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2012 World Bartender Champion Hiroyuki “Mark” Yamada showing off his winning mixology skills.
2012 World Bartender Champion Hiroyuki “Mark” Yamada showing off his winning mixology skills.
The world’s best bartender, Hiroyuki “Mark” Yamada,engages the judges with his energy behind the bar.
The world’s best bartender, Hiroyuki “Mark” Yamada,engages the judges with his energy behind the bar.
The 2012 World Bartender Championship Finalists.
The 2012 World Bartender Championship Finalists.

TGI FRIDAYSSM RAISES A GLASS TO WORLD’S GREATEST BARTENDER

Hiroyuki “Mark” Yamada of Tokyo Offers Spot-on Combination of Top-Shelf Bar Skills and Personality to Win 22nd Annual World Bartender Championship

CARROLLTON, Texas, March 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — TGI Fridays has crowned Hiroyuki “Mark” Yamada of Tokyo the World’s Greatest Bartender at the 22nd annual World Bartender Championship (WBC) in Dallas. Yamada’s flawless mixology, precision and speed, coupled with his winning personality behind the bar, wowed a panel of industry expert judges and helped him secure the title of World’s Greatest Bartender.

More than 10,000 bartenders from the almost one thousand TGI Fridays around the world competed in a series of local and regional events leading up to the final showdown, which pitted ten finalists against one another competing for the “coveted” crown. Each bartender first exhibited product, ingredient and recipe expertise through a variety of mixology knowledge tests.  The competition culminated in a freestyle bartending showcase, where a panel of judges assessed each finalist’s ability to make innovative drinks while displaying incredible speed and exciting flair.

This year, Jon Taffer, bar expert and friend of FridaysSM, was on hand to keep the one thousand spectators on the edge of their seats between the bartenders’ exciting performances. Between the competitors, live music and scratch-made cocktails, it proved to be a highly-captivating experience like only Fridays can deliver.

“This entire competition has been an exciting challenge and a crazy ride,” said Yamada. “Every minute of practice and training was worth it to make it to this moment. I’m so proud to be the best bartender in the world and I can’t wait to take this win home to Japan!”

Yamada wasn’t the only one to take home honors. Russell Ward of Sheffield, UK was named the TGI Fridays Fan Favorite Bartender. More than 40,000 Fridays fans cast their vote through the World Bartender Championship website. Ward’s energetic personality and master cocktail crafting skills won new fans over and kept his dedicated fan base cheering for him throughout the competition.

“Our bartenders are a huge reason why Fridays is the best corner bar in town and they replicate that same Friday feeling at nearly one thousand of our bars across the world,” said Nick Shepherd, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Restaurants. “It’s the amazing energy, skill and service style that our bartenders bring to Fridays everyday that makes us one of a kind and keeps our guests coming back for more.”

Bartenders from five countries showed off their skills in this year’s World Bartender Championship Competition. In addition to Yamada and Ward, top competitors who made it to the finals included:

For more information on the World Bartender Championships and updates from Fridays, consumers can visit http://www.worldbtc.com/ and follow the brand on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TGIFridays), Twitter @TGIFridays and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/TGIFridays).

About TGI FridaysSM
TGI Fridays restaurants offer authentic American food and exciting drinks in an atmosphere that provides an energizing Friday feeling – any day of the week. FridaysSM guest recognition program, Give Me More Stripes®, rewards loyal guests with great deals and fun events year-round, creating an engaging customer experience. As the original casual dining restaurant, TGI Fridays differentiates itself with a unique point of view which promises to exhilarate its guests with the feeling of Friday. TGI Fridays, which operates more than 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries, is also famous for its knowledgeable and charismatic bartenders, approximately 10,000 of whom compete annually for the title of the “Greatest TGI Fridays Bartender in the World.” TGI Fridays believes in the importance of acting responsibly and as a result its Responsible Business Program is focused on positively impacting the economic and environmental well-being of the communities and neighborhoods in which it operates. For more information, visit www.fridays.com.

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