NEW YORK, March 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Stoli® Vodka, in partnership with the Key West Business Guild, today announced the return of the world's largest annual LGBTQ bartender competition, the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic. This year's competition, which stops in 14 cities across America, kicks off on Wednesday, March 6, in Dallas, and will culminate with a grand finale in Key West, FL from June 4 – June 10. Stoli fans can attend the events, all of which are free to the public, by registering at https://www.facebook.com/StoliKeyWest/. On-site, attendees will be able to text to vote for their favorite bartender once all presentations are final.
The theme for this year's Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic is "Visibility: Making It Loud and Clear," attaching to the new Stoli brand campaign. Not only will participants be judged on their Stoli-based cocktails, each bartender must also use an element of their presentation to represent a person/place/film/song/movement that brought a new spotlight to something in the community that was previously unseen. Judges will also factor in bartenders' creativity and knowledge. Fourteen finalists, one crowned in each city, will then win a seven-day, all-inclusive trip to represent their city at the grand finale in Key West. The finale is expected to be attended by numerous celebrity guests and judges, including actor and musician Jai Rodriguez, dance diva Debby Holiday, American Idol's Latoya London, New Year's Eve "High Heel Drop" star Sushi and Real Housewives of Dallas star LeeAnne Locken.
"For six years consecutively, the Cocktail Classic has recognized bartenders and establishments that represent the legacy of gay bars as original LGBTQ community centers and safe spaces," said Patrik Gallineaux, Stoli Vodka National LGBTQ Ambassador and Manager. "Particularly as this year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising I look forward to seeing how participants integrate this year's theme of 'Visibility: Making It Loud and Clear' into their presentations. While creativity is unique and often differs by city, in the end the result is always consistent: a close-knit group of exceptional LGBTQ community bartenders who discover the biggest prize is the inspirational week in Key West and the new friends they have made for life."
The 2019 Stoli Key West Cocktail Champion will serve as the 2019 Key West Pride Parade Honorary Grand Marshal. The winner will also receive $10,000 for the hometown charity of their choice and an additional $5,000 for a local Key West charity. Second place nets $5,000 to a hometown nonprofit and to one based in Key West. Upon returning home, the 2019 champion will be honored with a special celebration and check presentation at their local bar or club, followed by a three-day trip for two to either Vancouver Pride 2019, San Diego Pride 2019 or another Stoli Vodka event of their choosing. Last year's champion, Jo McDaniel from Washington, D.C., won $5,000 for AIDS Help of Monroe County and $10,000 for Casa Ruby, a bilingual and multicultural organization providing social services and programs for the LGBTQ community in the D.C. Metro area.
Alan Beaubien, President of the Board of the Key West Business Guild, added, "The city of Key West and the Business Guild is proud to again welcome Stoli and competitors from across the country at the Key West Cocktail Classic, hosted during our Pride Week celebration. Each year, the event draws thousands of fans who show support for the bartenders and come together to champion the community. We feel the positive impact of the Cocktail Classic for much more than a week though, as it gives back in a meaningful fashion to charitable causes throughout Key West."
For more information about the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic including how to apply, rules, guidelines, and 2018 and 2019 winning cocktail recipes, visit https://www.facebook.com/StoliKeyWest/ and follow along on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #loudandclear and #stolipride.
About Stoli® Group
Part of SPI Group - one of the world's leading premium spirits businesses - Stoli® Group was established in 2013 as the division responsible for the management, distribution and marketing of SPI's global spirits portfolio.
Stolichnaya, Stoli, the bottle shape, the label/s are trademarks, depending of the country, of ZHS IP Americas Sàrl, ZHS IP Europe Sàrl or ZHS IP Worldwide Sàrl.
About Key West Business Guild
The mission of the Key West Business Guild is to promote LGBT travel to Key West through marketing and the promotion of specialty events; to support gay-owned, gay-managed, and gay-friendly businesses; to strengthen the Gay community's position within the local community by supporting relevant LGBT issues. The KWBG was founded in 1978 by 8 local gay business owners and has grown to approximately 400 members, which work together to continue efforts to brighten the rainbow over the island, an island now known as Gay Key West. Promotion of events, such as Key West Pride, Tropical Heat and Womenfest, has made Key West a year-round LGBT travel destination. For more information visit www.kwbgonline.org.
SOURCE Stoli Group