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Altos reveals winners of first ‘sustainability competition’

Published:  20 November, 2018

Canada has been crowned the winner of Altos Tequila’s first bartender competition based on innovation in sustainability.

Beating 14 countries, including England, to claim the $50,000 prize, Canada was represented by Alex Black and Mackenzie Chilton, who were awarded the grand to help bring their ‘Mind The Bar’ concept to life, which is aimed at facilitating better mental health care in the duo’s native Vancouver and beyond.

This year’s competition marked the next phase of the Pernod Ricard brand’s educational Tequila programme – The Tahona Society Collective Spirit, and replaced seven years of the annual Tahona Cocktail Competition.

Unveiled in July this year the overhauled competition was introduced to challenge bartenders across the globe to come up with a new sustainable initiative, event or project that benefits bar staff, customers, the community or the environment.

It was relaunched in response to a growing consumer appetite for “cleaner, greener” bar practices and leading bartenders’ vision to give back to the community, said House of Tequila – Pernod Ricard’s tequila arm.

In support of Altos Tequila’s core sustainability values, mixologists around the world were invited to submit a project under one of five Collective Spirit categories: Bartender Welfare (improving the working life and health of hospitality employees), Social engagement (improving lives in the local community around their bar), Upcycling & Recycling (getting creative to avoid anything being thrown away), Waste Reduction (trying to reduce consumption of energy and precious resources) and Sustaining the Environment (protecting animals and cultivating crops sustainably).

As part of the competition, finalists were treated to a week of specialised Tequila training and hands-on workshops with business, marketing and start-up experts on hand to advise on how to prepare the perfect pitch.

In addition to the $50,000 grand, the winning duo will continue to receive mentoring from The Tahona Society to help make their project a success, while also being welcomed as global ambassadors for The Tahona Society with the opportunity to host Tequila educational programmes for fellow bartenders around the world in the coming year.

The event also saw the launch of the Henry Besant Scholarship - named after the late Altos Tequila co-founder, a $10,000 lump sum awarded to a rising bartender to fund a technical course for their career advancement.

This was awarded to Mexican bartender Adrian Lopez, who works three jobs to support his family. The grand will enable Lopez to further his career by learning English and to fulfil his ambition to go to London to study and work as a bartender there.