Queenstown bartender wins national title

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Queenstown bartender Chase Bickerton has claimed a national title at New Zealand’s biggest bartending competition.

Bickerton, from The Naughty Penguin bar in Cow Lane, won $25,000 worth of prizes at the Beam Bar Legend event last night.

He beat eight finalists from a pool of 370 entrants nationwide during the two-day competition.

“It is hard for me to describe how I feel right now,” Bickerton says. 

“All the finalists are deserving of the title and I don’t think the win has sunk in for me yet.” 

“The past two days have been fantastic and really tested all of our skills not only in terms of making drinks but we have really had to prove ourselves with our personality and knowledge of the Beam [spirits] portfolio as well,” he adds. 

Finalists had to complete six rounds including a formal interview, a blind tasting, an aperitivo challenge, a masterclass with Galliano ambassador Ago Perrone, and two cocktail invention challenges at the live final. 

Bickerton took home a prize that includes an all-expenses-paid trip to a Beam distillery of his choice – in Kentucky, Canada, the Caribbean, France or Scotland – an expense card valued at $10,000 and a $5000 party for his bar.