Celebrating Generation Flair’s 1st Birthday

It’s officially been a year since Generation Flair began working to grow the sport of flair bartending for fans worldwide with this blog. And, what better day to celebrate than Mother’s Day?!

To commemorate this special milestone, we’re giving you a short review of our favorite GenF posts to date. We look forward to another year of continued growth and success. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your readership, support and time. Flair bartending fans ROCK!

Cheers!

Pouring 101: The Best Way to Decrease Alcohol Loss – Our most popular post to date, this article goes into detail about minimizing alcohol loss and saving money for a bar owner or manager. We all know that because flair bartenders practice and are regularly tested on their pouring skills at competitions, they are a step above non-flair bartenders in their ability to be a more valuable employee.

Meeting Oscar Perez: FlairLive TV’s Entrepreneur – One of our favorite interviews last year was with the owner and founder of FlairLive TV, Oscar Perez. His passion for the sport and his contribution in making flair more accessible to thousands around the world landed him the coveted FBA’s 2009 Trailblazer award. Keep it up, Oscar! We’re all cheering for the success of FlairLive TV!

Anatomy of a Flair Competition – One of our more lengthy posts and certainly more technical, this article gives the judging perspectives of the two most popular organizing bodies of flair competitions worldwide – the Flair Bartending Association (FBA) and the World Flair Association (WFA). This is a must-read for any flair bartending fan or new competitor!

Educating the Anti-Flair Bartending Customer – A fantastic article on common misconceptions about flair bartenders and the real facts behind why flair bartenders are gaining popularity in bars worldwide.

Flair Bartenders Actually Compete?! – If you have friends and family who are still uneducated about how big this sport really is, send this article to them. It’s a great testament to the sport and gives some real stats to how much money is at stake and a basic overview of how competitions work.

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.

World Flair Bartending Competitions: 2010 Spring Preview

We announced last week that we would outline a few upcoming competitions this spring for you in the hopes that one of them would make it on your calendar to attend! Because as you know, the best way to support this growing sport is to watch a competition live.

March
March 28: “Roadhouse World Flair” in London. This is the UK Open and where all bartenders resident in the UK can earn points which will see them through to the UK Final taking place in August. For more information please check out www.roadhouseflair.com or contact oli@roadhouseflair.com.

March 28: “Kings of Flair” at Kahunaville inside the Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas, NV. This is a once a month flair contest at Kahunaville, each month the winner gets $300 plus a spot in the finals, 2nd place gets $150 and 3rd place gets $50. Each finalist will get at least $1000. Rules are very simple: make one drink in 5 min. For more information on attending (which is free), contact Shawn Oana at Chants91@aol.com or visit his blog: http://justbarflair.com.

March 31-April 1: “Flair Kremlin Stars 2010” is a newly added event to the WFA calendar. To see more details and RSVP: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=106905419329687&ref=ts

April
April 1: “News Cafe Menlyn Flair Comp” in Pretoria, South Africa. South Africa is a turning into a hot spot for flair and this comp has had massive success in the past few years. Grown steadily from just a city competition, it has now turned into a nationwide get together of bartenders wanting to perform in front of the famous Pretoria crowd. For more information, contact Patrick: ellis.patrickm@gmail.com.

April 11: “Living Room Shake Down” in Bristol, United Kingdom. This will be Bristol’s biggest Mixology and Flair event to date and promises to be loads of fun for all who attend! What makes it even better is that this event will be free to watch so clear your schedule! The mixology event will start at 4:00pm and the flair will kick off 6:00pm. For details, please contact Emma at bristol@thelivingroom.co.uk.

April 12: “Maloney’s Flair Comp ” in Southport, Merseyside, United Kingdom. This bar has a long standing tradition of flair bartending and the comps are special to say the least. For more information please email maloneyflaircomp@hotmail.co.uk or check out the Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=8399473182&ref=ts.

