Founded in 1987, the Association of Bartenders & Sommeliers, Singapore (ABSS) has been playing an active role in the F&B industry in Singapore. Each year, it organises cocktail competitions, all of which are immensely motivating to the bartenders.
The ABSS is highly regarded that it does not only just confine its activities to the promotion of bar and wine events in Singapore but has also been invited to other countries to conduct courses and organize competitions for their local bartending associations. These include Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Maldives, Mauritius and the Seychelles.
The worldwide body of the bartending trade, the International Bartenders Association (IBA) which was founded since 1951, decided for the first time ever to conduct the John Whyte Course, outside Europe, the IBA chose ABSS to organize the course. The first Singapore course took place in 1993. Today it is called the Elite Bartenders Course, more popularly known as the bartenders’ university. The Employment & Employability Institute (e2i) supports the elite course in recognition of ABSS industry role in upskilling Singaporeans and PRs to boost the craftmanship in bartending. Besides the elite course, ABSS also conduct bartender and bar management certifications with endorsement from IBA.
On the competition-front, ABSS continues to annually organize the National Cocktail Competition and the regional Asia-Pacific Bartender of the Year Cocktail Competition. In 2000, ABSS played host to 50 countries members of the IBA and organized the IBA-World Cocktail Competition and the 1st Flairtending Competition, and again in 2010. The biennial Sommelier Challenge which was first launch in 2011 and again in 2013, received one of the largest entries of about a hundred competitors from the industry’s wine trade.
In 2018, the Wine & Dine Industry Partnership Award presented by e2i was given to ABSS, Nanyang Polytechnic and School of Coffee who worked together to launch a beverage training lab to nurture the next generation of bartenders and baristas.
In 2019, a survey of over 100 bartending professionals and management revealed the key skills that bartenders should be equipped with to embrace Industry 4.0, such as customer interaction (adaptive), molecular mixology beverages and food and beverage pairing (technical).
Together in partnership with e2i, ABSS embarked on Bartender 4.0 to enable bartenders to be ready for the new heights in their jobs to strengthen their profession. Last year, master mixologists from some of Asia’s est Bars; Japan’s Bar Benfiddich and Hong Kong’s Quinary Bar joined our Singapore’s very own Native Bar to conduct workshops. Plans for more master mixologists have been rolled out and with e2i’s support, ABSS is fully committed to advance the bartending trade, and evolve to become International Bartender 4.0.