Pro Flair Bartender Feature: Gianluigi Bosco

The new Italian on the U.S. flair scene, Gianluigi Bosco, is certainly making a name for himself this year. We sat down with Gianluigi in Las Vegas to learn more about his secret to flair success.

Newest Gig: Becoming a Flair Bartender at Rock ‘N Ritas
Selected as one of the few flair bartenders to work at Las Vegas’ newest flair bar, Rock ‘n Ritas inside Circus Circus casino, Gianluigi is excited to work full time in the U.S.

“My dad is not very happy about it, because I’ll be far away from the family. But my mother is very happy as are my brothers and sister,” he said, smiling.

When asked about making the cut after auditions, you could see the pride and excitement in his face as he described what we all know as true career success. “I was very happy,” he said. “You know, as a flair bartender, you always think, what’s my goal? This was it for me…to be able to work in the U.S. and for a bar that is going to change the scene for flair bartenders.”

Rock ‘n Ritas is scheduled to open June 2010 with some of the best flair bartenders known in the industry. To learn more or to schedule your visit, go to http://www.circuscircus.com/dining/rock-rita.aspx.

Getting Started, “Bosco” Style
Gianluigi’s story of how he got into flair bartending is a fairly typical one if judged from the average flair fan. However, the success he’s had in such a short amount of time is nothing short of spectacular.

“I started out in the service industry as a waiter in Lecco, Italy in 2002,” he said. “It was a second job, actually, that I took to earn some extra money. I saw the bartenders working and I had become a bit bored with what I was doing, so I started training to become a bartender.”

Shortly after he completed his training, an opportunity opened up in Spain for a season. However, he ended up staying for a year and a half. This was his first experience working in a flair bar. “I then took a job in a restaurant, where I became the head bartender and after a short stay there, I decided to move to another country to learn another language.”

By the way, he’s fluent in four languages.

“In 2006, I moved to Paris, a much larger city, where I learned French and met Rafael Arce (better known in the flair world as Rafa),” he said. “This is really where I started to practice properly by going to the Bar Academy every Wednesday. They open a really nice space to practice flair for anyone who’d like to come and do that.”

This is really where Gianluigi became serious about flair bartending. “I learned that I had some raw talent for flair, so I started to learn how to compete and practiced every day,” he said. “That year, I did three competitions, and although they weren’t very good, I continued to work hard and in 2007, I went to Roadhouse and made the finals for the first time.”

Since then, Gianluigi’s momentum has continued to flourish. Not only did he win the IBA World Championship, he also tacked on first place at all of the following: Warsaw Flair Challenge (Warsaw), Roadhouse UK Challenge (London), Que Pasa Flair Challenge (Chelmsford), Bols Master Battle (Berlin), Underground Flair League (Amsterdam), Elite Flair Comp (Orlando, FL), and World Online Flair Contest. At Legends XII, he took second place, just after Danilo Oribe and was honored with the FBA’s 2009 “World Traveler” award. This award was given to him for attending and competing in 35 competitions last year in 12 countries.

Now that’s a dedicated (and successful) flair bartender!

We wondered if the increase in competitions is what created some of his success. “Yeah, of course,” he admitted. “Because my biggest problem was stage presence and being in front of so many people while competing. I always felt uncomfortable. So, the amount of competitions have allowed me to get used to that and overcome that fear.”

Gianluigi is well known on the European scene, but he’s recently become more active in the U.S. We wondered if he favored one country over the other as far as competitions are concerned.

“Flair is really different in America,” he said. “The FBA Pro Tour is very good and very professional. They care about the drinks, how you make them, your show, etc. In Europe, it’s all about flair…not so much about the drinks, but I like both styles equally well. They’re just different.”

What he really likes about Europe is the variety of talent and skill across all flair bartender levels. “There’s closer skill levels in the top competitors in Europe along with a wider variety of styles and flair moves,” he said. “In the U.S., there are some well known guys, but a big gap exists between the Pro and Amateur levels..I think mainly because right now there are more flair bartenders in Europe.”