April 20: “Underground Flair League 2010 – Heat 2” in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The second heat out of five in the UFL, all heats will be held in the Bitterzoet located right in the center of Amsterdam, with cheap accommodations available nearby. For more information contact Anthony via info@flairbartender.nl or check the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=256887522706#/group.php?gid=15677273713&ref=ts

April 21: “Crystal City Flair Challenge” in Arlington, VA. For one night only, some of the best bartenders in the world will converge at Bailey’s Pub and Grille. This competition will be part of the 2010 FBA Pro Tour, with complete rules, prizes and drink list to be posted on the FBA website.

April 25: “Kings of Flair” at Kahunaville in Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas, NV. See description above.

April 25: “Roadhouse World Flair – World Open” in London, United Kingdom. This competition, similar to the one mentioned above, offers a chance for all International competitors to showcase their talents. The top three bartenders in this competition will be invited back to participate in the World Final taking place at the end of November. For more details check out www.roadhouseflair.com or contact Oli@roadhouseflair.com for more details.

May
May 3-4: “MyBar Showcase” in Louisville, KY is a perfect comp for those also interested in attending the Kentucky Derby (May 1), which coincides with the showcase. So, head out early and make a week of flair bartending and horse racing!

May 12: “Graffiti Bar Flair Comp” in Earlsfield, London, United Kingdom. This is a real bartender’s competition as it’s a test of entertainment, as well as flair, reflected in the almost equal weighting of the scores. For more info, contact info@graffitibar.co.uk.

May 23: “CFFB 5th Qualification Round” in Strasbourg, France. A series of competitions happening in and around France all through 2010. Please note before getting to excited that this event is only for residents of France which means any foreigners working in France are eligible. Five qualifiers in total with the semi-finals taking place October 24, and the final happening in Paris, November 21. The fifth qualifier will take place in Strasbourg at Cafe de Anges and three bartenders will qualify for the semi’s in October. Please check www.cocktailzone.fr or contact Laurent on lg@baracademy.net.

May 23-25: “Super Flair” in Windsor, Ontario (Canada) at the Beach Nightclub. Last year this was rumored to have the best competitor swag bag anywhere. Always a great time, the Canadians certainly know how to throw a professional comp. For more information, visit: http://www.superflair.ca

May 25: “Cincinatti Summer Flair Tour” – the first stop on this five-comp tour located all around the greater Cincinatti area. For more information:  info@cincisummerflair.com.

May 30: “Kings of Flair” at Kahunaville in Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas, NV. See description above.

If we haven’t listed a flair competition you know is happening in your area, please leave a comment, and we’ll update this page as we go along. Would also love to hear from those of you who have attended a competition recently – what did you think? Will you go to another one?

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.

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!

Interview with Captain Boogie: Eric Holbert’s Flair Story

Best known in the world of flair bartending as “Captain Boogie,” Eric Holbert is the classic story of how an average bartender began living an above average life by becoming involved with this popular sport. We sat down with Boogie in Orlando at a recent competition to get the full story of how this Vegas-native got into flair.

Origination of the Nickname
GF: “Your nickname is ‘Captain Boogie,’ how’d you get it?”
B: “I got that nickname from Todd Connell at the first competition I ever did, which was Quest for the Best in 1998 at Pleasure Island. It was actually the second year I got into flair and it’s also where I met Ken Hall, Alan Mays and everyone else who’s important in this industry. I was at the registration table to sign up and Todd asked what nickname I wanted. Me being nervous since it was my first competition, just said, ‘Whatever you want.’ Todd said, ‘Give me a nickname or I’ll give you one.’ I said ‘Yeah, whatever,’ and left.”

“During the first flair round, JD Spradlin was announcing me on stage and said ‘This is Eric “Captain Boogie” Holbert, who works at the VooDoo Lounge in Las Vegas!’ I looked down at the judges table and everyone was laughing hysterically. I thought, oh great I’m already nervous and they’re pulling pranks! This is where the nickname originally started.”

