Top tips for organising your own flair bartending competition…

Flair bartending is becoming more and more popular, with vast swathes of people discovering this great pastime and falling in love with it. As more people get into flair, more competitions arise. This of course is a great thing for flair bartending, offering flair bartenders more and more opportunities to compete with each other, bettering their skill-set as well as bringing home a little extra money for the month.

In the last two years we have seen new WFA Grand Slams pop up in Singapore, Hungary and the UK as well as plenty of WFA supported competitions and of course return of the old favourites such as Loolapaloosa in Italy, Hard Flair in Finland and Flairmania in Latvia. We have spoken to some of the organisers behind these competitions to find out what their top tips are for organising a flair bartending competition.

We’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to, so sit back, relax and take it all in:

Steve Parsons organiser of the Brighton World Flair Open, UK:

– Competitors and crew are key! They are the lifeblood of your competition. Make sure you offer to assist with anything that these people may need and never be too busy to answer any questions. If the competitors and crew have fun, then it is very likely that the audience will too!

– Organise with passion and don’t be afraid to show your love for flair bartending. Most organisers were once competitors so we understand what it means for those guys and girls flying half way around the world to compete in your competition.

Beatrice Ando organiser of Loolapaloosa, Italy:

– Make sure the rules for the competitors are as clear as possible, as well as any rules you have that relate to the main sponsor. Even if you think it is obvious, especially if you think it is obvious, write these things down and make them easily accessible to everyone. This way everyone is equal in their understanding and will be ready for everything – hopefully avoiding any problems with competitors claiming that they didn’t understand the rules later on.

– Your competitors are the main character of the competition. Offer them involvement in various activities such as lunch or an after party and make sure to share with all digital media produced for the competition, encouraging them to share this on their own social media accounts to get your competition out to the biggest audience possible.

Shahmil Lin, organiser of the WFA Grand Slam Barstylez Big Match in Singapore:

– For your competition to go well you need to make sure you provide the basics. The basics include, good lighting for the stage and the competitors (take into account that the lighting cannot be blinding for competitors on stage as they are often throwing things into the air and having to look up); a proper preparation and practice area; a clear and punctual time schedule of the whole event so everyone knows what is going on at all times.

Ivar Rutkovskis, organiser of the WFA Grand Slam Flairmania in Latvia:

– Don’t be afraid to ask other professionals for their advice, be them professionals in flair, lighting and camera work, or events professionals. 90% of professionals will be happy to share some important advice. If necessary hire them. The knowledge they bring will most likely prove a good investment.

Tom Dyer, co-organiser of the WFA grand Slam Cambridge Cocktail Weekend and the Roadhouse World Finals in the UK:

– Getting hold of a good sponsor can be hard, this is often the hardest part of organising a competition. You need to be able to put together a great proposal showing the sponsor that you can give their brand marketing and awareness, using everything from social media, to local media, press, photos and videos.

– It doesn’t end when the competition ends. All of the results need to be communicated to the press and on social media, etc. Try and get a press release out to to bar magazines and local newspapers. Provide a report for your sponsors about what you did for them and be detailed. And finally show your thanks to the sponsors and everyone involved and start planning for the next comp as soon as you can!