Bar World 100 - an analysis of this year's list

Hamish Smith drills down into what makes someone a good candidate for Bar World 100 in association with Perrier.

Hailing from 39 cities across six continents and occupying jobs from bartenders to event organisers, consultants, content creators, journalists and historians, Bar World 100’s members can appear loosely connected.

But there are common qualities. Chief among them is an air of progressiveness, working in an independent, ethical way, towards a wider sense of equity or a more sustainable future. Crucially, few members of Bar World 100 put money ahead of cause. Or, perhaps more pertinently, few are seen to.

 The churn

Though the list sees change each year, it says something of the consistency of voters’ thinking that the majority of members make it from one list to the next. When you think the panel could vote for any of the thousands, if not millions, working in the drinks industry but, without prompt, arrive at many of the same names each year.

Twenty-six of the 100 that appeared in the first issue of Bar World 100 have featured in all six editions. And from one year to the next, we see about a quarter to a third of the 100 make way. This year there were 29 newcomers, 10 of whom had been in the list in previous years. Just 19 then were new to Bar World 100.  So a slow evolution, but far from a closed shop.


Where does the bar industry’s influence lie? Well it’s mostly between North America, Europe and Asia, which together make up three-quarters of the members of Bar World 100. The largest contributor is Europe which, with more than a third of the 100 calling it home, has the unique ability to spread its influence east and west. North American and Asian influence leans more toward home-region bias.

We tend not to talk in terms of countries in Bar World 100 but drill down to bar scenes. And while we’ve seen a broadening out of talent, with the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong, Barcelona, Mexico City, Miami and Bangkok attracting international talent in recent years, the traditional bar industry hubs retain their pull.

This year 10% of the list’s members are based in London, with a further five in commutable villages, towns and cities to the capital. Four of the top-10 most influential are based in London.

New York is home to eight members and remains the key melting pot in North America, though its global influence seems less pervasive than in the past, when much of the industry's heavyweight voices were here. David Wondrich is its highest ranked member this year at number 20.

In Asia there are twin hubs of influence – Singapore and Hong Kong – both of which contributed six members to the list. Asia is now an established force and its stars – the likes of Indra Kantono, Vijay Mudaliar, Jay Khan and Lorenzo Antinori – have global sway. With Holly Graham and Keith Motsi now in Tokyo, Japan – traditionally inward looking – now has a more international outlook and could join the fray.