“I did my round and overall finished 16th. But, this is when the competitions didn’t have divisions. So, I was up against hard core pros and veterans. I was very happy about that placing!”

“Anyway, the year after, they broke out into divisions. I qualified 4th in the Rookie division. In the final round, I did a whole car wash routine; on roller skates and finished first! When I did that routine and won, (as well as took Best in Show overall), the name stuck. There was no way it was leaving at that point. It was given to me so I just went with it.”

GF: “Even your Kahunaville promo video features your nickname and this theme.”
B: “Yes, the “Captain” was dropped so now it’s just Boogie. I don’t mind it whatsoever.”

Boogie’s Affair with Flair
GF: “When did you start flairing and why?”
B: “Actually, I thought flair was kinda stupid at first. But I’d been around it quite a bit due to living in Las Vegas and having been a bartender for quite awhile. Ken Hall more or less pushed me into doing flair…he kept pushing me to do more tricks and moves and then finally recommended I compete at Quest. So I went and tried. He mentored me, showed me the format of the comp, how to prepare and what to do. The rest is history.”

GF: “You work full time at Kahunaville, but do you have any other jobs?”
B: “Yes. I also have a part-time job at Red Rock Station Casino, which is a fairly high end casino. Oscar Perez works with me as well. We work a lot together. Carolina, Christian Delpech’s wife, also works there. So I’m surrounded by some other great flair bartenders and I love that.”

GF: “You’re an official judge for the FBA, tell us a little bit about that.”
B: “I’ve been an official judge for nearly seven years now. Over the last three years, I’ve been a Master Judge for the FBA. I’m also an elite judge for WFA. I’m one of the only people that judges for both organizations and I really enjoy it. I’ve traveled the world and have met some great people as a result.”

GF: “While we’re on the topic, a lot of our readers want to know the difference between the WFA and the FBA…can you explain?”
B: “Judging standards are different within each organization, but mostly it’s similar for criteria on how the bartenders compete. The WFA is based in Europe and does a lot of advocating for flair there. The FBA is the older organization and is based in the U.S. Competitions are geared toward being a better bartender, which is good. The WFA also has more country access. It’s not a big deal to travel from one country to the next there. So, it gives flair bartending some great exposure to new cultures, languages, etc.”

GF: “The WFA is really creating a presence in Europe. Do you see yourself going over there a lot?
B: “This year, I took a rest, but last year I visited 10 countries. So yeah, they are creating more of a market for what’s going on and I hope to continue to be a part of it.”

GF: “What about the IBA?”
B: “The IBA is very strict on drink making, it’s more about mixology and protecting the bartending craft. They have an older management that advocates old school bartending, you know, the 1940s ways of how you make drinks. I think this is great, because you don’t see that anymore.”

GF: “When did you decide to do judging more than competing?”
B: “Age kicked in. Christian Delpech & I did a flair competition in Korea and I realized I wasn’t physically OR mentally ready. I couldn’t keep up with the level. I felt then it was time to retire from competitions, so now I focus on judging which allows me to keep up with flair in a different way.”

“I competed for nearly six years, which might not seem like a long time. But you have to remember, I started when I was 32, so in six years, I was 38…and it was time to slow down. Dario (Doimo) was 17 when he started; (Rodrigo) Cao and (Rodrigo) Delpech started when they were really young and they’re still going. For me, I started late and did the best I could do in that amount of time.”

GF: “What made you fall in love with flair?”
B: “It was the fact that when I was on stage, I got an energy level from the crowd that’s indescribable…it’s hard to explain. You know, I’ve always been an entertainer (I used to do street dancing and such). It’s just a whole other aspect of bartending that is really cool.”

GF: “Do you still have the same level of passion you did?”
B: “I do, but I don’t have the physical need to get up and practice like the younger guys. However, my true passion for flair is definitely still there. It’s what gets me up in the morning or should I say late afternoon?”

