A World Class Partnership

Hot off another Top 5 win for Canada, the competition teams up with Vancouver Cocktail Week

Previous World Class Canada winners congratulate Massimo Zitti (centre, in the purple shirt), the latest national Bartender of the Year, who placed fifth at the global final. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

Last month, at the global finals of the Diageo World Class competition in Sydney, Australia, all eyes were on Toronto’s Massimo Zitti. The action was riveting. 

“Because it was Canada competing, everyone wanted to watch. The crowd around Massimo was bigger than anyone else’s,” says Michael Armistead, who oversees the Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition as National On-premise, Reserve and Sponsorship Manager. 

And now, for the first time, Vancouverites and visitors will be able to share in the World Class excitement, too. 

“We are very proud to partner with Vancouver Cocktail Week as the platinum sponsor,” Armistead says. “We are thrilled to be part of the media launch event in November, and to present the World Class Canada national final 2023 in Vancouver, March 5 to 11.”

In March, national finalists from across the country—as well as previous national and global winners and international guest judges—will arrive during Vancouver Cocktail Week for a series of challenges, seminars, pop-ups and guest shifts, culminating in the announcement of the World Class Canada Bartender of the Year 2023 at the closing gala on March 11.

It will also be a fitting celebration of Canada’s 10th anniversary in the Diageo World Class program.

Since this country began participating in the world’s biggest and most prestigious cocktail competition in 2013, our bartenders have placed in the top 12 almost every year and twice taken home the global title—surpassing 10,000 participants from 50-plus countries to do so. (Vancouver’s Kaitlyn Stewart was named World’s Best Bartender in 2017 and Edmonton’s James Grant in 2021.)

In 2023, for World Class Canada’s 10th year, Armistead says, “We’ll be visiting more cities than ever before. We’ll be hosting World Class Hangouts including guest shift pop-ups in cities across the country. Our first event will be Nov. 2 in Toronto. Then we’ll be very excited to be in Vancouver on the 8th and 9th for the media launch of Vancouver Cocktail Week, and Victoria on Nov. 10.”

Among the attendees will almost certainly be Zitti, Canada’s Bartender of the Year 2022—who placed in the top five worldwide in Sydney. (In first place was Adrián Michalcˇík of Norway, followed by bartenders from Australia, Poland and Finland.) “We’re incredibly proud of Massimo and he has continued the Canadian tradition of doing terrifically well at the global final. Placing fifth overall is incredible,” Armistead says. 

And who knows—the partnership with Vancouver Cocktail Week may even be a not-so-dry run for Armistead to fulfill his dream of hosting a global final right here in Canada.

“I am very excited for the 2023 competition in Vancouver,” he says. “We’re looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and making some new friends.”

It’s easier than ever to enter the competition this year—all it takes is an original cocktail recipe. Applications to compete in World Class Canada 2023 open on Nov. 30 and close Jan. 17 at diageoworldclasscanada.com.

Diageo World Class Canada,

You may also like