Roadhouse Grand Finals new format and new rules

This is the longest-running flair bartending competition in the world, now in its 20th year, but so far only 10 different bartenders have claimed that coveted top spot. @lucavalentin is our reigning champion from 2018, who will be our World Champion for 2019?

New rules, new scoring, new format

This year we are doing things a little differently at the Roadhouse. This means the introduction of a new scoring system and two new rounds during the qualification phase! A speed round and a pour test round.

We are tired of people throwing shade at flair bartenders saying they are slow and their pouring is inaccurate. Now with the best flair bartenders in the world, all gathered in one place, we can put this myth to bed once and for all.

Before any of our competitors panic too much the rules being used for the Roadhouse Grand Finals this year aren’t strictly new, but they are new to the Grand Finals. Many of you will be familiar with these rules as they have been in play for most of the Roadhouse Heats this year.

So that means no deductions for drops, spills and breaks. Miscellaneous deductions are still in effect. For example, this could be for making the cocktail incorrectly. The overall score for the flair rounds will be made up of two equally weighted categories, Flair and Entertainment, which are scored out of 10.

The flair score will relate to the technical ability displayed during the routine. So this means all your tricks and manoeuvres and whether you land them. The Entertainment score is on how well you sell and present each move and your performance on stage as a whole. We don’t want to dictate how the competitors flair and with this scoring system we feel that it gives the bartenders more freedom.

These rules apply to the flair qualification round and the flair final. The speed test and pour test rounds have their own set of rules – all of which can be viewed in greater detail here:

The speed test and pour test

We know flair bartenders are some of the best and most professional bartenders in the world and the introduction of these rounds is about showing that.

The final on Sunday will still be made up of the Top 6. The Top 6 will be decided by the three qualifying rounds: the speed test, pour test, and flair round. The pour test will still have an element of flair to it with the bartenders required to pull off a range of flair pours as well as standard pours. Finally, flair bartenders have a chance to show how accurate their free pouring really is.

A perfect round in the pour test will result in a score of 0 seconds. For each mistake or infraction the following penalties are applied:

For the speed test round, each competitor will go head to head with whoever got the closest score to them in the pour test. Competitors will then be asked to make 5 cocktails from Group A or Group B. Penalties are applied for the following:

The 3 qualification rounds

Each competitor will have two weighted scorecards. One for the pour and speed rounds and one for the flair round. The finalists or Top 6 will be decided on a combination of the scores of these two scorecards.

The time each competitor gets in the pour test is added to the time they get in the speed test – this then gives an overall score for one of the scorecards. The second scorecard is marked purely on the flair round. The two scorecards are then combined giving each competitor an overall Qualification Score. The Top 6 Qualification Scores will advance to the Roadhouse Grand Finals on Sunday evening.

Just like every other year, this year we will have a World Champion. Who that World Champion is and how much this new format affects that is yet to be seen. One thing is for certain, The Roadhouse Grand Finals 2019 is going to be very interesting!

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