GF: “You’ve been at this a long time, you know all the tricks, the one-liners and you’ve looked behind the proverbial ‘curtain.’ Do you ever get tired of it? I mean, is bartending ever going to wear you out? In other words, are you doing it just for the money at this point?”
B: “Bartending is not a career for me, I do a lot of other things in my life people don’t know about. I love photography, rock climbing, cave exploration and I’m looking into going back to school to study Geology. I can always fall back on bartending if I need to. I’ve thought about starting up a travel website, but I don’t know. I’m just exploring and I haven’t really committed to anything new. I’m content with everything I’m doing right now…it’s probably why I’m single because I’m so busy with all of it!”

“Ultimately, I love bartending; I’ve been doing it for 22 years now. Mostly, I enjoy how flair allows me to interact and bond more quickly with customers…which means everyone has a great time and as a result, I make a good living.”

Flair Bartending & Major Media Appearances
GF: “You’ve been on A&E, Food Network & Travel Channel specials for flair bartending as well as the MTV’s Real World. As a sport we’re gaining even more momentum and exposure with two new reality shows in the works, FlairLive TV’s new site and a larger European scene than ever before. What kind of future do you see for flair?”
B: “We need something to happen. It’s there, but it’s still underground for the industry. Like poker, nobody really knew poker until the World Series of Poker became a big name. We’ve had specials, and now one reality show that’s been piloted. I still have no idea when that’s going to come out. But, hopefully something like that will allow us to really launch flair in a big way.”

“I’m also starting to see a new trend with some competitors who don’t want to compete as much anymore like Vache Manoukian and Justin Keane. They still have that mindset for being on stage, so I think more entertainment pieces will be surfacing…like flair bartending performances.”

GF: “We were just in Vegas last summer and witnessed quite a few Kahunaville stage performances, or “structured competitions.”
B: “They’re constant and Kahunaville is one of the most competitive flair bars in the world. Nobody does it as much as we do. There are three shows a night and every bartender who works there has to be a flair bartender. The crowds love it.”

GF: “It feels like there’s this ground swell. You’re right, FlairLive TV is huge and will do a lot for helping the sport to explode.”
B: “Yes, the interest is there, but it’s still underground…we’re worldwide, but in reality, it’s still in the beverage industry even though we’ve had a lot of major media exposure.”

GF: “Generation Flair is all about educating people outside of our industry about what flair bartending is and why we’re working so hard to make it an alternative sport with full-time media coverage. What information can you give fans or people interested in learning more about flair and how to contribute in boosting its popularity?”
B: “Flair bartending is something you have to want…it’s a passion. For those who are interested, the first thing you need to do is go to some competitions…the small and big ones. It’s where you’ll really get to feel the excitement of what we do. In the meantime, visit the websites, watch FlairLive TV, buy flair videos and support these different businesses with your patronage and comments.”

Outlook for 2010: Growing Flair Bartending Worldwide

Not to get too sentimental on everyone, but we felt it was appropriate to start 2010 with a post on gratitude, friendship and love.

Gratitude for how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time with this blog and its goal to advocate flair bartending to the masses. We’ve been blessed with a wide network of amazing friendship that continues to grow, going as far to say that some people are so close to us now that we consider them family. Thank you for being you and for helping us promote and write about our passion for this sport. And lastly, recognize that flair bartending isn’t just a hobby to us. We absolutely love everything it has to offer our life: a well-paying job for Dan, traveling to excellent destinations, and an outlet Kacy uses for creativity and inspiring others to promote and enjoy flair as much as we do.

Generation Flair began because two people realized how unique and important this sport could be for fans everywhere. We saw the benefits flair bartending gave to professional bartenders, businesses, bar owners and the media. Using our marketing (Kacy) and bartending (Dan) backgrounds, we began connecting the dots.

