Monkey Shoulder launches ‘epic’ Ultimate Bartender Championship

Grant Neave

The third Ultimate Bartender Championship has been launched for Monkey Shoulder whisky, with finalists set to battle it out in New Orleans for the prize of a London Cocktail Week pop-up.

The brand’s team will be touring the UK calling for bartenders to “rip up the rulebook” and “show off their skills that pay the bills”.

For 2016, the championship will have more regional heats than before and, for the first time, will see the five top-scoring bartenders taken to the competition’s final at the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans in July.

The grand prize will again be a fully stocked week-long pop-up at London Cocktail Week in October including the takings.

Last year, over 150 bartenders from all over the country took part in the championship, with The Dead Parrot team from Horsham in West Sussex walking away with nearly £13,000 in takings at their London Cocktail Week bar.

This year, bartenders will not be required to sign up in a team as each contestant will compete as an individual throughout the entire competition. Both professionals and amateurs are eligible to enter, with the only requirements being a love of bartending, a passion for creating great drinks, and a minimum age of 18.

Throughout April and May, the Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Championship (UBC) tour bus will rock up in towns and cities across the UK, starting with the first heat in Aberdeen on April 17.

Challenges include rounds on knowledge, mixing, pouring, and nosing as well as back-of-house organisational skills such as stock take. Testing on tray service and round building will also be included as part of the regional heats.

To raise the stakes, all entrants will be scored and ranked on a leaderboard hosted online for all to see. As well as a UK leaderboard, there will be another combining them with bartenders in Ultimate Bartender Championships in other countries.

Monkey Shoulder brand “am-badass-ador” Grant Neave (pictured) said: “This year’s UBC is going to be epic! We’ve made it easier than ever to sign up, and we’re running even more heats than last year so that more people will have a chance to compete.

“Think of it as a mash-up of Tough Mudder, Britain’s Got Talent, The Apprentice and Eurovision for the bartending community – but much more fun and rewarding of course.

“It really supports and nurtures the next generation of bartenders so we encourage anyone who loves bartending to enter, either to springboard a burgeoning career in the industry or as a platform for showcasing already awesome bar skills.”

Register now as a contestant or a spectator for Monkey Shoulder’s Ultimate Bartender Championship at

Click here to watch the Ultimate Bartender Championship teaser video.

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