Where is Flair Headed?
It’s always important to look at the trends of any up and coming sport. Flair bartending is no exception and we were curious if Gianluigi felt the same. So we asked him where he thought flair might be going in the future.

“It’s getting really big,” he said. “In the states, it used to be very big, but last year there weren’t as many competitions. Europe hasn’t seen the recession, so last year Europe was better for competitions than here…which is why I had some doubts about moving here.”

He also mentioned one of our favorite flair media outlets, FlairLive TV. “It’s new and something good for our sport,” he said. “Finally, we have some high quality footage of the professional guys doing flair. You know, there are loads of flair videos out there, but most are not high quality. I would love to see FlairLive TV explode and give the sport the more professional look it deserves.”

We couldn’t agree more, and certainly think Oscar Perez and his team are well on their way to making this happen.

Flair is a Way of Life
Gianluigi is one of the more passionate flair bartenders we’ve met. It’s obvious that combining his talent and dedication to working hard, he’s going to go even further in 2010. “Flair has been a way of life for me for the last two years. I love the traveling and meeting new people from all over the world,” he said. “Truthfully, If it wasn’t for flair, I’d probably still be in a crappy bar in Italy. It’s added passion, it’s life for me now.”

To learn more about Gianluigi Bosco, you can visit him on his Facebook page, become a fan of his group “Flair Competition Results” or see him at the next big flair competition.

Be sure to subscribe to the Generation Flair alerts (enter your email address in the Subscription box at the top of this page) to receive our blog posts via e-mail each month.

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Legends XII: The Super Bowl of U.S. Flair Competitions

One of the best things you can do to support the flair bartending scene as a fan is to attend a flair bartending competition. This week we hopped a jet plane to Las Vegas to attend the largest U.S. flair bartending competition called Legends of Bartending. This year was its 12th year and has been described as the Super Bowl of flair bartending competitions. Therefore, we knew we’d be witnessing some of the best flair bartenders in the world competing for a $10,000 first place prize and bragging rights.

Sunday Night: Competitor Registration
The first night at a competition of this type is the beginning of it all. The Sunday night meet and greet is where all competitors (both advanced and professional levels) gather to see each other and finalize their registrations in the competition. Registration is simply the time when competitors sign their liability forms, give the organizers their music and pick up their swag bag (which normally contains a commemorative bottle, tin and bottle opener, a few t-shirts, and any other sponsor gifts).

The evening is normally open to only competitors and their guests. Sponsors are invited and there’s usually a free, open bar for all attendees. At Legends, this is also the time when the FBA announces its year-end awards from the prior year. The FBA’s 2009 awards are voted upon by the membership at large several months before Legends happens. You can see the 2009 winners by visiting the FBA’s Awards page.

LAX Nightclub - LuxorCompetitive Atmosphere
If you’ve never been to a professional flair competition, it’s a lot like a normal sporting event…only it’s held in a bar. Hundreds, sometimes thousands of fans attend. This year Legends XII took place in LAX nightclub inside the Luxor hotel & casino.

After the first night of meet and greet, it’s a full day of qualifying events. Competitors at Legends are expected to pass a Pour Round, a Speed Round and an Exhibition Flair Round. Because Legends is one of the only competitions that requires all three rounds, it is considered one of the most difficult and challenging competitions in existence today.

Spill-Stop Pour Off

Eric Parker competes with Behnam Gerami for the Spill-Stop Pour Off

Pour Round – In this round bartenders pour ten drinks as fast and as accurately as they can. Bartenders are given eight glasses and two tins. Bartenders then pour liquors only (actually they use water in all competitions) into the empty glasses. No ice or mixers are used. Bartenders must pour the proper bottles into the proper glasses with the proper amounts that follow the provided recipes. This round is worth 200 points out of their total qualifying score.

Speed Round – The speed round requires the competitor to make six drinks and open one beer as accurately and quickly as possible. The six drinks are derived from the Master Drink List which is drawn randomly by the competitor. One of the judges then announces those drinks to the competitor and officially calls “Go” to start the clock. Point deductions can happen for spills, missed or wrong ingredients, under-pours and drops or breaks. This round is worth 300 points toward their overall qualifying score.

