The United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) has chosen the 2018 US Bartender of the Year and for the first time, the title has gone to a female contestant, Laura Newman.

USBG was founded in 1948. The non-profit society unites bartenders and other hospitality professionals. The World Class competition is sponsored by premium drinks company Diageo and is in the seventh year.

“The evolution of the USBG World Class program here in the US has been amazing to witness,” said Aaron Gregory Smith, Executive Director, USBG. “The competition is bigger than ever. The growing excitement and passion in the bartending community is empowering. We are so proud of the support that this program provides to all involved.”

USBG World Class Sponsored by Diageo (PRNewsfoto/Diageo)

Thousands of applicants across the US competed in regional competitions to select fifteen bartenders for the national competition. It was hosted at Stitzel-Weller Distillery, home of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey.


The two-day competition consisted of five categories.


Contestants showcased their knowledge alongside impeccable levels of hospitality as they:

1) Created presentations based on a spirit’s history, ingredients, production process and tasting notes.

2) Crafted cocktails whilst providing waste-free solutions to current environmental challenges.

3) Perfectly tailored cocktails for their guests.

4) Created the next iconic Bulleit Frontier Whiskey serve, as homage to the 2018 host.

5) Served ten well-balanced cocktails within ten minutes.

Globally acclaimed bar-industry leaders including the 2017 Global winner, 2014 Global winner, past US winners and acclaimed bartenders and educators were all members of the final judging panel.

USBG World Class US National Finals Sponsored by Diageo 2018 Winner Laura Newman (PRNewsfoto/Diageo)

Laura managed to impress judges with her creative showmanship, thoughtful presentations and keen interest in providing the best hospitality for the customer. She said: “It’s truly an honor to be named the US Best Bartender of the Year and I can’t wait to continue on this journey. This was my third year competing in USBG World Class and as someone who was once told that I wouldn’t make it in craft cocktails as a female, I want every female bartender out there to take this accomplishment and know that they can do it too.”

Laura will now represent the US at the global competition, to be held in Berlin this October.