important to understand what techniques you want to use in terms of preservation; whether that be curing, fermenting, preserving through proof or through things like salts and acids. And then, if you would like to take it to a second level, then we start to think about carbonation and the role that plays in not only adding texture but also changing the flavour. So a lot of really interesting points to consider when creating a bottled cocktail..
7PM AEST / 11AM GMT
Power Of Community – Krystal Hart (Moderator), Mark Moriarty (Global Ambassador), Paulo Figueiredo (Ketel One Vodka Brand Ambassador), Orlando Marzo (World Class Winner 2018), Mitch Orr (CicciaBella)
“This chat is focused on the two pillars of better drinking and better eating. Aside from our other wonderful panellists, we have the amazing Mitch Orr, who has been making some of the most incredible dishes accessible for people at home.
“This chat is about getting a better understanding of the dynamics between global and local cuisine, how we’re currently managing that offering now, and will that be playing a bigger role in the future. Venues are transforming their business models and we look at some of the exciting opportunities around that?
9PM AEST / 1PM GMT
Tanqueray No. TEN ‘Best In Show’ Martini Hour // with Krystal Hart (Moderator), Tim Philips-Johannson (World Class Winner), Lauren Mote (Global Cocktailian) and Australia’s World Class Brand Ambassadors.
Definitely one of my favorite serves. I think the Martini used to be an extremely boost forward businessman’s luncheon, whereas now, we are starting to see some incredible Mini Martini’s, 50/50 serves that is low in alcohol. We’ve definitely seen the Martini start to really claim back that first drink occasion.
What better way to kind of cap off an incredible week with great contributors and panelists than with a really enjoyable Martini at the end of it, to share some incredible stories, and enjoy one of the most ritualized cocktail serves.”
The Australian World Class Community Week series kick off on Wednesday 13th May and are easily accessed through the World Class Club website. If you miss any sessions or would like to see earlier sessions from other parts of the world, repeats are loaded onto the World Class YouTube channel .