Eric Parker in his Exhibition Round finals night.

Exhibition Flair Round – Each bartender in all divisions has four minutes to make two drinks. The first drink is made using Working Flair while the second drink showcases Exhibition Flair. Unlike the Speed Round, the competitors know the two drinks they will be making before the competition begins. This allows them to create a full routine (with music). Bartenders are judged on things like Difficulty, Flow of Routine, Creative Flair and Overall Performance. The most valuable of all three rounds, Exhibition Flair is worth 450 points toward the competitor’s overall score.

Tuesday is solely dedicated to finalist rounds. The Advanced Division this year announced five qualifiers: Santiago Gomez, Mike Mills, Ezequiel Abergo, Richard Ramirez and Kevin McCormack. The Pro Division accepted nine qualifiers: Dario Doimo, Danilo Oribe, Gianluigi Bosco, Steven Jarmuz, Behnam Gerami, Riccardo Mastromatteo, Eric Parker, Miyuki Kamimura and Nick Olliney.

These gentlemen (and lady) then competed in another day’s worth of flair to see who would win the ultimate title of Legends XII Champion and $10,000 in prize money. An additional round called Working Flair is added on finals day. This round is worth 300 points and consists of a competitor making 4-5 drinks in three minutes while being judged.

Another unique thing about Legends is the Tandem event. This is where two flair bartenders come together with a routine and are judged similarly to the other rounds. Below is the video of Colin Griffiths and Vladymyr Buryanov of “Team Bar Flies,” who took this year’s Tandem Championship title.

Commentating with Christian Delpech For Thousands of Worldwide Fans

Christian Delpech & Kacy Seitz Commentating for FlairLive TV

Christian & Kacy Commentating on FlairLive TV

The last part of finals day is considered the “big show.” This is where all finalists compete in the Exhibition Flair Round (worth 475 points) on the main stage. Generation Flair was asked to co-host FlairLive TV’s coverage of the main event with Christian Delpech, a well-known legend in this sport. Since this was our se

cond experience with FlairLive TV (first being at Quest 2009), Kacy gladly accepted the challenge once again.

As each competitor took the stage, Christian and Kacy were commentating for fans all over the world (3,500 computers logged on from over 25 different countries)! For the first time, FlairLive TV offered viewers various sponsor commercials and product plugs during the broadcast. The energy was high and the results were anxiously anticipated as each judge reviewed the overall list of finalists to determine who would be crowned Legends XII Champion.

Legends XII Results: 2010 Finalists
Flair bartending competitions like Legends not only offer the prestige and bragging rights of each flair bartender who earns his/her trophy, they also offer some amazing prize money! Below are the final results and their cash prizes won for this event.

1st: Danilo Oribe (Uruguay) – $10,000
2nd: Gianluigi Bosco (Italy) – $2,500
3rd: Dario Doimo (Italy) – $2,000
4th: Miyuki Kamimura (Japan) – $2,000
5th: Nick Olliney (USA) – $1,500
6th: Steve Jarmuz (USA) – $1,500
7th: Eric Parker (USA) – $1,500
8th: Riccardo Mastramatteo (Italy) – $1,500
9th: Behnam Gerami (USA) – $1,000

Attend Your First Competition
If you’re interested in attending a flair competition, check the Flair Bartenders’ Association or the World Flair Association to find a professional competition near you. We’ll be writing a detailed list of upcoming spring/summer competitions next week, so be sure to subscribe to GenF alerts (enter your email address in the Subscription box at the top of this page). Even if you’ve never been to a flair competition before, but you’re curious, give it a try! Everyone is welcome and it’s an opportunity for you to watch the sport as its meant to be seen: LIVE!

Mixing Flair Bartending and Social Networking

social-networkingFlair bartending is known and well represented throughout the world, however getting together usually means traveling to a competition. Depending on where you’re located, this can get expensive and time consuming. So, the one place everyone connects on a regular basis is online.

Below we outline some of the best social networking sites to interact with flair bartenders, meet other fans, watch flair videos and learn more about this exciting sport.

