This week, my Facebook feed has been swamped with ‘vote for me’ requests.
The Imbibe Personality of the Year Award has certainly got people talking, and asking for votes.
Now, I don’t have a problem with this at all in principle. It’s notoriously difficult to judge industry awards in a way that people will agree with, and peer voting has been tried before.
However, it reminds me of ‘Battle of the Bands’ competitions that I entered during my abortive attempt to get famous and sleep with groupies.
Battle of the Band competitions involve sending a demo to the competition organisers, which gets put online, and the song which receives the most votes wins a recording contract.
This system is fundamentally flawed if you like good music, because it rewards popularity, not talent. A university band who could get 2,000 students to vote for them would invariably win, and invariably be shit. A great little band that no-one had heard of stood no chance, despite being fantastic at what they did.
I am not saying that the nominees for the Imbibe award are shit. Far from it, Imbibe know what they are doing and have picked great characters. It just seems like these guys get a lot of love already.
Everyone knows who they are; their very deserved reputations span the entire UK and they get a ton of coverage already. Do we really need another award that recognises individuals already recognised as being at the top of their game?
I can imagine that a young, talented bartender might look at this and think the industry is an impenetrable collective of big names who win awards because lots of people have heard of them, and will vote for them having never sipped a drop of one of their drinks.
It’s time the industry’s brands and media turned their attention to the next generation of bartenders trying to climb the ladder. We know who the big dogs are, you can change the record now.