Drinks International has released this year’s list of the top 100 people it believes are the bar industries most influential figures.
The publication’s editor, Hamish Smith commented that “The global bar industry has seen change that might normally take decades happen in 18 months. The pandemic was a reset, in which bar operators and their suppliers rethought almost every part of their business.
“Those that acted quickly and acted adroitly to overcome their challenges and meet the new needs of their customers have created new ways of working that will live beyond this fraught time”.
He went on to comment that this years list was “full of people who went on to lead the resistance” and “it’s worth reflecting on the actions and achievement of those who shaped the journey, enacting positive change …”
Therefore, it’s not surprising that the list saw 17 new entries that were making their first appearance. Included among them are
No. 24 – Jean Trinh, Alquimico, Cartagena. Columbia – whose pandemic focus was a sustainable agriculture project #FromTheBarToTheFarm
No. 36 – Jad Ballout, Dead End Paradise, Beirut, Lebanon – who rose his new bar Dead End Paradise from the ashes of his former bar Electric Bing Suit, which was devastated in the Beirut explosion of 2020.
No. 44 – Becky Paskin, Our Whisky, Brighton, UK – has been a leading voice in challenging cultural misconceptions about whisky.
No. 46 – Yao Lu, Union Trading Co, Shanghai, China – during the pandemic, Lu travelled to China to promote best practices and raise revenue for ailing bars.
No. 48 – Deano Moncrieffe, Hacha / Equal measures, London, UK – through Equal Measure UK, Moncrieffe has worked with businesses, communities and authorities to raise awareness around equality and diversity in hospitality.
No. 49 – Lauren Paylor, Focus On Health / Seedlip, Washington DC, USA – co-founding Focus On Health, Paylor is also a committee member for Racial Justice In Hospitality Fund addressing injustices facing black, indigenous and other hospitality workers of colour.
No. 69 – Naren Young, Sweet Liberty, Miami, USA – Young’s influence has best been defined by his work at Dante in New York. He has now relocated to Miami as creative director of Sweet Liberty, the late John Lermayer’s classic neighbourhood bar.
No. 73 – Tiffanie Barriere, The Drinking Coach, Atlanta, USA – an educator on black culture and history, Barriere is working on her new book, which focuses on African American black influence on the American cocktail space.
No. 79 – Erick Castro, Raised By Wolves/Bartender At Large, San Diego, USA – producing one of the industry’s best podcasts, Bartender At Large, Castro has also created three of America’s most respected cocktail destinations.
No. 83 – Greg Boehm – Cocktail Kingdom / Katana Kitten, New York, USA – providing the bartending world with the tools to success, Boehm is also a co-owner in a strip of New York’s most decorated bars.
No. 85 – Priyanka Blah, Dram Attic, Bangalore, India – founder of Dram Attic, a showcase of the movers and shakers of South Asia’s beverage industry, Blah spent the pandemic fund-raising and providing an employment network for out-of-work bartenders.
No. 91 – Hanna Lee, Hanna Lee Communications, New York, USA – PR to the stars of New York hospitality, Lee has spearhead initiatives such as the Global Bartender Travel Scholarship, Trailblazing Women series and HLC Book Media.
No. 92 – Shannon Mustipher, Educator/ Consultant, New York, USA – as the first black American bartender to publish a cocktail recipe book in over a century, Mustipher was awarded the 2020 Pioneer Award from Tales Of The Cocktail and has been inducted into the Dame Hall Of Fame.
No. 93 – Inés De Los Santos, Consultant / Cochinchina Bar, Buenos Aires, Argentina – during the pandemic she started a website selling ready-to-drink cocktails, as well as glassware and workshops, as well as opening Cochinchina on Buenos Aires.
No. 96 – Fawn Weaver – Uncle Nearest, Tennessee, USA – founder of the award-winning Uncle Nearest whiskey, Weaver has launched the Uncle Nearest Venture Fund to grow minority-owned spirit brands.
No. 98 – Sebastián García, Presidente Bar, Buenos Aires, Argentina – one of Argentina’s most respected bar figures, García has used his influence to provide education to young people on responsible drinking and was named ambassador for Argentina’s bar industry.
No. 100 – Nikos Bakoulis, The Clumsies, Athens, Greece – one of Europe’s best love bartenders, Bakoulis runs The Clumsies Original Cocktails, a series of RTD’s that are sold all across Greece in hotels and off-trade outlets.
Topping the list for the second year in a row was Monica Berg from London bar Taylor & Elementary, due to her ongoing advocacy for hospitality rights.
Europe (38%) and North America (33%) were home to the majority of members in the list, with Asia’s share 19%, South America 3% and Africa & the Middle East 1%.
More than 40 cities contributed industry figures to the list, with the bar scene bearing the most influence being New York (18%), ahead of London (16%).
In terms of occupation, bar operators and bartenders dominated the list, making up 56 of the 100, while Brand representatives (13%), drinks media (12%) and bar consultants (12%) also made up significant shares.
To see the list in full, go to the publications magazine supplement