Earlier this month in Cape Town, the top 10 national finalists from around South Africa fought it out for the title of National Heineken Bartending Champion.
No your eyes are not deceiving you, this was indeed a bartending competition all about pouring beer, and unsurprisingly, Diageo pulled it off with flair and aplomb.
After months of local competitions in cities around SA, 10 bartenders were selected for the Cape Town showpiece. Two by two, they were called up on stage to perform the five stages of the perfect Heineken pour (called the Star Serve), namely:
- The rinse
- The pour
- The check
- The skim
- The serve
The bartenders were judged on how well they performed the above stages. One of the key indicators of how well a pour was executed was the size of the head; the bottom of the foam line should sit on the 'shoulders' of the Heineken Star branded on the glass (see below).
After wittling the field down to 4 semi-finalists and then 2 finalists, Trace van der Merwe from Umhlanga Durban came out top, and will now join national winners from 19 other countries in Heineken's global markets such as Netherlands, Ireland and USA, in a nerve-racking battle of skills. They will vie for the title of the world's best Heineken bartender at the Global Bartender Final in Amsterdam in April.
"As the world's number one international premium beer, Heineken goes to great lengths to ensure our draught beer is of the perfect quality. The Heineken Global Bartender search is a key element of the Heineken Star Serve programme where we put quality, hospitality and industry professionals and trade partners firmly in the spotlight," says panelist Tjeerd Veldhuis (Marketing Manager, Heineken South Africa).
"Everyone's asking me to teach them the perfect pour!" says Trace van der Merwe from Umhlanga, Durban. "I've also never had the opportunity to travel before, so being given the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam, the home of Heineken, is a great experience and I'm very grateful to be a part of it."