Diageo Names Canadian Bartender of the Year


TORONTO — The WORLD CLASS CANADA National Finals, which took place last week in Toronto, saw James Grant named Bartender of the Year 2021.

The competition showcased 11 top bartenders from across the country competing for the opportunity to represent Canada at the WORLD CLASS Global Finals in Madrid, Spain later this year. All candidates were judged on their bartending and hosting techniques by previous WORLD CLASS CANADA winners, including Jeff Savage, Chris Enns, Kaitlyn Stewart, Shane Mulvany and Grant Sceney, as well as Lauren Mote, Diageo Reserve and WORLD CLASS Global Cocktailian; David Ríos, 2013 WORLD CLASS Global Bartender of the Year; Dan Morrow, SVP, Food and Beverage, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE); and Rebecca Felgate, Toronto-based digital content creator.

All participants, judges and organizers adhered to local government requirements as well as additional guidelines to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for everyone involved.  

Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Grant is currently a bartender at Little Hong Kong in Edmonton. As this year’s winner, Grant and the runner-up of the WORLD CLASS CANADA National Finals will attend an educational trip to Edinburgh, Scotland.

Grant will also compete against top bartenders from across the globe in July at the WORLD CLASS Global Finals in Madrid, contending for the title of WORLD CLASS Global Bartender of the Year 2021.

“Winning World Class Canada Bartender of the Year is an honour to represent the Canadian bartending community and compete on the global stage,” says Grant. “It’s been an incredible five-year journey and I can’t wait to showcase my passion and creativity at the Global Finals this summer.”

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