Cocktail Shows
Started by Levent Yilmaz in 2004, this site was originally for flair bartenders to share videos (like YouTube). This favorite bookmark has now expanded into an amazingly robust social networking site for anyone interested in flair bartending. The new and improved site offers features similar to Facebook and MySpace: status updates, top user system, groups, videos, photo albums, user profiles, private messages and more. The upgrade is still pretty new, so users are sparse at the moment. However, we fully expect this new site to grow exponentially.

Facebook
If you’re online, it’s likely you’re already a member of either Facebook, MySpace or both. However, you may not know where to find the “flair scene.” Once you find a few of the groups below you can begin to connect with each of its members individually. There are plenty more, but these are the most popular as of today…

Flair Bartending Association (FBA) – If you also visit the FBA’s official site, you can become a member (free) and visit/read the forums where thousands of bartenders communicate about competitions, events and all things flair.

World Flair Association (WFA)

International Bartender Association (IBA)

FlairLive TV – a company whose interests lie in promoting flair bartending. This company has been created by three former flair bartender world champions – Christian Delpech, Rodrigo Delpech, and Oscar Perez.

Hellenic Barmen Association (HBA) – Nonprofit union of bartenders in Greece. The Official Group of the Hellenic Barmen Association in Greece. See also the Hellenic Flair Bartender’s Association.

Competitive Bartender Federation (CBF) –  This group’s mission: To raise awareness for all competitions while trying to create and promote as many competitions as possible.

Bartenders Association of Puerto Rico (B.W.M.A.) – Official Facebook Group page of the Bartender, Waiter & Maitre’d Association Of Puerto Rico.

Mastah Dubai Bartender’s Association – The brain child of a group of influential flair bartenders within the region, Mastah aims to provide a forum of communication to the U.A.E.’s bartending community as well as training opportunity to all within the profession irrelevant of their nationality, age, gender or religious affiliation.

MySpace
The Flair (Flair Bartending and Competitions) – A Bartending Group to discuss Flair Bartending, Competition Bartending, Promote Bar Events or Flair Bartending Events.

Flair Bartender List – An exclusive directory of flair bartenders worldwide.

Stars of the Bars – Showcasing the Greatest Bartenders on the Planet! International bartender and model search.

YouTube
Simply do a search for your favorite flair bartender – Christian Delpech, Rodrigo Delpech, Dario Doimo, Danilo Oribe, Gianluigi Bosco, Tom Dyer, Levent Yilmaz, Marek Posluszny, Tomek Malek, etc…and you’ll find a treasure trove of videos to peruse.

Once you get involved with the competitive flair network, you’ll learn quickly that this is one large family of great people. Our friend, Tom Dyer also mentioned something important about the growth of the sport, “Flair is growing so fast (mainly thanks to the internet), that soon you’ll be seeing a lot more bartenders flair with 5, 6 and 7 objects without problem!”

We agree. So, get online and join one or all of the sites mentioned above…flair fans around the world are waiting to welcome you with open arms.

World Flair Bartending Competitions: 2009 Fall Preview

With our launch of the first worldwide, comprehensive flair competition calendar, we thought it would be appropriate to outline what’s coming up in the flair bartending world this fall.

Upcoming Competitions
The biggest flair competitions to watch this fall are described below. For a full event list, be sure to visit our Master Flair Bartending Event Calendar.

roadhouse113x85Roadhouse – One of the World’s longest running flair competitions. Qualifying rounds happen on a monthly basis with the UK Final this month (Sunday, August 30). The Roadhouse Grand Final is by far the most exciting and held in London. Watch as over 200 flair bartenders from around the world come together to battle it out for £10,000.00 in prize money.

Quest_Logo_2006Quest – It all takes place at the Groove Nightclub in Orlando’s City Walk, November 11-15. Quest is the original international flair bartending competition in the U.S. The combination of almost 100 flair bartenders from around the world, incredibly fast speed rounds, wicked flair and priceless specialty rounds makes this flair competition a must-see event!

