USBG Presents World Class Sponsored By Diageo Goes Virtual in 2021

The United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) World Class sponsored by Diageo is launching the first-ever entirely digital version of the US bartending competition and education platform. From March 29th through April 6th, the top US 50 regional competitors will virtually stream as they shake and stir through the competition while navigating this year’s four unique challenges for the chance to represent the US at the Global Finals, taking place later in the year in Madrid, Spain.
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As a world leader in trade education and competition, the virtual broadcast will feature five days of exciting events, trend-led education, amazing panels and fierce competition. With the new-to-world digital platform, this is the first time that anyone (must be 21+) can take a front row seat and experience what it means to be World Class. The entire week has been adapted to the realities of today’s climate. Competitors will create their cocktails virtually, while the judges follow along from home with a custom batched version of the cocktail they’re watching being created live on their screen. You can register now at

Challenges Include:

  • Underground Agriculture: Back to My Roots Challenge: Sharing a personal story through cocktail artistry that connects bartenders to the audience and their roots. This challenge will test both bartender and storytelling skills.
  • Batched and Ready To-Go Challenge: Competitors will create and demonstrate a recipe that can be produced consistently, batched, and safely transported for at-home enjoyment.
  • Menu Challenge: The top 10 finalists will create a menu of seven cocktails for a specific bar or restaurant concept. Each competitor will collaborate with a graphic designer to bring their menu to life and will describe their menu strategy to the judges.
  • Speed Round: The top 5 finalists will compete in one final challenge as they race the clock while preparing classic cocktails using the Diageo Reserve Portfolio.

“The decision to move forward with the competition wasn’t made lightly. This last year has been challenging to say the least and has made monumental changes in our industry,” shares USBG Director Aaron Gregory Smith, “Diageo has generously donated $2,000,000 to the USBG Foundation’s COVID-19 relief efforts in the past 12 months, helping us to provide emergency assistance to over 32,000 bartenders across the US. Bringing back the World Class Competition in this virtual world is something that the competitors enthusiastically supported, as it not only instills optimism for the future, but provides current and relevant training and mentorship necessary for today’s hospitality professionals.”

“It’s more important than ever for us to support and champion bartenders and everyone in the hospitality industry. The competitors that missed out last year are now back and even more excited for 2021, and we have the most amazing team behind the scenes making it all possible,” shares Cassandra Ericson, Manager of On Premise at Diageo North America. “Education is the backbone of the competition, and going virtual has brought new opportunities including our new mentorship program where each competitor is matched up with an industry veteran, and World Class Studios are live on Diageo Bar Academy 24/7. There is a plethora of online resources available to the trade community so we’re looking forward to a truly immersive week and beyond.”

Experience the 2021 World Class Studios, the online training platform designed for experienced bartenders to explore new articles and videos on Diageo Bar Academy, watch expert panels and more from some of the top experts in the industry.