4 years ago

The Tahona Society Competition: Beyond Cocktail Competitions

The revamped bartender contest now focuses on sustainability all around the bar.

After nine years of organizing cocktail competitions, The Tahona Society decided to go one step beyond, led by Altos Advocacy Manager Carlos Andrés Ramirez. Now, under “The Collective Spirit” concept, the society is looking for sustainable initiatives all around the world, that can impact the bar in a positive way; from environmental preservation to bartenders’ mental health. The finals were held in Guadalajara over four days, where participants met with coaches and judges that helped them improve their cases in order to find the winning project. The 5-member judging panel included Shark Tank Mexico’s Kiren Miret, Altos’ co-founder Dre Masso, sustainability specialist Valerie Kramis and House of Tequila’s Sales Marketing VP Christophe Prat.

Even with such a challenging format, the response from bartenders around the world was astonishing: 22 countries participated, submitting dozens of projects. The judges had no easy task since they had to choose from 15 solid projects like Bulgary’s take on aquaponics in the bar, Italy’s farmer empowerment to serve bars and restaurants, Singapore’s ex-convict rehabilitation program, Belarus’ eco-truck serving cocktails throughout Europe with zero emissions and other great recycling projects from Findland, UK, Latvia, Poland, South Africa, and France. Only one project could be crowned and so, the 2018 edition saw Alex Black and Makenzie Chilton, co-founders of the Mind The Bar Foundation, win the 50,000 dollars prize to establish a platform that would bring information and personal support to bartenders in need of mental health assistance. Alex Black, who has also struggled with mental health, shared his story along with an impressive presentation: “250% return on investment for every dollar spent on suicide prevention”, he said during his pitch, while a bulb lighted every 40 seconds; a heartwarming reminder that every 40 seconds somebody in the world will take their own life.

Adrián Lopez claims the The Henry Bessant Scholarship 

Adrián Lopez from Mexico was the winner of the scholarship that grants 10,000 dollars. He will destine the money to finish learning English and travel to London to start working on FAM bar. Family members of the late Altos co-founder Henry Bessant traveled to Mexico to hand in this award. Emotions were running high at one of the most exciting bartender competitions in the world today, separating from cocktail competitions to pursue a necessary ambition that would fit in any bar just as well as a good cocktail.