Danilo Oribe, professional flair bartender from Uruguay and Kahunaville flair bartender in Las Vegas said, “Two of the best competitions at the end of the year are Quest and Roadhouse. Quest is a classic, the first world comp, a lot of fun and is professionally done! Roadhouse is a classic as well, featuring 100% flair and more than 200 competitors throughout the year, culminating in a fantastic final in November!”

skyyGFClogoSKYY Global Flair Challenge – SKYY Vodka has been searching for the world’s hottest flair bartender using a unique competition format. The SKYY Challenge competition enters its third year, and has become one of the most sought-after titles for flair bartenders across the globe. The most talented bartenders from five continents and 14 countries will battle it out to see who will win the prestigious title, and a top prize of €6,000 in Shanghai, October 23-24.

ifl_logo_redIndependent Flair League (IFL) Final – One of the best spots on the prestigious WFA Grand Slam Tour, the IFL Final features three qualifying competitions in Krakow, Jastarnia, and Poznań. Find out which finalist will take the championship title in Warsaw, Poland this November.

pourwars photoPour Wars Bartender Challenge – at Hennessey’s Tavern in Pacific Beach, CA, is designed for working flair bartenders. It encourages working flair as an effective, positive form of entertainment while also including the valuable skills of accuracy and mixology. Three competitive rounds culminate in the December 8 final.

Who to Watch
With so many flair bartenders competing for top prize money this fall, we wanted to highlight those to watch, and those who might be on the verge of breaking through to the next level this year.

U.S. Competitions
The Flair Bartending Association has a “Pro” and “Advanced” tour with the largest competition at the end of the year being Quest. We talked with Mike McLean, professional flair judge and marketing director of Flairco.

“On the FBA Pro Tour, all of the big names should be in attendance at Quest, including Rodrigo Delpech, Dario Doimo, Danilo Oribe, Rodrigo Cao, Behnam Gerami, Paul Trzcianko and possibly Levi Donaldson,” predicted McLean. “The qualifying round at Quest is always incredibly close and the finals are amazing!”

Eric ParkerHe also mentioned the FBA Advanced Tour would be the place to watch a few up-and-comers. “There are a bunch of bartenders trying to chase down the points leader Eric Parker,” he said. “Some of the bartenders to watch include Damiano Carrara, Vahe Manoukian, Justin Crowe, Gustavo Hernandez, Dan Seitz and Josh Briggs.”

Colin Griffiths, Kahunaville flair bartender and flair promoter in Las Vegas added to the Advanced Tour predictions. “Eric Parker with his “silky smooth and clean” moves is definitely a contender to watch,” he said. “Parker will need to develop some signature moves to be a real contender on the pro scene, however.”

International Competitions
These include Roadhouse, SKYY Flair Global Challenge Final and the IFA Final.

Tomek MalekMarek Posluzny“The Double Hand Flair Ambassadors from Poland, a.k.a Tomek Malek and Marek Posluzny (shown left) have created some serious heat in Europe this summer with a couple of big wins,” Tug van den Bergh, professional judge and founding member of the World Flair Association, said. “They’re both uber technical and their moves make the crowd go ape!!”

“Let’s not also forget Marco Canova and Gianluigi Bosco, both doing some really cool stuff at the moment and probably the most consistent competitors on the scene,” van den Bergh said.

Then there are the usual suspects. He described competitors like Danilo Oribe from Uruguay, who always seems to be “on.” His fellow countryman, Juan Pablo Santiago, burst onto the European scene a couple of weeks ago and is most definitely a force to be reckoned with.

Griffiths, also added, “I’m running several comps the first week of November. So hopefully the who’s who will include some of the international flair giants like Tom Dyer, Sebastian Oquic, Tomek Malek, Marek Posluzny, Rafael Arce and, obviously, Rodrigo Delpech.”

Flair Bartending Websites to Visit
No matter which competitor you’re rooting for, there are several organizations and websites (beyond Generation Flair) that exist to promote flair bartending. Be sure to check the below sites every week to learn more about this fantastically exciting sport!

Delerium TV
FlairLive TV
FlarBar Magazine
Flair Bartending Associaion (FBA)
World Flair Association (WFA)
Hellenic Barmen Association (HBA)
Independent Flair League (IFL)
Chinese Flair Bartending
International Bartending Association (IBA)