It’s good to be Evan Stroeve right now. A few weeks ago he helped open Matt Whiley’s new Sydney bar RE, last week he was announced as one of the three finalists in the Australian Diago World Class Competition and then last night he impressed the judges to take home the title.
As winner of the coveted Australian World Class Bartendender of the Year for 2021, Stroeve showed an impressive level of skill, consistency and creativity during each challenge. Although Kayla Saito (Leonardo’s Pizza Palace, Melbourne) and David Aznar (Rosella’s, Gold Coast) were also at an expert level, it was Stroeve who displayed a truly World Class level of expert mixology.
Beating hundreds of bartenders from across the nation through a series of challenges, Stroeve will now compete in the first ever virtual global final from 4-8 July. Joining more than 60 other global finalists representing their country, Stroeve will live stream his skills as he makes his way through a series of competition tasks set to take bartending standards to the limit.
The 2021 Australian competition also saw bartenders compete in the new digital format; a move forced by the impacts of Covid-19 internationally. Entrants lodged their drinks via the Diageo Bar Academy before competing in challenges where they used Reserve Brands including Don Julio tequila, Ketel One vodka, Tanqueray No.TEN gin, and Johnnie Walker Black Label blended Scotch whisky to experiment with flavour, balance and creativity.
I was so excited to be able to showcase what we do at RE and what I have learnt from Matt Whiley especially within the Ketel One sustainability challenge.
The Australian final took place last night at the home of the World Class Cocktail Festival, Paramount House Golden Age Bar, in front of some of the industry’s most notable. They cheered the finalists on as they went head-to-head across three rounds in the fight to win this year’s Australian Bartender of the Year 2021 crown.
Evan Stroeve says of the win, “To be competing alongside David and Kayla, some of the best bartenders in the country is such an honour in itself. I have competed in the Diageo World Class three times now and to finally take out the win surrounded by my family, friends and long term mentor Tim Philips-Johansson (Owner of Bulletin Place and Previous World Class Global Winner) is a momentous moment in my career, I’m still letting it sink in!”
“I was so excited to be able to showcase what we do at RE and what I have learnt from Matt Whiley (owner of RE) especially within the Ketel One sustainability challenge. The level of talent in the competition was incredibly high so it’s a massive achievement not only for me, but hopefully this shows Australia the calibre of cocktails we create at RE and they stop in to say hi and congrats.”
Krystal Hart, Australia’s World Class Ambassador added, “Each year I am blown away from the talent that comes forward for World Class. Even with the change of format this year I feel we were able to reach even more incredible talent from across Australia who were ready to show off their creativity and skills using Diageo’s Reserve Brands. Coming together last night at Paramount House to watch these incredibly talented individuals battle it out was beyond and I’m so excited to see Evan represent Australia in the global finals and show the world what we are made of.”
Currently in its 12th year, the World Class Bartender of the Year competition continues to support, educate and inspire more than 350,000 bartenders through its advocacy programs. Now spanning more than 60 countries, with more than 10,000 bartenders entering the competition each year, it continues to be instrumental in transforming fine drinking and cocktail culture around the world.
The World Class Global Bartender of the Year finals will be held virtually from the 4-8 July. The five-day spectacular will be packed full of immersive opportunities for people to both watch the competition and engage with some amazing virtual and interactive experiences. From events to trend-led panels, masterclasses to AR-bars, the entire festival has been reimagined to adapt to the realities of today’s climate.