Friendly competition in Atlantic City
On June 5, dozens of bartenders from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware descended upon the Ri Ri Irish Pub at the Tropicana Atlantic City to answer a question that has been asked again and again through the ages: “What area pub pours the best pint of Guinness?”
To answer the question, Guinness held dozens of Perfect Pour competitions among hundreds of participating bars in municipalities throughout the Tri-State region. The winner and runner-up in each competition qualified for the June 5 Regional Finals.
“It’s a great way to infuse the importance of Guinness quality and legacy, with some fun healthy competition among the top Guinness accounts in the Tri-State,” says Dustin Davis, On-Premise sales manager for Standard Distributing, the company that distributes Guinness in Delaware.
Guinness is perhaps the only brewery in the world that encourages a specific six-step procedure for pouring its product. All six steps were factors in the Perfect Pour competition.
Locally, competition ran from February through March 17. After all the pints had been poured and downed, Dead Presidents Pub in Wilmington was declared the Champion of the Perfect Pour, with Klondike Kate’s earning Runner-Up, and bartenders from both establishments went to the Regionals.
As it turned out, Fritz Ablao of Kate’s and Chris Murphy of Dead Presidents would go head-to-head in the first round, with Murphy edging out Ablao to advance to the second round. In a later match-up, Dead Presidents owner Brian Raughley also advanced after defeating a bartender from New Jersey.
From there the competition got noticeably tougher. Neither Raughley nor Murphy would advance to the Final Four, which saw the hosting bar, Ri Ri Irish Pub, named the ultimate champion.
If it was a case of home-field advantage, no one was complaining. With the Guinness flowing freely from tap handles and grins on the faces of competing bartenders, one would have thought this was a party among longtime friends. It was a lively atmosphere from start to finish, an Irish grudge match in which, at the end of the day, everyone won.