Heaven Hill Brands Bartender of the Year Program Launches Craft Meets Community Initiative for 2021

— May 20, 2021

New 2021 initiative focuses beyond the bar to elevate community, advocacy, and education

Heaven Hill Brands today announced the Craft Meets Community Initiative (CMCI), an extension of its Bartender of the Year program, developed to provide greater access industry-wide to education, mentorship, and leadership engagement opportunities. CMCI will replace the typical competition structure and serve as the 2021 Bartender of the Year Program. The initiative features a digital educational and support platform that will be structured through four educational tracks led by industry experts and is open to all hospitality professionals. The CMCI program will also award one individual within each track $5,000 to support a personal community-based project along with support from an industry expert as a one-on-one mentor. Registrations for all educational tracks open today at https://bartenderoftheyear.liquor.com/, with rolling deadlines over the next several months (full timeline below).

Drawing inspiration from the honest discussions and pivots made across the industry in the past year, the CMCI program will include four educational tracks focused on the following topics: education, mentorship and development; health and wellness; environmental impact and sustainability; and diversity, equity and serving the underserved. Each track will kick off with an educational seminar followed by an interactive workshop open to all registrants. Participants are also invited to apply for the optional CMCI Award Program, which will provide four individuals one-on-one mentoring from an industry expert and $5,000 to fund their community-based project rooted in one of the four educational topics. In the spirit of the craft, each CMCI submission will also include a cocktail component tied to the sponsoring brands.

“The ‘Craft Meets Community Initiative’ launched by Bartender of the Year extends our 2020 focus of support and advocacy over traditional competition. This program is designed for industry members who are passionate about hospitality and community and who are eager to learn and grow in their career,” said Hannah Venhoff, Group Product Director, Heaven Hill Brands. “Whether you’re just starting out in the industry, jumping back in, or an award-winning beverage manager, we are inviting everyone to connect, engage and inspire action, all at the level that best supports your personal journey right now.”

The four educational tracks and submission process will follow the below schedule, with registration open throughout the process:

Educational TrackDescriptionSponsoring BrandsSeminarWorkshopProject Submission Deadline
Sustainability & The Environment  This track will focus on ways that environmental degradation is a threat to individuals and communities, and how we can make choices that are beneficial to our world.Sacred Bond Brandy, Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey6/226/297/20
Education & Mentorship  This track will focus on knowledge and skills that serve and uplift individuals and communities through training and discussion around opportunities for growth and development for all bar professionals.Elijah Craig Bourbon, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur7/67/138/3
Equity & Diversity  This track will focus on celebrating diversity, ways to provide community support, and opportunities to create equal access to resources and professional development.PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur, Lunazul Tequila7/207/278/17
Health & WellnessThis track will focus on ways that our physical and mental health are of paramount importance, and how we can take action to foster healthy living both physically and mentally.Dubonnet Rouge Aperitif, Deep Eddy Vodka8/38/98/30

Heaven Hill Brands’ Bartender of the Year program has supported the growth, education and awareness of the hospitality community since 2016. The Class of 2020 Finalists received a combined $40,000 to be split between each after the competition pivoted midway through the reginal semifinals tour to a virtual format. All eight joined the ranks of esteemed past winters: Justin Ware in 2019, Harrison Ginsberg in 2018, Nathan O’Neill in 2017, and Abigail Gullo who won the inaugural competition in 2016. Visit the official competition website at http://www.bartenderoftheyear.liquor.com for complete competition details.

ABOUT HEAVEN HILL BRANDS: Founded in 1935, Bardstown, KY -based Heaven Hill Brands (www.heavenhill.com) 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, Elijah Craig, Larceny, and Henry McKenna Bourbons; Rittenhouse Rye Whisky; Deep Eddy and Burnett’s Vodkas; Admiral Nelson’s and Blackheart Rums; Black Velvet Canadian Whisky; Lunazul Tequila; The Christian Brothers Brandies; HPNOTIQ Liqueur; Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur; PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur; Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur. 



Lauren Cherry 
Heaven Hill Brands 

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