Bangkok bartender Arron Grendon wins Chivas Masters 2018
Jul 27, 2018
A unique fusion of competition, masterclasses and teamwork, the Chivas Masters awards bartenders who combine creativity with Chivas Regal’s core values; generosity, collaboration and community. This year, 21 international finalists came together to sharpen their bartending skill set alongside the cream of the current crop, guided by previous winners and leading industry experts.
This years’ event was hosted by Rhys Wilson, UK finalist from 2017 and judges included Matt Whiley, London bartender and founder of bars including Worship Street Whistling Shop; Laura-May Coope, co-founder of Social Life; JJ Goodman, founder of The London Cocktail Club bar group, Craft Cocktail Co and Keystones Cocktail Club; Bea Bradsell, storyteller and daughter of Dick Bradsell (creator of the Espresso Martini and the Bramble).
For the final week, contestants had to share their expertise, collaborating with fellow finalists for success. That team spirit underlined this year’s theme: community. It’s an idea which resonates strongly with Grendon, who won the Thailand leg of the competition with a drink inspired by a member of his local community; his mother.
Her stories of hardworking farmers in rural Thailand sparked the idea for his cocktail, the Grind. To salute their gruelling work, Grendon melded ingredients like sugar cane and rice, common crops in the Thai countryside, with Chivas whisky.
Now a lead bartender at Tropic City, in Bangkok’s trendy Soi Charoen Krung 28, he has risen quickly from his humble beginnings as a food and beverage trainee in a Phuket hotel. Grendon’s innovative cocktail skills – he also won last year’s Thailand edition of the Diplomatico World Tournament – highlight him as one to watch on the worldwide mixology scene.
Grendon credits community spirit for the vote-winning pop-up bar, entitled One Night in Bangkok, that sealed him the top spot at the Chivas Masters: “I love the community in the market in Bangkok that brings together people from all around the world through food and drink – and that’s what I wanted to recreate”. Grendon led a team of fellow contestants from Peru, Argentina, Japan, Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Australia. “When you have a good team and a good connection, you can achieve anything,” he said.
Grendon, walks off with an all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of the Cocktail 2018 in New Orleans. As Chivas Masters Global Champion 2018, he’ll soon be travelling the world with Chivas, on a mission to inspire a worldwide community of future bartenders.