Bartender of the Year 2021 James Grant faces the future

Diageo World Class excited to support the bartending comeback

Diageo World Class Global Bartender of the Year James Grant gets a lift from previous winners of the World Class Canada title. Photos courtesy of World Class Canada

It took James Grant only a decade to go from bartending “to pay the bills” to becoming the Diageo World Class Global Bartender of 2021—a title that recognizes him as the world’s best bartender.

“It’s pretty wild. It’s finally started to sink in,” says the bar manager of Edmonton’s Little Hong Kong. “I’m very humbled and grateful to have done OK representing the Canadian bartending community on the world stage.”

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Canada’s James Grant named Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year

Edmonton’s James Grant is 2021 World Class Bartender of the Year. Supplied photo

For the second time in only four years, a Canadian bartender has taken home the title of World Class Bartender of the Year.

After a gruelling four-day virtual final, Edmonton’s James Grant triumphed over his colleagues from 50 countries to win the world’s biggest and most prestigious cocktail competition, Diageo World Class.

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Diageo World Class: More than a competition

How the esteemed bartending contest is shaking up the cocktail world

Competitors and previous winners celebrate at the Diageo World Class Canada final 2019 in Whistler. Leila Kwok photo

Diageo World Class is more than just the biggest, most prestigious cocktail competition on the planet. It is also a major source of education for bartenders.

“We’re really trying to play our part in driving the industry forward, focusing on educating and giving bartenders the tools they need to achieve their goals, at home and around the globe,” says Michael Armistead, who oversees the Diageo World Class Canada Bartending Competition as National On-premise, Reserve and Sponsorship Manager.

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Vancouver’s Jeff Savage among top tier at Diageo World Class

Although Singapore takes the title, Canada once again shakes up the world’s biggest cocktail competition

Jeff Savage, World Class Canada 2019 winner, was among the was among
the top bartenders at the Global Finals. Photo courtesy of Diageo World Class

Note: This is the third in an Alchemist series following Diageo World Class 2019 from planning the competition to the National Final in Whistler and through to the Global Final in Scotland.

He came so close. Vancouver’s Jeff Savage made it to the final eight at the Diageo World Class Final. And he won the Singleton State of Mind award. But in the end, the diminutive Bannie Kang from Singapore took home the ultimate prize.

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