What if we had an association for bartenders! These are the thoughts of 8 delegates who sat together in 24th February 1951 and agreed to form an organized group which is now called as the “International Bartenders Association (I.B.A.)”. A conference was held in Torquay, England to make an association that represents the best bartenders in the world. Along with 8 delegates, there were 12 other representative observers present in the conference hall of the Grand Hotel, Torquay. The meeting proceeded smoothly and the delegates shared their eagerness of forming an international association. Most of the proposals put forward by the representatives of different bartender guild were approved. Conclusively a board of 4 members was elected and Mr W.J Billy Tarling was elected as I.B.A’s first president.
Ever since then, more and more countries have joined IBA who share the passion for Bartending fraternity. IBA has organized many annual events such as the World Cocktail Competition (WCC) and the World Flairtending Competition (WFC). The venue and place of these events are different each year. For instances, the 60th anniversary of IBA Congress 2011 was organized by Poland and which took place from 5th to 9th November in the Hilton Warsaw Hotel. The meeting was attended by 60 countries. Next year, the 61st edition was organized in Beijing, China for the time in history. The event lasted for 5 days, from 5th to 10th of October in the Hotel Crowne Plaza. Over 400 participants along with representatives of fifty six countries attended the IBA Congress 2012. Prague, Czech Republic is the destination for the 63rd edition of IBA Congress 2013 and is to be held in the venue at Hotel Hilton. The conference will be organized under the leadership of Czech Association of Bartenders for the dates 16th to 22nd August.
The goal of International Bartenders Association (I.B.A.) is to train and represent young & upcoming Bartenders from around the globe. Education Development Committee (EDC) works throughout the year, under the IBA, to train these young bartenders. There are three training centres across the globe- Lima in Peru for South America, Naples in Italy for Europe and Singapore for Asia. Centres like this are the ones which honour the young professionals with an Official certificate. EDC was founded in 1987 under the chairmanship of Mr Brian Page. It operates as a three level education system that consists of graduation levels present to perform various functions of EDC. The purpose of forming the committee was to incorporate the several training courses into a format that could be internationally accepted.
One of the main sought after event is the World Cocktail Competition (W.C.C.) which was first initiated by the IBA in 1955. WCC itself comprises of 6 subdivided competitions- Flairtending, Pre-dinner, After-dinner, Sparkling, Fancy and Long drink Competitions. Rules & Regulations are different for each event, but the basic rules common to all events are:
• Competitors will be given 5 minutes to produce 3 identical cocktails.
• Cocktails must not contain more than 6 ingredients.
• At least 1 product of IBA Associate Member’s Product must be used in the recipe.
• Home-made or self-made ingredients are not allowed to be used.
• Heated ingredients of any kind are not allowed.
IBA initiated the World Flairtending Competition (W.F.C.) in 2000 in an attempt to seek out professional flair bartenders from different parts of the world and determine the best amongst them. Ever since then, this event is held at the annual IBA congress. Flairtending involves manipulative and tricky handling of bar tools which is most commonly related to juggling. So basically, Flairtending involves flipping, spinning, catching bottles and various other bar tools while in the process of making cocktail. Based on the current rating criteria, 70% of the score comes from technique used while the rest of the 30% is marked based on the taste.
Some of the famous and popular Bartender Associates have been listed below.
The Association of Bartenders Singapore was formed in 1987 and was officially registered after a $10 registration fee was paid to the Registry of Society. It all started when a meeting was set up in 1986 among several beverage managers to discuss the possibility of forming a Bartenders Association in the industry. In 1987, the ABBS was formed and the Singapore Hotel Association supported the newly formed association by donating $500. Now ABBS offers many training courses under the guidance of IBA.
The United States Bartender Association (USBA) was formed in 2005 and is nation’s leading bartender training and assistance provider. Members of USBA are provided with assistive resources and bartending tools to perceive and make use of the best bartending services. Along with that, members can represent the industry in regulatory issues and are allowed to form their own bartending school programme. There is also the United States Bartender Guild (USBG) and the National Bartenders Association (NBA).
Websites: http://usbg.org and http://bartender.org
The Bartender Association of Ireland (BAI) was founded in 1972 and is affiliated to the IBA. BAI was formed with a motive to develop bartending profession in the country and to provide training & networking opportunities to its members. The association is a live member of IBA congress and presents some world-class competitors every year. Membership costs 50 pounds per annum and gives the opportunity to participate at the World Cocktail Competition (WCC).
Hong Kong Bartenders association was found in 1982 and was affiliated to IBA, five years later, in 1987. This association offers a very interactive training course that includes both practical and theoretical classes that starts at $4800. At the end of this 42 hour course, the association can certify its student as a bartender. Mostly, the venues of these courses are kept at the ‘1881 Heritage’ and ‘Hullett House’.
Australian Bartender Guild (ABG) has be part of IBA since 1990. This is a non-profit and non-union organization and the members of this association are allowed to participate in various National and International cocktail mixing events. The winners of the National bartending championship are taken to IBA Congress to compete in global level.
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