Press Release

On Sunday, February 25, hundreds of cocktail lovers and enthusiasts gathered at the DeSoto Central Market to see who would be declared the 2018 Arizona Star Bartender at the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition. Heat by heat, the bartenders took to the stage to create a custom cocktail using the provided ingredients, all made with locally distilled spirits from Arizona.

Event Results

Heat 1:

Shawn Campbell – The VIg

Manny Pena – The Windsor

Matt Minsky – Hula’s Modern Tiki

Result: Shawn Campbell of The Vig won Heat 1 with the Desert Departure, made with Del Bac Mesquite Smoked Whiskey, pineapple juice, lime juice, bell pepper simple syrup, and aztec chocolate bitters.

Heat 2:

Daniel Friedman – Desoto Central Market

Brien Corwin – Tempe Public Market Cafe

Ryan Shinn – The Breadfruit

Result: Brien Corwin of Tempe Public Market won Heat 2 with the Grand Jeté made with Three Wells Old Tom Gin, Ancho Reyes chile liqueur, carrot, lime, celery, and cinnamon.

Heat 3:

Kapono Rowe – Welcome Diner

JT Taber – Gallo Blanco

Lauren Johnson – The Gladly

Result: JT Taber of Gallo Blanco won Heat 3 with the Tres Lluvias made with Tres amigos reposado tequila, creosote, paolo santo, citrus, and sage.

Final Round (Winners of Each Heat):

Shawn Campbell – The Vig

Brien Corwin – Tempe Public Market Cafe

JT Taber – Gallo Blanco

Result: Shawn Campbell of The Vig won the title of 2018 Arizona Star Bartender with ingredients from the pantry of secret ingredients. Shawn’s cocktail, “Unicorn Tear,” featured OHSO Distillery’s Arcadia Lemon Vodka, Iconic Cocktail’s Unicorn Mix, pineapple juice, simple syrup, and chocolate bitters.

Shawn will be featured with his restaurant and winning cocktail in a center-stage appearance at the 2018 Devour Culinary Classic and be given the opportunity to showcase their personal brand in collaboration with In addition, the winner will receive a selection of unique products and spirits to refine their craft, with a retail value of $500; an on-air interview hosted by Beth and Friends of KEZ 99.9, the official radio of Devour Phoenix; and be ultimately crowned with the coveted title of Devour Phoenix Star Bartender.

Attendees of the Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition could sample cocktails from all nine contenders and vote for their favorite using the official ballot. JT Taber of Gallo Blanco, who also won Heat 3, won the People’s Choice vote with his Tres Lluvias cocktail.

The Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition is made possible with support from Hensley Beverage Company, Quench Fine Wines, OHSO Distillery, Downtown Phoenix, Inc., Desoto Central Market, Iconic Cocktail Company, Phoenix Public Market, Hey Bartender!, Pope Lime, Pride Group, KEZ 99.9, MR Phx, Phoenix New Times, Think! Graphics & Printing, Lyft, Bite Magazine, Whiskey Del Bac/Hamilton Distillers, Three Wells Distilling. 3 Amigos Tequila, and Recyclebank.

The Devour Phoenix Bartending Competition kicks off the weeklong Devour Culinary Classic, the Valley’s premier culinary event. Other events that make up Devour Week, including the Seven Chefs Dinner, Devour the World, and the Devour Culinary Classic, are all sold out at this time. Devour Week is presented by Local First Arizona, Desert Botanical Garden, and Arizona Business Committee for the Arts. More event information can be found at

About Local First Arizona

Founded in 2003 by Director Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona (LFA) is a statewide non-profit organization working to strengthen communities and local economies through growing, supporting, and celebrating locally owned businesses throughout the state of Arizona. LFA seeks to promote, support, and celebrate a vibrant and sustainable Arizona economy by educating consumers, stakeholders, business leaders, and policymakers about local business ownership, social equity, cultural diversity, environmental kinship, and collaboration. Visit for more information and a directory of more than 3,000 locally owned businesses.

This post is shared as a courtesy! If you are interested in partnering with Wander With Wonder for coverage of an upcoming event or opportunity please contact us. 

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