After a series of state finals, Heineken has announced that the national final of its Star Quality Tournament will take place this weekend in Melbourne, identifying the nation’s best bartenders.

In the months leading up to the final, global Heineken Star Quality Brand Ambassador Tom Vos conducted masterclasses and events around the country and connected with top bartenders from more than 100 Heineken venues.

Entrants were judged on their mastery of the Heineken five-step Star Quality ritual: rinse, pour, skim, check and serve, with a group of finalists selected to compete for the title of Australia’s Star Quality Champion.

“We’ve witnessed extraordinary talent and dedication throughout the training sessions and tournament to the Heineken Star Quality Ritual and delivering premium hospitality,” says Vos.

“As we approach the national final, we’re excited to see these finalists bring their A-game and showcase the artistry of the Star Quality ritual. It’s an honour to celebrate their craft, ambassadorship and elevate the Heineken experience for consumers.”

The finalists are:

  • Mirco Tarducci from CY O’Connor’s, WA
  • Jordan Clayton from the Story Bridge Hotel, QLD
  • Jasper Darley from the Windmill Hotel, SA
  • Cecilia Millan Ichon from online hospitality platform Barcats, VIC
  • James Burgess from Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour, NSW
  • Vicki Brown from Hophaus, VIC
  • Boris van der Kloor from The Emerson, VIC

The showdown will be held on Saturday 23 March at the Middle Park Hotel, where the judges will scrutinise the standards of each pour and evaluate the finalists’ understanding of the Star Quality ritual.

Informed by years of consumer research, the Star Quality ritual is a key focus for Heineken Australia, with Country Manager Dino Bozzone sharing insights into the brands rationale for the training program.

“We have over seven years of mystery shopping research which has identified that consumers are twice as likely to repurchase a Heineken if the bartender complies with the five steps. As a premium brand, our primary focus is to guarantee that consumers across Australia enjoy a premium experience wherever they enjoy a Heineken draught beer.”

Although Australian consumers may not be used to it, finalists will also be judged on their ability to pour a beer with a head that forms a seal atop the beer. Vos explains that its purpose is to keep the beer fresher for longer, and it is a crucial step in service.

“The foam head works to maintain the beer’s freshness by preventing oxygen from entering and retaining carbon dioxide. The Heineken Star Quality training teaches bartenders how to pour a perfect head that rests on the shoulders of the red star, this foam head stays on the beer for longer and keeps the beer as fresh as possible.”

The national Star Quality Champion will be awarded a $500 Lion voucher, with each of the state winners receiving tickets to attend the F1 Australian Grand Prix 2024, two nights of accommodation, flights and food expenses.

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