You may be thinking what is the difference between a WFA bartending competition and a WFA Grand Slam competition. Well the first and biggest difference is that the Grand Slam competitions earn competitors points towards being crowned the WFA Grand Slam World Champion. At the end of each year, one bartender will achieve this title and the Gold Level WFA grading, it is perhaps the hardest of all accolades to achieve within the WFA as the bartender requires impressive skill but also consistency to achieve over many different competitions throughout the year. Only 5 bartenders in the world have won this title so far.
The WFA Grand Slams are held all over the globe and every single Grand Slam has a standardised points scoring system, ensuring that the competitors are assessed similarly throughout. Attracting the biggest sponsors, judges and competitors the WFA Grand Slams always promise a fantastic opportunity to see some of the best of flair bartending right now.
Now in June, 2017, we are almost half way through this year. Luca Valentin was crowned WFA Grand Slam World Champion for 2016, who will be our winner for this year…
Current Standings after 3 Grand Slam Competitions
You can view the full leaderboard here: www.worldflairassociation.com/wfa/competitions/leaderboards/
‘One’s to Watch’
“In my opinion, Deniss Trifanovs is a great person to watch this year for his high level of difficulty and ability to nail very difficult moves with minimal mistakes. Dario Di Carlantonio for is another his style and finesse, his flair is very beautiful to watch and entertaining for the crowd which is always a bonus at any flair bartending competition.
And of course one of the usual suspects in Luca Valentin, who always demonstrates high levels of professionalism and creativity – another one who is a pleasure to watch.
Grand Slam 1 – Hard Flair, Finland
Hard Flair in Finland is always a great event. Held at the Hard Rock Cafe in Helsinki, this WFA Grand Slam never fails to disappoint and between Hard Flair and Flairmania 2017 started in a fantastic fashion.
As with all WFA Grand Slams the competition consisted of two rounds, a qualification round and a final round. At Hard Flair only 8 people can qualify for the final round and it was hard fought between Luca Valentin and Alexander Shtifanov, although Luca Valentin ended up winning with Alexander Shtifanov in 2nd and Sergey Bulakhtin in 3rd.
Grand Slam 2 – Flairmania, Latvia
Over the years Flairmania has seen 4 different winners, you never know how Flairmania is going to turn out and with the ‘Big Ass Move’ award and the Audience award it is quite a unique event grand slam. Held in the beautiful city of Riga, Latvia on the 26th of January, the event was supported and sponsored by local bookmakers OlyBet who always contribute a lot to the preparation and production of the event.
The competition consists of 2 rounds, the qualification round and the final round, each competitor is given 4 minutes for the qualification round and 7 minutes on stage for the final round. Those who placed in the Top 10 following the qualification round will be in the finals.
This years winner was Deniss Trifanovs with 2nd place going to Marek Posluszny and 3rd place to Luca Valentin.
Grand Slam 3 – Gaeta Flair Passion, Italy
Gaeta Flair Passion Bartender Competition in Italy is a little different from most other flair bartender competitions and all other Grand Slams for that matter. Held in the beautiful Italian town of Gaeta, around 1 and half hour drive from Rome this competition is set in a beautiful natural bay making it the only WFA Grand Slam flair bartender competition that takes place outside.This in itself adds a new dimension to the competition, introducing a different environment for the flair bartenders and audience to enjoy – but also a new challenge, ever had a rogue gust of wind blow in while you have four tins in the air?
There were 2 rounds, a qualification round and a final round where the top 10 and the best female compete. The cocktails built during the competition were tasted by a professional panel of tasting judges from Italy and there was also a Peroni speed opening round, which was good fun for all involved.
The audience was made up of flair enthusiasts from around the world, but mainly by the local dwellers of Gaeta. The event is a annual occasion for many of the people of Gaeta and it is great to see so many new faces enjoying and discovering flair bartending. The overall winner of the main competition, celebrating his first WFA Grand Slam victory was Roman Zapata; beating the likes of Luca Valentin Dario Di Carlantonio and Deniss Trifanovs into the runner up positions.
Next Grand Slam (August 2017) -Skilled Flair Bartender, Mexico
Not long until the next WFA Grand Slam. Now in its 3rd year the Skilled Flair Bartender competition in Cancun, Mexico is proving to be a favourite for many competitors already.
1st Edition 2015 – Yonny Aguilar (Péru)
2nd Edition 2016 – Marek Posluszny (Poland)
3rd Edition 2017 – ???