United States Bartenders' Guild Announces Winners of Tales of the Cocktail® Pina Colada Competition Sponsored by BACARDI® Rums and In the Mix Magazine

First Place Judges' Choice Winner Debbi Peek of Chicago Advances to World Cocktail Competition in Warsaw, Poland

Jul 26, 2011, 11:37 ET from Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.

NEW ORLEANS, July 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --Tales of the Cocktail hosted the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG) Pina Colada Competition on July 22, 2011, in New Orleans, challenging 17 of the world's best bartenders from across the country to create an original version of a Pina Colada recipe. Sponsored by BACARDI Rums and In the Mix Magazine, the event urged participants to take their bar tools and shake up new takes on this classic drink.

(Photo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110726/NY41601 )

This storied cocktail was turned over to finalists representing their respective USBG chapters from the following locations: Austin; Chicago; Cincinnati; Connecticut; Denver; Hawaii; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; Milwaukee; New Orleans; New York; North Texas; Northern California; Philadelphia; Phoenix; and St. Louis.

Pina Colada Champion Winners:

1st Place Judges' Choice -- Debbi Peek from Chicago created the "No Passport Required"  

1st Place People's Choice -- Matt Myers from Las Vegas created the "Thai Pina Colada"  

As the first place Judges' Choice champion, Debbi Peek of Chicago received a one-of-a-kind trophy, along with a check for $1,500 and a spot at the World Cocktail Competition in Warsaw, Poland (compliments of USBG). Debbi's cocktail, "No Passport Required" was praised for its technical precision and complimentary flavors.  

The People's Choice winner, Matt Myers, Las Vegas received the majority vote of the 550 attendees at the competition and a one-of-a-kind trophy to commemorate the win. Matt's cocktail, "Thai Pina Colada," was applauded for its unique presentation -- the Thai-inspired cocktail was perfectly paired with spicy cashews to create an ultimate flavor experience.

"The goal of the USBG Pina Colada competition at Tales of the Cocktail was to inspire today's generation of bartenders to re-imagine this classic cocktail and take it forward into the second golden age of cocktails," said Ann Tuennerman, founder of Tales of the Cocktail.  "The winning cocktails had true balance and complexity of flavor and deserve their place in history along side the Original Pina Colada."

"As the largest network of professional bartenders and mixologists, the USBG was honored to work with BACARDI and In the Mix Magazine on an event that brings together the trade community and celebrates the craft of mixology," said David Nepove, president, United States Bartenders' Guild. "The bartenders invited to compete set the standard for the profession across the country and we were thrilled with enthusiasm this group showed using BACARDI rum to reinvent the Piña Colada."

"In 1862, in the city of Santiago de Cuba, Don Facundo Bacardi revolutionized the spirits industry when he created BACARDI Superior Rum," said Toby Whitmoyer, vice president and brand managing director of rums at Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.  "Since then, BACARDI has become recognized as the world's most mixable and sociable spirit, bringing people together around the best cocktails and best experiences.  The Pina Colada is a key part of that legacy and it's amazing to see these talented bartenders carry that legacy forward with their new takes of this legendary drink."

Dan Dunn, a.k.a. "The Imbiber," served as the evening's host.  The panel of judges featured some of the foremost authorities on cocktails.  Technical judges included: USBG National President David Nepove, USBG National Past President Livio Lauro, and Best Technical Performance at the National 2009 USBG Cocktail Contest winner Ronaldo Colli. Tasting judges included: USBG Vice President Aaron Gregory Smith, BACARDI Brand Master Juan Coronado, BACARDI Brand Master David Cid, BACARDI Global Brand Ambassador David Cordoba and Managing Editor of In the Mix Magazine Mike Maven.

Bartenders were judged according to the following criteria: technical skills and presentation; appearance; aroma; balance of flavors; taste; creativity; and the overall appeal of character. All participants were required to use rum as the base spirit and BACARDI Superior Rum, the original, mixable light-bodied clear rum was preferred. A preliminary group of judges, consisting of members from USBG National and Tales of the Cocktail, voted on the best qualifying round recipes for each chapter.

About Tales of the Cocktail®:

Tales of the Cocktail® is the world's premier cocktail festival, bringing together the most respected minds in mixology for five days of cocktails, cuisine and culture. Held annually in New Orleans, this event has something for cocktail professionals and amateurs alike with a spirited schedule of seminars, dinners, competitions, parties and special events where brands showcase their latest products. Now in its ninth year, Tales of the Cocktail® returns with another round of events all perfectly paired with some of the best cocktails ever made. Shake things up at Tales of the Cocktail® 2011, July 20-24.

About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society:

The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society is a non-profit organization committed to preserving the unique culture of cocktails and cuisine in New Orleans and beyond.  Since its founding in 2006 the NOCCPS has supported members of the hospitality industry through educational opportunities such as the Flo Woodward Scholarship and the Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program as well as the production of events like Tales of the Cocktail®.

About BACARDI Rums:

In 1862, BACARDI revolutionized the spirits industry when founder Don Facundo Bacardi began producing his remarkable light-bodied, smooth rum -- BACARDI, the world's favorite premium rum brand. The unique taste of BACARDI Rum inspired cocktail pioneers to invent some of the world's most famous drinks including the BACARDI Mojito, the BACARDI Daiquiri, the BACARDI Cuba Libre, the BACARDI Pina Colada and the BACARDI Presidente.  BACARDI Rum has won more than 400 awards for quality and product profile.  Today, BACARDI rum is produced in Puerto Rico, following the production legacy set forth by Don Facundo -- crafted in a five step distillation process, aged in American white oak barrels, and filtered five times for unparalleled quality and smoothness.

About Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.:

Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. is the United States import and distribution arm of one of the world's leading spirits and wine producers. The company boasts a portfolio of some of the most recognized and top-selling spirits brands in the United States including BACARDI® rum, the world's favorite and best-selling premium rum, as well as the world's most awarded rum; GREY GOOSE® vodka, the world-leader in super-premium vodka; DEWAR'S® Blended Scotch Whisky, the number-one selling blended Scotch whisky in the United States; BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® gin, the top-valued and fastest-growing premium gin  in  the world; CAZADORES® 100 percent blue agave tequila, the number-one premium tequila in Mexico and a top-selling premium tequila in the United  States; MARTINI® vermouth, the world-leader in  vermouth; and other leading and emerging brands. For additional information, visit www.bacardiusa.com.

About the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG):

With over 60 years of presence in the United States and International coverage in affiliation with the International Bartender's Association (IBA) in over 50 countries, the United States Bartenders' Guild is the largest network of Craft Bartenders & Beverage Professionals in the country and is setting the standard of which to achieve. The USBG is a non-profit organization that has expanded nationally to Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Denver, Hawaii, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York, North Texas, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and St. Louis and continues to grow.

As an industry leader, the USBG is responsible for keeping its members in line with current trends in order to maintain a competitive edge. The USBG is an association of bartenders who come together to share their common interest: the craft of mixology, and is made up of exceptional bartenders who take great pride in the cocktails they serve. www.usbg.org.  

For additional information:
Ann Tuennerman
Tales of the Cocktail
504-948-0511/ Ann@TalesoftheCocktail.com

Tori Katz, Senior Account Executive
212-246-3586 / Tori@corbinpr.com

Joe Gerbino, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications & Public Relations
Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.
786-264-8421 / jgerbino@bacardi.com




SOURCE Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.