OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Bartending competitions are typically male-dominated even though there are just as many female bartenders.
Their work often does not get the chance to be highlighted. 3 News Now reporter Arianna Martinez visited Site-1 Brewing, which hosted its very first all-female bartending competition.
"This is our first time hosting a cocktail competition. It all stemmed from a competition we went to recently, and we noticed there was only one female bartender who had the opportunity to compete and so we decided to take that and make it a little bit better and give more females a chance to shine," said Kristen Ipock, general manager of Site-1 Brewing.
Not only were the bartenders women but the rum they used is made by a woman-owned distillery in Council Bluffs.
"This was a fabulous experience. All the different cocktails that all of these women came up with, the different ways to infuse into our rum, was fabulous. I couldn't be happier," said Doreen Blakely, owner of Modern Matriarch.
This was the first bartending competition Ipock ever hosted. She wasn’t sure what the response would be but the house was packed.
"Everyone was really excited. I reached out to bartenders I knew. I reached out to restaurants and bars in the area and asked if they had anybody that would be interested, and we had a ton of responses and so narrowing that down was difficult, but we wanted to find bartenders all from different bars, so none of the people competing today work at the same bars. They all come from different areas.” Ipock said.
Nine women took a silver rum and made their own creative concoction. Some added sparkles. Others used unconventional glasses. But every drink was unique.
"I thought it was really great to see all of my fellow ladies in the industry come out and show off their best skills, and everyone really killed it today,” said Cathryn Grange, who won the competition and works at Laka Lono. “I thought every cocktail was fantastic, so it feels great to have a good game."
"I work with a lot of men bartenders, but I work with a lot of females as well. I think it's kind of even right now. I think it's always been a man's career in the past, but I think a lot more females are coming out with it,” added Heather Neave, a bartender at the Heights Draft Room.
You can now find Matriarch Rum in Omaha at Spirit World, which is another woman-owned business.
"It's now in Nebraska, all four flavors. Check out Spirit World, Laurie has got them all, " said Blakely.
Site-1 Brewing hopes to host more events like this in the future so make sure to check their schedule for upcoming events.