Funkin launches search for new Innovation Champion

Funkin Innovation Champion_Aiste Valiukaite

Funkin has launched its annual competition to find an “Innovation Champion” who will not only win a contract to work on product development but also a trip to Bar Convent in Berlin.

In a change to the entry format, bartenders are asked to create an original Funkin cocktail that they believe will be a top-selling cocktail in 2019. In the past, they were asked to develop an inventive new on-trade concept such as a new ingredient.

The prize is a one-year part-time contract with Funkin, worth around £6,000, plus £500 cash but, for the first time, it will also include a trip to the Bar Convent trade show in Berlin in October with the company.

The entry cocktail can be as complex or as simple as the entrant likes although it should be easy to replicate. The cocktail must feature one Funkin Pro Purée and Funkin Pro Cocktail Syrup or Funkin Pro Beetroot Shrub with at least 25ml of purée. For a list of available products, visit Bartenders will also be required to explain why they believe their cocktail will be a best-seller in 200 words or fewer.

The competition will close to entries at midnight on August 6 and finalists will be chosen to attend the final on September 11 at bartending lab Crucible in London.

They will receive a bespoke two-hour immersive flavour session with Funkin led by Crucible director Stu Bale, using the lab’s range of cutting-edge equipment. They will then go head to head for the 2018 Innovation Champion title, judged by a panel of cocktail experts, including Stu.

Funkin’s 2017 Innovation Champion, Aisté Valiukaité (pictured), said: “Being the Funkin Innovation Champion is a unique opportunity, and the expertise I am gaining is enriching my career. I am really enjoying my year with Funkin and now look forward to what lies ahead for me.

“This is an amazing, one-of-a-kind experience and I encourage fellow bartenders who feel they have innovative ideas that they’d like to share to enter.”

The winner will have the chance to work hands-on with Funkin on a part-time, freelance basis on exciting projects including product development.

Previous Funkin Innovation Champions have gone on to open consultancy firms, become brand ambassadors for leading spirits brands and also open their own bars. They include Massimo Zitti, Dan Redman-Hubley and Shea Campbell.

Funkin managing director Andrew King said: “This marks the fifth year we are holding our Innovation Champion competition and to celebrate we are offering something extra special as a prize. We are delighted to be taking the winner to this year’s Bar Convent Berlin, a key industry event and bartending experience second-to-none.

“Our innovative partner, Crucible, will provide an unforgettable learning experience for all of our finalists and we look forward to crowning this year’s winner.”

Click here for the entry form or contact your Funkin representative.

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