Week two of the Never Never Have I Ever Bartender Challenge is done and dusted, with the Never Never team last night announcing this week’s task.
The task is to: “Open a bottle or can. Most impressive opening wins.”
Sean Baxter, Never Never Co-founder and Brand Director, said that judging what is the ‘most impressive’ in all the tasks is based on the creativity of the bartender as well as the skill. They’re looking for people to take an idea and make it uniquely their own.
To enter this week’s challenge, simply make a video of you attempting the task (no longer than 30 seconds), post it on social media with the hashtags #NeverNeverHaveIEver and #justpoppedthetopoff, then email it to email@example.com. You’ll be in the running to win a $150 voucher from a local venue, as well as going on the leaderboard to win the grand prize after all seven tasks, a trip for two to the launch of the new Never Never Distillery (after the pandemic).
Baxter said: “It’s definitely aimed at wider interpretation, that was certainly a part of it. We wanted quirky and we wanted weird, we wanted people talking to their dogs or people pretending that they’re robots or bartending to plants. We wanted that kinda level of fun and unique that is a little bit out there.”
The winner of last week’s task, which was to replicate a Friday night service at your venue, was Cam McKenzie, who certainly met the unique and fun factor with his dystopian future look at bar service.
Set in March 2033, a robot bartender called Drinkbot explains that the bar only serves robot drinks, like a Grease and Tonics and Unleaded Martinis, after the robot uprising. Baxter described the detail in McKenzie’s entries as being “on another level” in both tasks so far, which last week saw him make a trebuchet to fling ice into a glass.
It’s this type of outside-the-box thinking that Baxter encourages bartenders to think of for this week’s challenge.
“Always remember that we leave the challenge very open ended for a reason. Yes, you might be able to open up a bottle with a bar blade then precisely hit that lid into a bucket 20 meters away, three times in a row. That’s impressive,” Baxter said.
“I’m impressed by that because of the bar skills, but at the same time, there might be someone out there like a sommelier who’s just got the most outrageous saberage in the world and can open up a bottle of champagne with a wine glass. That’s impressive.
“So yes, it’s a Never Never competition. But what we really want to do is just see people’s skills, and facilitate a little bit of entertainment and content. People can do a whole range of different skills in our industry… there’s so much you can do.”
This appreciation and celebration of skills is what drives the challenge and it’s goals overall too, rather than a specific product, which is what sets Never Never Have I Ever apart from many competitions we’re used to, pre-pandemic.
Baxter told Bars and Clubs: “We just wanted to do something to engage bartenders who are currently feeling a little bit stressed, take their mind off where they’re currently at, and give them something to focus all of that creative energy that is usually bubbling away out of the surface. It’s very much a way of getting into bartender’s hearts and minds at the moment.”
As previously reported, prizes for each week of the challenge are supported by partner venues which include some of the most renowned bars across the country. Never Never hope that by supporting bars through these prizes, they can also help stimulate the on-premise industry as well as the bartenders that call it home.
Header image: Still from video by Cam McKenzie.