From over 1,200 hospitality professionals, eight made it through the training rounds in 2015 to the GABPS Academy National Finals in March, held at The Tavern @ GAB Sungei Way Brewery, to represent Malaysia at Heineken’s Global Bartender. And after a night of intense judging, the honour went to 27-year-old Sabahan Eddy Jay Jaimin of The Beer Factory, Setiawalk.

The eight national finalists were:

Suraj K.C. (Bricks & Barrels, Hartamas);
Chan Mei Yee (Home Lounge Café, Melaka);
Umaparan Karnan (QBA, Westin KL);
Aldrael Jake Cruz (SOULed Out, Hartamas);
Chris Arandela (The Beer Factory, Penang);
Miguelito Singson (The Beer Factory, Setiawalk);
Eddy Jay Jaimin (The Beer Factory, Setiawalk);
Lee Tze Wei (Proost Café, Batu Pahat) who unfortunately pulled out at the last minute and could not compete in the final round.

Judges in attendance at the National Finals included Gerard Anselm, Malaysia’s certified Heineken Draught Master; Thomas Ling, GABPS Professional Trainer; Loh Ee-Lin, Heineken Marketing Manager; and Hannah Grace Lodge, Editor of BarChick. These judges followed the stringent guidelines set by GABPS Academy and the global Heineken Star Serve programme.

All participants went through three rounds of testing to demonstrate their knowledge about Heineken and their abilities as a bartender.
Round one included a brief interview session to test the confidence and presentation skills of the bartenders.

Then came the collaboration round, which saw the competitors paired with volunteers from the audience to teach them how to do the five-step Heineken pouring ritual to achieve the perfect serve within three minutes.

Lastly was the ‘showdown’, where the bartenders wowed the audience with a flair routine and a perfect serve of two Heineken Draughts to the judges. Most competitors opted to walk to and from the stage, but Chan made an impression by gliding through the audience on her hoverboard to great cheers before she started her routine (not on the hoverboard of course).

The competition was fierce and obviously all bartenders were extremely qualified, however it felt like they were quite timid and too focused on trying to win that they didn’t take any risks to wow the judges. It would have been great to see someone stand out and make an impact on the audience – this is, after all, what the best bartenders do.

In the end the judges decided that Eddy struck the best balance of charisma, precision and persistence and rightfully awarded him with the coveted title of GABPS Hero of the Year.

This is the Heineken Global Bartender competition’s third year. In the first year Malaysia claimed a second place finish, with Holland taking first place. Though not so lucky the second year for Malaysia, we think that Eddy has his work cut out for him to beat the contenders from 16 countries at the Finals on 19 April in Amsterdam and we wish Eddy all the best.


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