What’s to come from the first WFA Grand Slam of 2018: Olybet’s Flairmania

It is almost time for one of the season’s most awaited flair bartending competitions, OlyBet’s Flairmania in Riga, Latvia. Now in its 8th year OlyBet Flairmania has gone from strength to strength and always promises to be a fantastic show, particularly for those who might just be discovering flair bartending competitions for the first time.

The production is always fantastic, with a great venue, professional camera equipment and one of the best live streams – supported by  the main sponsor, international casino OlyBet. This year’s Flairmania will take place at the Olympic Voodoo Casino at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Riga, Latvia (January 25th). With only 60 competitors taking part in total, Flairmania is always a fast and frantic affair from start to finish. Alongside the main sponsor Olybet, will be drinks industry giant Monin.

With €6000 up for grabs along with a fair amount of special prizes such as the renowned ‘Big Ass Move Comp’, Best Cocktail, Best Girl and the Monin Special Prize – there is a lot to fight for between the 60 competitors. In fact this year’s Flairmania was so popular amongst the competitors that during the sign up here on the WFA website, you overloaded our server! We had it back up shortly and it showed that all 60 places went within a space of minutes. Incredible!

Expect to see some of the greatest flair bartenders of our time battle it out including two time winner and last years champion, local boy Deniss Trifanovs; 2017’s World Champion Marek Posluszney, Rodrigo Delpech, Luca Valentin, Alexander Shtifanov and Vitaly Kolpin amongst many others.

Eagerly awaited by bartenders and fans all over the world, the OlyBet Flairmania live stream always has a huge worldwide audience tuned in. Being the first WFA Grand Slam of the year we also expect to see a few new things from the competitors as well as some excellent all round performances, with a higher degree of score weighting being put on choreography and originality this year – as well as no loss of points for spills and drops, as you will have seen at the Roadhouse last year.

OlyBet Flairmania also has the unique instant scoring system, this always adds an interesting dynamic to the competition depending on how some competitors may choose to use (or ignore) the scores of those they are competing against. The running order is also randomly decided online just before the show so this adds an element of mystery to the whole show… Flairmania was also the first WFA Grandslam where we have done the briefing online prior to the show, although the live stream may need a few tweaks the recorded video was available straight after. We intend to do this for all WFA Grand Slams moving forward.

Each participant will have to make two cocktails during their performance, one of which will be their own creation. We have seen some fantastic and incredibly creative cocktails over the years. This year will be no different, with a full panel of professional mixologists on hand to taste and judge each of the cocktails. This year it is to be a Martini creation and how the cocktail is judged counts for a whopping 25% of the overall score!

We spoke to one of the organisers of OlyBet Flairmania, Ivars, to get his thoughts ahead of the competition on January the 25th:

“Flairmania has been a mainstay in the calendar of flair bartenders for 8 years now. It always proves to be a great show and a very pleasing form of entertainment for not just fans and bartenders around the world but also many of the guests at the Olympic Voodoo Casino. Once again the worlds best bartenders will gather in Riga to battle it out and decide who takes home the trophy and which country has their national anthem played during the awards ceremony. One of the newest additions to Flairmania is of course the slightly altered WFA scoring system that no longer punishes drops and spillages.This definitely adds a bit more spice to Grand Slam competitions worldwide as you see less and less of the competitors playing it safe.

Because exhibition flair bartending is also about entertainment for the first time we will also have a professional from the entertainment industry judging in the finals. This could be very interesting! I think once again we will have a lot of surprises in front of us. At the end of the day it isn’t just about being the best technical flair bartender it also about being the most entertaining, are people going to love your creativity and your choreography so much that they want to hire you to perform at their event? I look forward to seeing you all at Flairmania 2018, lets do this!”