Diageo to take off again with BA for World Class

BA Hong KongDiageo Reserve Brands is building on its partnership with British Airways by holding the UK final of its World Class Bartender of the Year competition on a flight to Hong Kong.

Four finalists from the UK’s leading bars will compete mid-air in one of the airline’s new A380s in May this year after being selected from the winners of heats around the UK.

Diageo formed a partnership with BA last year when the remaining four of the 10 finalists competed in a challenge on board a BA flight to New York City for the UK final of World Class 2013.

For 2014, the partnership also sees last year’s UK winner Gareth Evans create a pre-flight aperitif exclusively for BA First customers in the Concorde Room at London Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

The Tanqueray BA175 will be served in an elegant champagne flute with equal 25ml measures of pink grapefruit juice, apricot liqueur and Tanqueray No Ten gin, topped with champagne.

Gareth, who is group bars manager for Jason Atherton’s bars and restaurants, said: “It is an honour to have my cocktail served in this iconic destination within Heathrow.

“When people started flying many years ago it was common to enjoy cocktails on board and pre-flight. It’s great that British Airways is celebrating our current ‘golden era’ for cocktails by supporting World Class and serving world class cocktails in their Concorde Room.”

Kate Thornton, BA’s head of product and services, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Diageo Reserve World Class for the second year running. Last year’s competition was fiercely fought so we can’t wait to throw down the gauntlet again and challenge the best mixologists in the world to develop an amazing cocktail that our First class customers will love.

“They’re used to having the best of everything – be that how they fly, where they stay or what they eat and drink, so this will be a real challenge for the finalists.”

Nick Temperley, head of Diageo Reserve Brands UK, added: “We are delighted to be partnering once again with British Airways as our shared commitment to delivering luxury and unique consumer experiences underpins the World Class Bartender of the Year competition.

“We are looking forward to raising the bar even further this year in our quest to find the World Class UK Bartender of the Year, who will be representing our country in the global final, on home turf, in July.”

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