Bacardi Legacy Finalist Named Australia’s Best Bartender

September 16, 2015
By Alana House
This week, the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) handed out the 2015 National Awards for Excellence to members of the hospitality and accommodation industry.

Atop a glow of highlights was the induction of New South Wales hotel industry stalwart, Bevan Douglas, into the Johnnie Walker Hall of Fame.

The induction recognised Mr. Douglas and his family’s contribution to the city of Tamworth. Over the last 25 years in particular, Mr. Douglas has played a significant role in championing hoteliers’ rights, while his family has made generous social and economic contributions to the city.

As the awards continued, Overall Hotel of the Year (metropolitan) was presented to The Oaks in Neutral Bay, NSW, while the award at regional level went to The Grandview Hotel in the coastal town of Bowen, QLD.

The Stirling Hotel in Adelaide was crowned Best Restaurant (metropolitan), as Best Restaurant (regional) went to Frogmore Creek in Tasmania.

Another win for the industry in Tasmania – Saffire, located in Coles Bay, won Best Deluxe Accommodation, while over in Western Australia, Berkeley River Lodge in the Kimberley’s received Overall Hotel of the Year (accommodation division).

In total, Western Australia took away five of the awards’ top accolades, including Australia’s Best Bartender, which went to current BACARDÍ Legacy national finalist, Andrew Bennett at The Classroom in North Perth.

“It would seem to be the case that when it rains, it pours”, Andrew said commenting on his recent awards. “I am absolutely humbled, surprised and elated to have received this award.”

“I’d like to think that the award is a recognition of my dedication to the industry. There are tens of thousands of bartenders out there who can make a great drink and entertain, but hopefully it’s my level of service to the industry and dedication to making it a career that’s been recognised through this award. I’m truly honoured.”

Unique to most, Andrew is a fourth generation bartender, following in the footsteps of his grandparents and parents, who too all owned bars of their own. Stepping outside of a usual bartender’s role and working with the wider community, Andrew has recently been working with the AHA and his partner to develop a new training program that will influence the next generation of bartenders to come.

Andrew now prepares for a busy period of activity spreading the word of his drink, ‘The Seventh Art’ around the country as part of the Legacy competition, and while for now the news is largely under wraps, Andrew did reveal that he’s also currently working on creating what he hopes will be one of the most sophisticated beer programs Australia has ever scene – watch this space.

Other awards won in WA included Australia’s Best Redeveloped Hotel (The Cottesloe Beach Hotel), Australia’s Best Resort-Style Accommodation (Crown Metropol Perth) and Australia’s Best Metropolitan Bar Presentation and Service (Matisse Beach Club Scarborough).

AHA(WA) CEO, Bradley Woods was incredibly pleased with the result.

“This is the second year in a row that a Western Australian Accommodation Hotel has been voted the nation’s best – a trend we certainly expect to continue”, Mr. Woods said. “People are investing in Perth and regional WA, and they are being recognised for their hard work and effort.”

“We keep telling people that Western Australia’s tourism and hospitality offering is amongst the best in Australia. These awards are testament to that and there is certainly more to come for the foreseeable future.”

In other states, Jamala Wildlife Lodge in the ACT was rewarded for its effort in tourism promotion, while Best Pub Style (accommodation) went to Flinders Hotel in the small town of Flinders in regional Victoria.

In addition, both Chase Kojima from The Star in Sydney and Lee Kwicz from Lilianfels Resort & Spa, Darley’s were awarded Overall Chef of the Year and Andrew El-Bayeh from ivy in Sydney and Ana Pereira from The Westin Sydney were named this year’s Hotel Industry Rising Star Winners.
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