Five bartenders from Fort Worth are among the semi-finalists in the Bourbon Brawl 2020 contest put on by Garrison Brothers Distillery, the first legal whiskey distillery in Texas.
The state-wide bartender competition has a grand prize of $10,000.
The results are in and the five semi-finalists for each city are:
• Megan McClinton – Proper – Golden Ticket Winner
• Zak Houara – Alamo Drafthouse | North Richland Hills – Consumers’ Choice Winner
• Nancy Conaway – Cassidy’s | Radisson Hotel Fossil Creek | Arlington
• Andrew Steakley – Barnett’s Public House | Waco
• Deven Kampenhout – Thompson’s Bookstore
• David Jennings – Hide – Golden Ticket Winner
• Rey Gonzalez – Z’s at the Curry | Waco – Consumers’ Choice Winner
• Lance Smith – Bourbon & Banter at The Statler
• Raymond Waring – PI.E 3.14 Everyday Eatery
• Kiyoko Kinoshita – Lounge 31
• Liam Connors – Fixe Southern House – Golden Ticket Winner
• Caitlin Hood – Sway | Rock Rose – Consumers’ Choice Winner
• Ricky Cobia – OTOKO + Watertrade
• Nikolas Zoylinos – Here Nor There
• Sarah Rahl – Goldie’s Sunken Bar at Austin Proper Hotel
• Jeremy Young – Petroleum Club of Houston (Restaurant) | Private Club – Golden Ticket Winner
• Malachi Boykin – Taste Bar + Kitchen – Consumers’ Choice Winner
• Sean Bell – World of Beer | Bryan
• Gregory Perez – Monkey’s Tail
• Rustyn Brandt – Tecovas
• Trinh Quan Huy-Philip – Rebelle at St. Anthony Hotel – Golden Ticket Winner
• Gladys Estrada – Range – Consumers’ Choice Winner
• Cruz Gutierrez – Jet Setter
• Michelle Stephenson – Tributary at Marriott Rivercenter
• Johnny Yumol – Bar du Mon Ami
Golden Ticket winners are bartenders who were visited by Dan Garrison, founder and proprietor of Garrison Brothers Distillery. After tasting their cocktails and listening to their stories of inspiration, Garrison offered a select few the opportunity to advance to the Bourbon Brawl Semi-finals on the spot. Consumers’ Choice winners are the bartenders whose cocktails received the most votes via Garrison Brother’s voting app.
In each semi-final competition, the city’s top five bartenders and mixologists will showcase their creative and technical cocktail-making skills, vying for the opportunity to represent their home turf at the state-wide final competition in Austin and take home the prestigious title of Garrison Brothers 2020 Bourbon Brawl “Bartender of the Year.” During these events, attendees will enjoy libations while watching the bartenders compete in a three-round, Top Chef-style match-up.
In Round One, guests will sample the five best cocktails in each city and interact with the five semi-finalist bartenders. These cocktails will be crafted with love using the 2020 vintage of Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon. Guests will receive one (1) wooden token at check-in to cast a vote for their favorite cocktail.
During Round Two, each bartender will take the stage to prepare and present “Native Texan Wildlife”-themed cocktails in real-time. A panel of judges will score each cocktail and factor in the crowd-favorite cocktail from Round One. The two bartenders with the highest scores will advance to Round Three.
Round Three is a mystery ingredient challenge. In this round, the city’s top two bartenders will go head to head to create the best cocktail using secret ingredients from a veiled box. Sampled and scored by the judges, one bartender will be announced as the winner of this semi-final event and will advance to the Finals to compete for the prestigious title of Garrison Brothers 2020 Bourbon Brawl “Bartender of the Year.”
Tickets for each semi-final event are $30. Proceeds from the ticket sales will go to Good Bourbon for a Good Cause, a 501(c)3 public charity founded by the Garrison Family and their staff in 2018.
Dates, time, and locations for each event are below. The Garrison Brothers team highly encourages attendees to use local ride-sharing services, ensuring a safe ride home for everyone. Lyft codes are provided for $5 off each ride for up to 200 rides at each event.
Thursday, March 26 | 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Houston Event Venue | 3118 Harrisburg Blvd | Houston, TX 77003
Tickets | Lyft code BB2020HOUSTON
Thursday, April 2 | 6:30 – 10 p.m.
The Arcadian at Sunset Station | 1174 E Commerce St. | San Antonio, TX 78205
Tickets | Lyft code BB2020SA
Thursday, April 9 | 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Empire Room | 1225 N Riverfront Blvd | Dallas, TX 75207
Tickets | Lyft code BB2020DAL
Thursday, April 16 | 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
The Ostreum | 108 South Fwy Ste. 130 | Fort Worth, TX 76104
Tickets | Lyft code BB2020FW
Thursday, April 23 | 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Springdale Station | 979 Springdale Rd. Ste 160 | Austin, TX 78702
Tickets | Lyft code BB2020AUS
Thursday, May 7 | 6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Fair Market | 1100 E 5th Street | Austin, TX 78702
Tickets | Lyft code BOURBONBRAWL2020
Qualifying contestants must have participated in Garrison Brothers’ Bourbon Takeover of Texas, two weeks during which 75+ distinguished bars and restaurants across Texas featured cocktails incorporating the 2020 vintage of Garrison Brothers Small Batch Bourbon. From February 17 – February 28, the Garrison Brothers team visited every participating location to taste, critique, examine, and enjoy the creations, considering each for potential advancement to the next round of the competition. However, the cocktails themselves were not the sole criteria for advancement; the bartender’s attitude, charm, camaraderie with customers, and concern for the well-being of their community were also factors under consideration.
“The level of talent I witnessed over the past week was truly breathtaking,” said Dan Garrison, founder and proprietor of Garrison Brothers Distillery. “Traversing the state and listening to the stories behind each bartender’s cocktail inspiration was an excellent way to celebrate Texas’s 184th birthday.”
Selected from the top mixologists in the Lone Star State, the 25 semi-finalists are now one step closer to winning the $10,000 prize from Garrison Brothers’ 501(c)3 public charity Good Bourbon for a Good Cause. Each city’s winner will receive $500 and a two-night stay in Austin to compete in the Finals taking place at Fair Market on May 7, 2020. Stakes are high, but money isn’t the only driving force in this contest. The winner of the Garrison Brothers Bourbon Brawl will take home $10,000, their very own Single Barrel (for personal consumption only), and a complete Texas Luxury experience (to be announced at a later date.
“To prepare for Bourbon Brawl 2020, I made a cocktail whose namesake honors a strong woman with an enduring legacy,” said Trinh Quan Huy-Philip, bartender at Rebelle in San Antonio. “Garrison Brothers loves telling great stories and forging enduring friendships — I do, too. That’s what being a bartender is all about!”
“I was inspired to create the Rosa Parks cocktail as I took the bus to work during Black History Month this past February,” continued Huy-Philip. “I ride the bus every day and found myself thinking back to her unique experiences on my way to the bar one afternoon. I decided to name the cocktail after her because she is the embodiment of a strong, remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on the world. With this cocktail, I wanted to honor her memory.”
“If I were to win $10,000, I would give half the money to charity. I’m not sure which one yet, but it would definitely be an organization whose primary mission is to contribute to women and children.”