Havana Club names finalists for bar entrepreneur of the year award

Pernod Ricard-owned rum brand Havana Club has named the eleven finalists from six countries that will compete for the bar entrepreneur of the year title as part of a four-day competition in Cuba.

The Havana Club Bar Entrepreneurs Awards celebrates the people behind leading bars across the world. This year’s final will take place from 21 to 24 May in Havana city, Cuba.

The entrepreneurs chosen impressed judges with the stories behind their businesses. The winner of this year’s award will be given a “tailored prize to enhance their profile” within the industry. The judging panel will also award prizes in categories including ‘best innovator’, ‘one to watch’ and ‘against all odds’.

Best innovator will be given to the “delivery of the most exciting and successful innovation”, ‘one to watch’ will focus on the emerging talent under the age of 30, while ‘against the odds’ will be presented to the contestant who has overcome challenges in order to succeed in their career.

The judging panel consists of Rhys Oldfield, co-founder of bar group Be At One; Juan Valls, founder of FIBAR; Ara Carvallo, founder of Barra Mexico; and successful business owners John Coe, Rasmus Lomborg and Tess Posthummus.

Nick Blacknell, global marketing director at Havana Club International, commented: “We congratulate the finalists and we welcome them in Cuba – we are excited to hear their successful business stories first hand and to share with them Havana Club’s shared passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. We wish them luck for the grand finale in Cuba!”

The 11 finalists are:

  • Alastair Burgess, Happiness Forgets, Original Sin and Petit Pois Bistro, UK
  • Bek Narzi, Pachamama Restaurant Group, UK (originally from Russia)
  • Carina Soto Velasquez, Candelaria, Glass, Le Mary Celeste, Hero and Les Grands Verres, France
  • Emanuel Minez, Red Frog and Monkey Mash, Portugal
  • JJ Goodman, London Cocktail Club, UK
  • Julien Escot, Aperture and Baton Rouge, France
  • Kelsey Ramage, Trash Tiki, Canada
  • Richard Wynne, Callooh Callay, UK
  • Rosie Stimpson, Oriole bar, Nightjar and Swift, UK
  • Stephan Hinz, Little Link, Germany
  • Thanos Prounarous, Baba au Rum, Greece

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