The fifth annual SA Bartending Accolades & Recognition (BAR) Awards honoured the fallen and surviving heroes of the local South Africa bar industry last night, just as the country emerges from lockdown and bars start reopening this month. The SA BAR Awards was held as an online event this year, with nominees and their fans experiencing the event programme through regional watch parties that brought reflection on a tough year and celebration of the exceptional talent that exists in the local drinks industry.
Votes by a judging panel of experts resulted in a shortlist of four nominees for each category, with the ultimate winners announced on the night. The winners are:
“The calibre of nominees this year shows the depth of talent, creativity and diversity in the South African scene,” says Travis Kuhn, director of the BAR Awards. Kuhn manages the awards alongside event industry stalwarts, Ophelia Ross-Simms, Howard Ross-Simms and Leigh Kuhn.
International greats also shared words of inspiration. Global rum ambassador Ian Burrell said it was time for bartending to be viewed as a serious career and this could be achieved through training and career mentorship. Four-time world champion bartender and international trainer Marek Posluszny assured the nominees that bartending was a profession that offered great global career opportunities.
Tom Dyer, director of the World Flair Association and multiple international award-winner, left the local industry with these words: “Comfort is the killer of creativity and perhaps we’ve all been a bit too comfortable. Now we must build new opportunities through creativity.”