Diageo Reserve World Class 2018 Now Open For Entries 

Entry submission period: February 15th 2018 – March 30th 2018

2017 UK Champion, Jamie Jones.

2017 UK Champion, Jamie Jones. Can you fill his small but perfectly formed shoes?

The sleepy bar industry no man’s land that is January has passed, and 2018 has now kicked off with one of, if not the biggest, bartender competitions in the world.

The Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender Competition is now open for entries, and as its title suggests, World Class is more than a cocktail competition, it is a test of every facet of a bartender’s skillset. To quote Diageo, the competition will ‘test entrants’ ability, knowledge and originality whilst championing their unique proficiency and telling their own story’.

There’s no doubt World Class is a challenging competition, but the rewards for the GB winner are suitably epic, and include the opportunity to represent Great Britain at the World Class Global Finals.

The Entry Process – Closed Loop Cocktails

This year the World Class focusses on two trends: ‘Heat of the Moment’ and ‘The Resourceful Bartender’. A description of these subjects can be found at the bottom of this article, but in brief, while creating your entry, culinary science, resourcefulness, and sustainability should be in the front of your mind. The foundation of your Closed Loop Cocktail entry needs to be at least 30ml of any Diageo Reserve spirit from the World Class portfolio (full list at the end of this article).

Your cocktail recipe, along with a description of your method and thought process should be submitted to www.TheWorldClassClub.com before midnight on March 30th 2018.

The Judging Process 

Once the entry period has ended, members of the World Class team will tour the UK, visiting every entrant in their bar to experience their cocktail and service. Throughout the country, this in-bar judging process will produce a field of 30 bartenders who will progress to the semi final.

At the semi final BarLifeUK will be joined by judges from The Cocktail Lovers and Difford’s Guide, and this panel will select a field of ten finalists who will go through to the GB final, held in June 2018.

The Prize, and Onwards…

The GB winner will receive a prize package worth £15k. This alone is worth the price of admission (just time and effort, there is of course no entry fee), however the positive impact that becoming a World Class GB Champion can have on a bartender’s career is difficult to overstate. BarLifeUK has spoken to more than one World Class country winner, and the general consensus has been that the experience is life changing.

Of course the UK final is not the last stop on the World Class journey. The eventual UK champion will go on to represent Great Britain at the Global World Class finals, held later this year in Berlin. This is elite-level competition bartending, and a wonderful opportunity to display your skills while representing the UK’s cocktail industry alongside the world’s best bartenders.

The World Class GB prize package

  • Nationwide exposure and dedicated PR for the World Class GB Winner and their bar throughout the year
  • A 12-month contract worth a minimum of £5,000 to tour with the World Class team hosting workshops
  • A trip to Schiedam for a 2-day culinary experience with a mystery chef at the Ketel One Vodka Distillery
  • A 2-day Malts Advocate course in Scotland
  • The chance to be part of the World Class Bartender Exchange and travel to three European countries to guest bartend behind some of the world’s best bars
  • A £300 voucher for a personalised Cocktail Kingdom kit
  • Professional signature serve and profile photo shoot with top industry photographer
  • A trip to Berlin to represent your country in the World Class Global Finals 2018

Heat of the Moment

Heat of the Moment looks at some of the science the culinary world has been using to better understand their profession and the way they work with flavour. The greater spend-per-head and popularity that fine dining enjoys has given chefs the time and money to do extensive flavour research and experimentation, insights that can be easily and effectively transferred into the world of bartending.

The Resourceful Bartender

The Resourceful Bartender goes beneath the surface of sustainability and looks beyond ‘waste’, to examine the hundreds of ways bartenders can be smarter in their approach to the resources they use. Such efficiency can create a better bar, a better business and a better working environment. It’s also gratifying to know that the industry can play a part in creating a more sustainable future.

The World Class Spirit Portfolio

  • Ketel One Vodka (any variant)
  • Cîroc (any variant)
  • Tanqueray No. TEN
  • Jinzu
  • Don Julio
  • Zacapa 23
  • Zacapa XO
  • Bulleit
  • Talisker
  • Cardhu
  • Singleton
  • Haig Club
  • Roe & Co
  • Johnnie Walker Blue Label
  • Johnnie Walker Black Label
  • Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve
  • Johnnie Walker Blender’s Batch




Andy Ives has over 10 years hospitality publishing to his name and has written for trade magazines such as CLASS and Theme. Most recently he worked as editor of Industry magazine (the Australian version of Theme), bars editor of Australian Bartender magazine, and launched (with Simon) www.4bars.com.au, which is now Australia’s leading bar industry website.