Indiana's Matt Lester Wins Central Division Title of T.G.I. Friday's® WorldBartender Champion

Indianapolis, IN | December 08, 2008

Matt Lester of the Mishawaka, Indiana T.G.I. Friday's restaurant defeated other top Larger than Life mixologists from across the Midwest last week to advance to the finals of T.G.I. Friday's® World Bartender Championship. Lester will be making his first trip to the finals where he will face eight other finalists from around the globe for the title of "Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World." All funds raised from the annual event benefited the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

I've been waiting for ten years to make it to the World Bartender Championship," said Central Division champion Lester. "It's an honor to represent T.G.I. Friday's which has the best bartenders in the world."

The divisional competition consisted of three segments -- compulsory, speed round and freestyle -- as well as a comprehensive skill test. The mixologists who competed in the Central Division competition are finalists from local, regional and super-regional competitions held earlier this fall.

Overall, more than 8,000 Friday's® bartenders from 62 countries are testing their knowledge and skills in their quest to reach the finals of the World Bartender Championship which will be held March 10, 2009 in Dallas.

The competition, which represents Friday's heritage, knowledge, expertise and innovation in the beverage industry, began back in the late 80s as a challenge between bartenders and has grown into a full representation of the Friday's brand, one of the most recognized brands in the world. Friday's originated the now-famous, trend-setting, bottle-tossing "flair" style of bartending and its long history of innovation includes popularizing the term "Happy Hour".

There are 930 T.G.I. Friday's restaurants in 62 countries. To find a Friday's location, visit http://www.fridays.com.

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