With the deadline to enter Bacardi Legacy coming up on Sunday we thought we’d find out if it is worth all the effort.
There is no doubt that Bacardi Legacy is one of the most intense competitions in the world with the 3 Most Promising competing against each other for months. It takes a lot of time, dedication and support to be involved in Legacy, which raises the question of whether it’s worth it?
We had a chat with some of the 2015 global finalists who have a been through it all to get their thoughts on the competition, what is has done for them and any advice they have to those entering now.
Of course we included the UK’s winner and all round nice guy Ally Martin, alongside him we have the overall winner Franck Dedieu from France, Peter ‘Sugarman’ Chua who sings as well as he makes cocktails in Singapore, expat Eric Ballard who is currently based out in Dubai and the man who touched everyone’s hearts out in Sydney Karim Mehdi from Ireland.
BarLifeUK: What makes Bacardi Legacy so special for you?
Franck Dedieu: Bacardi Legacy is a great competition because it offers you the opportunity to be part of this beautiful family, to make your own legacy timeless and your cocktail known around the world.
Ally Martin: The travel. I went to some pretty amazing places, Moscow, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Miami, Puerto Rico, Sydney and New Orleans. To do all that off the back of a cocktail competition was pretty epic.
Karim Mehdi: I got to meet incredible individuals, learned a lot about myself as a bartender but also as a person and Bacardi looked after us so well I came back with nothing but great memories and experiences.
Eric Ballard: Bacardi Legacy was an amazing competition for me because it brought me out of my shell and gave me a platform to get out and meet new people in Dubai and around the world. The Bacardi family was extremely supportive through this and taught me more about myself in four months than I could have ever imagined. And, they look after their own at Bacardi.
Peter Chua: Bacardi Legacy is awesome due to its focus on not only making a bartending think further about his career and cocktails via creating his or her own legacy, but also having a strong emphasis in creating an international family. You hear the words “la familia” being used through the entire campaign, and personally, I think that is the greatest success of the Bacardi Legacy competition.
BLUK: What was the best thing about your Bacardi Legacy adventure?
FD: The best thing about my Legacy is definitely the amazing journey I’m living since I enter the competition. The travel and meeting so many amazing people really changed my life .
KM: So many amazing things happened during my experience but if I have to pick one the best thing about my legacy experience was the reactions I got from the audience during and after my semi final presentation. It is hard to explain the feelings without using strong clichéd words like love and the genuine appreciation for my story. I remember the first time I read your article about my presentation it was surreal.
EB: Definitely all of the travel… Cyprus, Bahrain, New York, New Orleans, London and Sydney just to name a few this year… And many more destinations to come during Legacy 2016!
PC: There isn’t a single “best thing” rather, a collection of amazing moments, memories and experiences! For me, that consists of having to use the marketing muscle in promoting my legacy of the Sugarman, meeting and learning from the amazing talents all over the world and most importantly, forming a meaningful and genuinely bond with the other bartenders I now call my family.
BLUK: How has Legacy helped your career?
FD: It help my career because I meet so many amazing people and it gave me a lot of opportunities. It really made me grow, took me up as a bartender and as a man.
AM: The competition puts you in the spotlight. It raises your profile and gives you opportunities that you never thought you’d get. It’s made me more confident in my own abilities, in speaking in public and has shown me just how important social media is. KM: Not much has changed career wise I’m still working in the same bar however I feel a lot of respect and pride from bartenders around Ireland (I hope that’s what it is and not my ego talking) still waiting for the right opportunity you can never what tomorrow may have in store for you.
EB: The networking that the Legacy platform creates has opened up the world for me. I am stoked to have brothers and sisters all over that I can call on for advice, and potentially work with in the future. As an expat, this is massively important because now I have many contacts in the future markets I’m interested in such as London and Melbourne amongst many others.
PC: Needless to say, with the exposure generated via my own campaign and with the help of our local Bacardi representatives, I have been granted more opportunities. Whether it is for an international event, a guest shift somewhere globally, more imbibers requesting the Sugarman at my bar or their own and these opportunities continue to grow everyday.
BLUK: Why should bartenders enter the competition?
FD: People should enter the competition because it is a real life changing experience. It takes your career to another level.
AM: There’s moments in the competition where it gets incredibly tough. But when you stand there at the end of those six months and you look back at everything you’ve achieved it’s worth every single hour of lost sleep.
KM: People should enter the competition because it is a life changing experience, you get the chance to showcase who you are on national and global stage, you meet a lot of people from different backgrounds and learn so much about them and yourself you will feel like being part of a family. The list goes on, everyone will experience it differently but the only constant is that it will definitely be amazing thanks to the all effort Bacardi put in to make this competition like no other.
EB: Everyone wins in this competition in their own way. Franck won the trophy and this incredible adventure he’s on is without a doubt life changing, but you don’t have to win the Global Finals to get what you want out of this competition. The examples of competitors that have gotten opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise are endless.
PC: By competing in a global competition, you always come out a winner no matter what. That is due to the experience you will have, what you will learn from others and about yourself, the new family you will make and the opportunity that comes after. It is also a good motivation for a young bartender to see how many passionate and talented individuals there are out there that are striving for the same cause as you.
BLUK: Do you have any advice for bartenders looking to get involved?
FD: The Legacy is something authentic ,and a long journey do it with heart and passion
AM: Be brave, be innovative, take inspiration from something real that genuinely means something to you, don’t just make another twist on a daiquiri. Oh and be prepared to work harder than you ever thought possible.
KM: My advice for bartenders looking to get involved is keep it simple, keep it current and make sure you can relate to your cocktail on a personal level as it will be easier to promote it and to talk about it from your heart. I believe that sincerity is key to go far in this competition.
EB: Quite simply, just go for it! There are some amazing people with amazing stories out there that deserve to be heard, but never are. It may be intimidating but enter your best cocktail/inspiration and see how you go. Then ask someone that knows you and this competition for specific advice. Oh, and take copious notes, you never know what may be relevant later on in the competition, or even after when Simon asks you questions for BarLifeUK.
PC: Work hard, be positive, stay humble, always keep an open and learning mind but remember to have fun as well!
If that bunch can’t give you the inspiration to get involved in this years Bacardi Legacy competition then no-one can. So if you want to find yourself on the global stage next year representing the UK at the final then you have until Sunday 6th to get involved (for anyone reading this from outside the UK please check your own page for your deadlines).
Visit www.bacardilegacy.com and read up on the history of the comp, and find out about your local Legacy workshop.