A bartender from Aberdeen has been declared UK winner in a competition run by Glenfiddich whisky to find the world’s most experimental bartender.
Shea Campbell from Orchid joined forces with his sister Ciara, a ceramics artist, to create different vessels allowing the drinker to explore the various flavours and aromas of the whisky as well as experience the touch, weight and colour of the vessel itself.
He will join winners from the USA, Germany, Colombia, South Africa, the UAE, Switzerland, India, and Australia for the Glenfiddich Experimental Bartender Academy in November at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.
Over four days, they will be tasked with hands-on experiences at every stage of the whisky-making process. On the last day they will present their idea to the global judges, with the winning concept becoming a reality, supported by Glenfiddich.
The competition aims to recognise and reward forward-thinking bartenders who collaborate with “mavericks” outside the traditional drinks world, such as musicians, chefs and artists, to develop a unique and inventive Glenfiddich drinking experience.
The judges’ criteria are to find someone with exceptional whisky knowledge who can bring a disruptive, category-changing concept and show good commercial understanding for their idea to be replicated globally.
The judges in the UK final included leading bartender Tony Conigliaro of laboratory and consultancy The Drink Factory, Glenfiddich UK ambassador Mark Thomson, Glenfiddich’s senior brand manager Sarah Harding, and Hannah Sharman-Cox of DrinkUp London.
They were impressed by the strong family connection in Shea’s concept and the “share-ability” of the siblings’ idea. Shea is pictured left with Mark Thomson and Ciara Campbell.
Shea said: “To win was very special, because this went beyond other competitions which have the liquid as the focal point, allowing us to focus on the experience.
“Glenfiddich have really started a new dialogue and platform for bartenders to extend their creative abilities beyond the realm of ingredient pairings and brand knowledge.”
Mark added: “For me, this competition allows us to creatively engage with the on-trade in a new and exciting way, whilst still keeping our maverick brand values at the forefront.”