Richard Gomez Named First Ever World Class U.S. Ambassador

Congrats to Ricky Gomez, a bartender at Portland's Teardrop Lounge, for being named the first-ever USBG & World Class U.S. Ambassador.

Twenty mixologists, five Cocktail Luminaries, four challenges – all to determine who will journey to Rio de Janeiro to represent the United States in the world's largest international cocktail program.  After months of scouring the country and searching for America's top talent behind the bar, the United States Bartenders' Guild has named Richard Gomez the first ever Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador. Emerging from the nation's top cocktail talent, Ricky will travel toBrazil in July to compete at the World Class Global Final against 47 of his peers from around the globe.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity and I can't express how excited I am to be the first ever Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador," said Gomez. "My fellow participants are an amazing illustration of American mixology talent and I am truly honored that my skills were chosen to represent the U.S. in the international finals this summer."

This announcement of the Diageo World Class U.S. winner concludes a two-month, nationwide search for the top mixologists and bartenders led by the USBG. BeginningApril 4, 2012, cocktail craftsmen from across the country applied online for the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of cocktail culture. Following the close of entries, 20 finalists were chosen to travel to one of the cocktail capitals of the United States, New York City, to prove their skills.

On June 19, 2012, the finalists competed in four challenges judged by top Cocktail Luminaries including Jim Meehan, Tony Abou-Ganim, Julie Reiner, Steve Olson and USBG National President David Nepove. After months of preparation, Gomez emerged victorious and was named the ultimate honoree during a celebration ceremony at New York's IAC Center.

"We are extremely excited to extend Ricky Gomez the opportunity to become the first ever Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador," said Mark Schulte, Diageo's Senior Vice President of Customer Marketing. "We know that his supreme talent, cocktail knowledge and mixology skills will make the United States proud when representing our country at the international competition in Brazil. We are confident that he will personify American cocktail culture and enter the World Class league by celebrating with World Class responsibility."

The World Class Global Final is a landmark week in the spirits industry that sets the trends of mixology worldwide. While in Brazil, Gomez will spend five days participating in a series of challenges judged by some of the most renowned and respected in the industry and have the opportunity to earn the title of "Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year."

For additional information about the program and Ricky Gomez's journey to becoming the Diageo World Class U.S. Ambassador, visit www.DiageoWorldClassUSA.com. Join the conversation by following @WorldClassUS on Twitter, use the hashtag #CocktailChallenge and visit https://www.facebook.com/DiageoWorldClassUS.

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