The amazing cognac brand, Remy Martin, recently launched its first Mixologist competition in Kenya that empowered barmen and women to show off their cocktail-making skills. They specifically chose Bartenders – or mixologists as they are known in some circles – to focus on because of the fact that for an alcohol brand, these are the best brand advocates. They help build a connection with the Kenyan community as those are their customers and they interact on a daily basis.
In attendance at the event were very many media and entertainment personalities including our very own Cate Rira and Ciku Shire. Most notably, however, was the attendance of King Kaka who is the brand ambassador. He got the night going by getting behind the bar himself and making his own signature cocktail which he picked up during his visit to Cognac in May.
The main aim of the competition was for the mixologists to come up with a unique cocktail that utilizes Remy Martin VSOP as a base. The winner was to be selected based on their creativity, skills, storytelling, and taste. The people selecting these winners were King Kaka – being the brand ambassador and all, Benu Kundra and Mickael Bonnamy. Some of the bars represented were Blue Door, Tapas, Brew Bistro and Tribe Hotel with Kelvin Thairu from Trademark’s Hero bar emerging the winner. As a result, he will represent Kenya by taking part in a 3-day educational program in France where he has the change to upgrade his skills even further and build his international network.
This is not the first mixologist competition that the country has seen, and it most definitely will not be the last. And that is not a bad thing at all! Brands need not break their backs trying to come up with something brand new and amazing, stick to a formula that works. Using mixologists who use the product day in and day out is a formula that is not going anywhere, anytime soon. But most importantly the Kenyan drinking community will benefit the most from the creativity of even those who participate, let alone win these kinds of competitions and we are not mad about that at all!