Dan adds expertise, creativity (he named the blog after all) and support. Kacy’s writing, passion for growth and business acumen allow us to provide accurate content (hopefully free of spelling errors). And, together our skills in forming key relationships across organizations and businesses give you the most well-rounded content possible. With this recipe, we hopefully are giving you something you’ve never had before – a professional blog that connects the flair bartending scene directly to your reality through the convenience of your computer and/or mobile phone.

Accomplishments in 2009
We’re very proud of our beginnings and wanted to take a moment to highlight what we’ve accomplished for flair fans everywhere in 2009 so we can continue to create growth for flair bartending:

  • Generation Flair had its first post May 6, 2009. Since then, we’ve posted 20 articles giving you the best education, coverage and behind-the-scenes look into the world of flair bartending.
  • We launched a fan page on Facebook that has attracted nearly 1,000 loyal fans.
  • We learned a new form of social media and joined the Twitter craze. Although small, our 115 followers have given us invaluable feedback and ideas for new posts and conversations around flair.
  • We both created profile pages (Kacy’s & Dan’s) on Cocktail Shows, a unique flair bartending social networking site.
  • We worked hard to create strong alliances with popular organizations like the Flair Bartending Association (FBA) and the World Flair Association (WFA) to make sure our content was accurate and you were getting the broadest perspective of flair bartenders and competitions.
  • Our post Meeting Oscar Perez: FlairLive TV’s Entrepreneur allowed us to form a new friendship with a unique communication channel for flair fans everywhere. FlairLive TV is the first website of its kind in the U.S. to feature live, streaming coverage of flair bartending competitions for free. Thank you Oscar, Christian, Rodrigo and the entire staff of employees and volunteers at FlairLive TV for all you do for the sport of flair bartending! We look forward to watching more great content in 2010!
  • Kacy was asked to be a co-host at Quest 2009 (November) with Christian Delpech and Paul Nguyen on FlairLive TV’s coverage of the big event. We learned the event was viewed in 21 different countries and on over 1,600 unique computers…an estimated 3-15 people were watching from each computer. Because Generation Flair was mentioned throughout the broadcast, blog traffic spiked that evening and we gained even more fans as a result. View the recording HERE.
  • We realized flair began taking new avenues to grow in 2009. After our latest blog post and interview with Hayden “Woody” Wood, we saw an even larger potential flair bartending has for generating fans young and old.

Goals for 2010
We embrace many organizations, media outlets and individuals as long as they do their part to support and grow flair bartending in a professional manner. We understand that we can’t be the only ones creating a movement and it takes MANY people to bring about an awareness of flair bartending. That’s why we’ve developed the following goals for 2010 and beyond:

  1. Increase our overall fan base from the thousands to the tens of thousands through new promotions, media coverage and strategic alliances.
  2. Develop more posts on flair around the world. We want to give you more information and involvement in the flair bartending scene across Europe, Asia and South America where we know flair is growing at a rapid pace. This includes a certain amount of posts dedicated to features on flair bartenders, competitions and sponsors outside of the U.S.
  3. Create stronger alliances with international organizations like the Hellenic Barmen Association (HBA), International Bartender Associaion (IBA) and others. This will help us grow a broader fan base and hopefully expand our efforts into new countries with the help of a larger group of experts and flair competition organizers.
  4. Develop a specific look and brand for Generation Flair. We have a logo, but we can’t stop there. We invite any and all graphic designers, advertising specialists or brand experts to help us create a new look for the blog that you’ll be proud to represent. This will be created with your help and feedback.

Thanks to All Flair Bartending Fans Everywhere
Your enthusiasm, passion and interest in this sport have given us even more motivation to keep bringing you the best of flair bartending in 2010. Without you, flair bartending wouldn’t be as exciting and popular as it is today. Help us continue our mission and achieve the above goals by participating on the social networks here and here, adding comments to the blog posts and e-mailing us with your suggestions.

So let’s raise our glasses and toast: Here’s to a bright future for flair bartending and all it has to offer you, its loyal friends, family and fans…cheers to a great 2010!

