NEW YORK, NY, MAY 19, 2023 – The eleventh season of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) Presents World Class Sponsored By DIAGEO announced Renato Tonelli of Brooklyn, NY as the 2023 US Bartender of the Year following three challenging days of exceptional craft cocktail showmanship. Hosted in Austin, TX, the acclaimed competition brought together the nation’s top 30 bartenders to put their skills, senses, and agility to the ultimate test with a series of intense challenges. Renato Tonelli was a standout talent, demonstrating that passion and determination for the trade can truly lead to success. Known for his utmost hospitality and creativity, Tonelli showcased a skilled and thoughtful approach to the prestigious competition, earning the honor of representing the US at the Global Finals in Brazil this fall.
Renato Tonelli got his start in the hospitality industry working globally in Rome, Italy before broadening and perfecting his craft in Brussels, Germany then Melbourne, Australia and eventually returning to New York City where he was born and raised. With a growing passion for sustainability practices throughout years of experience behind the bar, Tonelli is best known for his love of developing unique and delicious recipes that upcycle food waste.
“Being named the 2023 US Bartender of the Year is something I have dreamed of for years and that dream just came true,” says Renato Tonelli. “I’ve gained so much invaluable knowledge, skills and camaraderie from this competition that will make a major impact in the future for both my personal and professional career in this industry. I’m thrilled to be heading to the Global Finals in Brazil and continuing to pursue sustainable practices with this craft, and I have the outstanding support of this community behind me to thank for that.”
This year the National Finals took place at a combined event where the country’s Top 30 bartenders first competed in three challenges over two days. Competitors mixed and stirred across the Garnished With Good challenge where they crafted a recipe using a sustainably sourced or made ingredient or process using Ketel One Family Made Vodka, followed by Walk With Me where they developed a bespoke cocktail with Johnnie Walker that they would serve a person or group embodying the spirit of progress, and finally the showstopping Speed Round that tasked competitors with designing and executing a themed menu of eight cocktails within 10 minutes using the DIAGEO Reserve Spirits portfolio. From there, the Top 5 Finalists were selected to compete in two final showdown challenges, testing their ability to pair a Tequila Don Julio cocktail with local cuisine as well as a bartender’s choice cocktail using a mystery ingredient sourced from Austin, TX.
“The growth and evolution of the World Class US program from the first year to now, the eleventh, has been inspiring,” shares USBG Executive Director Aaron Gregory Smith. “We are incredibly proud of this program and how it continues to contribute to the careers and camaraderie of the bartenders in our community.”
Cassandra Ericson, Manager of On Premise Channel Marketing at DIAGEO North America adds, “The level of commitment and engagement that each participant brings to the World Class US program only exemplifies the impressive and diverse talent found in today’s bartending community. We are proud to be committed to providing each participant with mentorship, innovative resources and ongoing digital education through DiageoBarAcademy.com to help further elevate their craft to the next level no matter what their experience level might be.”
Those interested in taking a shot at the US Bartender of the Year title are invited to apply for the 2024 USBG Presents World Class Sponsored By DIAGEO program. Follow @WorldClassUS on Instagram to learn more and be alerted when applications open this summer. In the meantime, try your hand at Renato Tonelli’s recipes that helped him win the US Finals this year.
Cocktails created for the duration of this year's competition can be found on Instagram using the handle @WorldClassUS. When showcasing your own mixology or sampling award-winning recipes from this year's competitors, USBG and DIAGEO reminds you to do so responsibly.
For additional information about the program and for details on the upcoming global competition, follow hashtags #worldclassus, #worldclass2023 and #roadtobrazil on Twitter and Instagram, and check us out online at https://worldclass.usbg.org and https://www.usbg.org/.
Founded in 1948, the United States Bartenders' Guild®️ is the national, member-led not-for-profit association of bartenders and other hospitality professionals that unites and elevates the bar industry through education, community, and advocacy. Through its network, the USBG connects members with peer-to-peer learning, expert instruction, service projects, and skills-based competition, all while fostering a fun and healthy environment and reinforcing the importance of the ‘third place’ in neighborhoods across the country.
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Bulleit and Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Casamigos, DeLeon and Don Julio tequilas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Diageo is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and our products are sold in more than 180 countries around the world.
For more information about Diageo, their people, brands, and performance, visit www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo's global responsible drinking resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and ways to share best practice.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for news and information about Diageo North America: @Diageo_NA.