Glenfiddich’s first global competition to find the world’s most experimental bartender kicked off with the UK being the first country to crown their winner, Shea Campbell from Orchid, Aberdeen.
True to Glenfiddich’s maverick family values, the global search aims to recognise and reward forward thinking bartenders who collaborate with ‘mavericks’ outside the traditional drinks world, such as musicians, chefs and artists, to develop a unique and inventive Glenfiddich drinking experience.
Shea Campbell partnered with his sister Ciara, a ceramics artist, to create different vessels allowing the drinker to explore the various flavours and aromas of the whisky, as well as experience the touch, weight and colour of the vessel itself.
The judges’ criteria was to find someone with exceptional whisky knowledge who could bring a disruptive, category changing concept and show good commercial understanding for their idea to be replicated globally. The judges, who included Glenfiddich UK Ambassador, Mark Thomson, Glenfiddich’s Senior Brand Manager, Sarah Harding, Hannah Sharman-Cox of Drink up London and Tony Conigliaro of The Drink Factory were impressed by the strong family connection and the share-ability of the siblings’ idea.
Shea said: “To win was very special, because this went beyond other competitions which have the liquid as the focal point, allowing us to focus on the experience. Glenfiddich have really started a new dialogue and platform for bartenders to extend their creative abilities beyond the realm of ingredient pairings and brand knowledge.”
Glenfiddich’s UK Ambassador and judge, Mark Thomson said: “For me, this competition allows us to creatively engage with the on-trade in a new and exciting way, whilst still keeping our maverick brand values at the forefront.”
Finalists will take part in the Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy in November at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland. The winners from UK, USA, Germany, Columbia, SA, UAE, Switzerland, India, and Australia will come together for the four day Academy where they will be tasked with hands on experiences at every stage of the whisky making process. On the fourth and final day they will present their idea to the global judges. The winning collaboration will see their idea become reality, supported by Glenfiddich.