Economy’s Impact on Flair Bartending Competitions

Sponsor photoIf you haven’t been affected by the economy (either directly or know someone who has), it’s likely you’re living in a very remote location. Dan & I have seen some negative things happen to some of our closest friends this past year.

It seems as though everywhere you turn, there’s bad news. Several major flair bartending competitions have been canceled. Bar sales are down. Companies have announced large-scale layoffs. And, major flair cities like Vegas and Orlando are seeing some of the worst home foreclosure rates in the country. One of our  friends’ home value plummeted so much that it would cost them money if they sold their Las Vegas home.

These issues not only take a direct effect on our personal lives, but also professionally, which is why we chose to address the topic in today’s post.

Has the economy diminished flair competition sponsorship money?
According to a recent article from Reuters, the sports industry’s sponsorship spending growth rate is projected to have the smallest increase in 2009 (when last year it was almost double the next-closest category).

Granted this research is focused primarily on mainstream sports like the NBA, MLB, NFL and Nascar. However, flair bartending sponsorships would fall within this category as well. So how has the economy affected competitions, bartenders and flair in general?

We talked with several flair bartending competitors and organizers to find out.

Mike McLean“There has always been a concern about getting sponsorship and support of flair competitions, not just this year,” said Mike McLean, Director of Sales and Marketing for Flairco and Vice President of the FBA. “There were several high profile events canceled this year, but others were able to make it through. I’m hoping that the global economy bounces back in 2010 and we can potentially go after some new sponsors, maybe even mainstream lifestyle brands, to inject life back into the competitive
scene.”

Colin Griffiths, professional flair bartender and event organizer in Las Vegas was more direct. “The state of the economy has effected flair because sponsor companies are under more pressure to justify results for the money they contribute,” he said. “This combined with their pressure to meet their own sales goals makes it harder to find those willing to support our sport.”

The recession, although affecting everyone, is primarily a U.S. symptom. We were curious if the economic ails traveled across the Atlantic to our flair friends in Europe.

Tom DyerTom Dyer, professional flair bartender in London and key organizer with the World Flair Association, said he didn’t really have any concerns about flair competitions not happening due to lack of sponsorship money. “No concerns at all,” he said. “I actually think this is a good thing for flair. Flair is growing so fast that it needs a break.”

Dyer went on to point out that life balance is a good thing and that with so many competitions happening all the time there’s not a lot of time for everything like getting enough practice in on top of a full-time bartending job and a regular life.

“We had very few comps canceled due to the credit crunch and instead saw a lot of new independent comps mushrooming all over the place which is great,” said Tug van den Bergh, professional judge and founding member of the World Flair Association. “Bartenders in Europe are still willing to travel to flair competitions for little money, which is helping to keep our scene very much alive!!”

To further amplify the positive sentiments from the European flair community, Christian Delpech did a recent FlairLive TV interview with Finest Call’s European Sales Representative Bob Jones. Jones reported that as a company, Finest Call is actually spending more on sales and marketing this year than they did last year. He went on to describe his gratitude, knowing that not all companies are in a position to increase spending during these tough times. Although Finest Call is the number one mixer in the U.S., their interest in deepening the brand in Europe is evident.

Griffiths was right. Companies will foot the sponsorship bill when it is justifiable to their corporate goals, no matter the state of the economy. Finest Call is one of the largest flair bartending supporters and has been for many years. They understand that to increase sales of their product they go to those who are the “cheerleaders” or pushers of that product…flair bartenders.

As long as flair organizers, bartenders and supporters understand the connection to corporate goals, approaching potential sponsors for flair competitions is still a viable funding avenue. This isn’t to infer sponsorships will be easy to secure. As McLean stated, 2010 is a new year, and new sponsorship avenues will need to be considered. Overall, though, expectations are positive when looking at the future of flair bartending. With its international presence, mass following and current sponsor support, flair bartending can only grow from here.

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.