The International Master Bartender competition - which in its sixth year saw 16,000 bartenders from around the world compete - culminated in a 15-bartender, week-long final in the Czech Republic.
The annual competition is the showcase event of Pilsner Urquell’s quality assurance programme.
At the heart of the event is the brand’s ‘perfect pour’ ritual, but the fifteen finalists were also taken to Pilsner Urquell’s brewing headquarters in Pilsen for a written exam and an interview in front of a panel of beer experts.
The final stage saw a narrowed field of five demonstrate their pouring skills in front of a live audience in Prague, webcast viewers and a judging panel which comprised: beer writer Alastair Gilmour; Pilsner Urquell senior trade brewer Vaclav Berka; 2010 IMB winner Lukas Svoboda; director of the Cicerone Certification Program Ray Daniels; and Ron Busman, vice president Europe, International Bartenders Assocation.
Petr Dvorak, global brand director for Pilsner Urquell, said: “More than 16,000 bartenders have taken part in the competition over its duration and it is great for us to see the care, focus and dedication they are putting into the serve.
“Each year, we are pleasantly surprised by the standards we see and remain committed to ensuring this professionalism is given the necessary rewards.”
Second and third place went to Jaroslav Učík from the Czech Republic and Peter Škripko from Slovakia, who both join McCormack in winning the opportunity to spend two months in London, UK.
The prize includes a two-week language course, followed by a staff position in an “internationally renowned Pilsner Urquell flagship outlet”.
All of the finalists will join senior brewmaster, Vaclav Berka, in brewing a batch of beer to be served at the 169th anniversary celebrations on November 10.
As winner, McCormack will also brew his own personal batch in the Pilsner Urquell micro-brewery. It will later be delivered to his bar, The Merrion Inn in Dublin.
On winning the title of International Master Bartender, McCormack said: “All the bartenders have so much passion and have worked so hard to get here. I can’t wait to bring the inspiring legends of Pilsner Urquell to Dublin and across the globe.”