World Class Goes To Madrid

Global spirits giant Diageo has announced that Madrid will take up the mantle as host (possibly virtually) for their 2021 World Class competition

By: Tiff Christie|December 10,2020

Diageo has announced that their World Class competition will be back next year but if you had assumed that it would still be in Sydney, Australia, then you might have a while to wait.

Like so many competitions and events, World Class was postponed this year due to the pandemic. The event was due to be held in Sydney and many believed that the location would be carried over to 2021. But now Diageo has disclosed that the event will instead be held in the Spanish city of Madrid.


World Class Bartender Of The Year – class of 2019

It seems that Madrid was chosen as it can provide ‘greater flexibility to work across multiple time zones’. Sydney will then host the 2022 World Class competition.

Next years competition, which is due to be held on 5 to 8 July, will ‘celebrate global cocktail culture safely and in line with all prevailing government guidelines’.

Simon Earley, Global Head of Diageo World Class, said: “2020 has been a difficult year for everybody in the drinks industry, but it’s also been a catalyst for innovation, creativity and community. We were determined to create a safe environment where we could recognise that and give everyone something to look forward to.

“This year’s event will be like no other ­– we’ve chosen Madrid, not just because it’s one of the truly great destinations for cocktail culture and home to one of the world’s finest cocktail festivals, but also because of the flexibility to work across multiple time zones and create a dynamic event that can adapt to all safety guidelines.

As the pandemic is still raging across a lot of the world, Diageo has planned a number of scenarios for the global final in Madrid. The company has looked at situations where bartenders compete in person, if it is safe and allowed, along with partially or fully virtual settings with participants competing from their own country.

2020 has been a difficult year for everybody in the drinks industry, but it’s also been a catalyst for innovation, creativity and community.

“Our priority is the safety of our people and our bartenders,” Earley continued, “so we’re delighted to be able to announce this unique multi-format World Class finals to safely celebrate the people taking drinks culture to new heights. The final decision on which format we’ll adopt for the World Class Finals 2021 will be decided early in the new year, based on the global situation.

“Whatever the scenario, we will create something special and we will showcase and celebrate the very best of cocktail culture and the bartenders who make it happen. For now, I’m inviting interested bartenders to sign up and get practising – because next summer one of them will be named Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year.”

As part of the new format competition, bartenders will lodge their drinks via the Diageo Bar Academy portal before competing in a series of challenges where they use Reserve Brands to experiment with flavour, balance and creativity across Ketel One Vodka, Tanqueray No.TEN gin, Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch whisky and the Diageo Malts portfolio. Prizes will be given at every stage of the competition, rewarding more bartenders than ever as part of the program.

To help bartenders prepare, an interactive online masterclass will be conducted on December 21st to arm bartenders with everything they need to know to enter and compete. These sessions will be recorded and available to all bartenders to view at their leisure to support their entry preparations.

Bartenders can sign up for the 2021 competition soon. For World Class updates, visit

For Australia, the launch date is  20th January and the comp will open on the 1st Feb. For other markets check with the Diageo website above or your local Diageo brand ambassador.

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World Class Goes To Madrid

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