Regional Semifinalists Chosen for Heaven Hill Brands, 2019 “Bartender of the Year”

December 13, 2018

FOR RELEASE: For Immediate Release

BARDSTOWN, KY – Heaven Hill Brands and announced today the 48 regional semifinalists competing in the 2019 Bartender of the Year competition. Semifinalists will compete in San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Nashville, Los Angeles, Austin, New York City, and Miami from January 2019 through April 2019.

More than 1,100 original cocktail recipes were entered using Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, and Rittenhouse Rye Whisky, as well as new competition brands Dubonnet Rouge Aperitif, Sacred Bond Brandy, and Lunazul Tequila. Entries were submitted online nationwide beginning September 15, 2018. Preliminary entries required two original cocktail recipes, one rendition of a classic recipe, and one relating to an inspiration, along with a short description of how the cocktail represents a deep inspiration to their life.

“Over the past four years the Heaven Hill Brands Bartender of the Year competition has expanded to welcome more contestants into the family, more brands, and more innovation,” said Kate S. Latts, Heaven Hill Brands Vice President of Marketing. “As cocktail culture continues to evolve, we are seeing more regions embrace and elevate the craft, just as the regional semifinalist class of 2019 has done thus far. With this year’s lineup of semifinalists, we look forward to an exciting competition filled with passion and creativity.”

The initial field of competitors was evaluated by three esteemed judges: Heaven Hill Brands National Brand Educator Lynn House, Bar Manager of Clyde Common & Pépé Le Moko Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and Owner/Bartender of Pouring Ribbons Joaquín Simó. The six semifinalists for each region were chosen based on highest rankings combining scores on name, appearance and presentation, balance of flavors, aroma and character, inspiration explanation, creativity, and product knowledge.

Regional semifinalists, listed below, will be challenged on their full range of skills as hospitality professionals. Judges will be looking for the ultimate bartender who displays the total breadth and aptitude all bartenders aspire to embody. The top contestant from each region will go on to vie for the title of Bartender of the Year and $15,000 at Half Mile Farm in Highlands, North Carolina from June 17-20, 2019.

Grounded in the original Bartender of the Year Competition hosted by Domaine de Canton starting in 2009, Heaven Hill Brands resurrected the competition due to strong demand from bartenders worldwide. Harrison Ginsberg of The Dead Rabbit in New York City is the 2018 Bartender of the Year and will return as a guest judge for the finals. Ginsberg joined an impressive rank of past champions, including Nathan O’Neill from the Nomad Bar in New York City who was named Bartender of the Year in 2017, and Abigail Gullo of Compere Lapin in New Orleans who won the inaugural competition in 2016. Visit the official competition website at for complete competition details.

Los Angeles, January 14
First Last Account
Adam George Fournier NoMad LA
Robin Wolf The Hatch Rotisserie & Bar
Raul Pool Mi Corazón
Vay Su Republique
Brock Woolsey Playground
Mink Dang The Chestnut Club
Miami, February 11
First Last Account
Arthur Boothe Bitters & Brass
Peter Hannah Rose & Crown
Daniel Messina Robinson Cocktail Room
Claire Catotti Alley Twenty Six
Kabir Akbani Zuma
Shawn Newman Prato
Nashville, February 18
First Last Account
Kevin King Husk Savannah
Trip Sandifer The Painted Duck
Matt Scott The White Bull
Hunter Douglas Hank’s Cocktail Bar
Hunter Johnson Lucky
Alexandra Anderson The Lawrence
Austin, March 4
First Last Account
David Jennings B&B Butcher’s and Steakhouse
Justin Ware Johnny’s Gold Brick
Cesar Perez II Murray’s
Cory Newsom Tipsy Umbrella
Michelle Salgado Murray’s
Alexis Mijares Fairmont Austin
Chicago, March 11
First Last Account
Rachel Sandra Johnson Raised
Katie Renshaw Etta
Sarah Syman The Drifter
Daniel Reinisch Grey Ghost Detroit
Jacob Feitler The Sugar House
Roger James Fruin The Peterboro
Denver, March 25
First Last Account
Alex Jump Death & Co Denver
Adam Chase Corvino Supper Club and Tasting
Mark Stanford Truffle Pig Restaurant / Carl’s Tavern
Chris Burmeister Citizen Rail
Keifer Gilbert Bitter & Twisted
Brock Schulte The Monarch Bar
New York, April 1
First Last Account
Will Benedetto The Wilson
Andon Whitehorn The Arcadian
Michael Parish Broken Shaker
Christina Mercado Grace Vanderbilt
C. Parker Luthman The Eddy
Faith Alice Sleeper The Passenger
San Francisco, April 15
First Last Account
Jason Seele Nick’s Next Door
Thi Nguyen The Saap Avenue
Alicia Walton The Sea Star
Alison Kwan True Laurel
Gwendolen Whiting Manifest
Katharine Frazier The Gerald

About Heaven Hill Brands 
Founded in 1935, Bardstown, KY-based Heaven Hill Brands ( is the nation’s largest independent, family-owned and operated spirits producer and marketer and the world’s second-largest holder of Kentucky Bourbon. Heaven Hill’s diversified portfolio of brands includes Evan Williams Bourbon; Larceny, Elijah Craig and Henry McKenna Bourbons; Rittenhouse Rye Whisky; Burnett’s Vodkas and Gin; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; HPNOTIQ Liqueur; The Christian Brothers Brandies; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur; Lunazul Tequila and Carolan’s Irish Cream Liqueur.

Heaven Hill reminds you to “Think Wisely. Drink Wisely.” 

Lauren Cherry
Heaven Hill Brands
(502) 413-0217
[email protected]

Enjoy Like a True Kentuckian: Responsibly