Friday's® crowns new world bartender champion as athletes pledge to continue campaign and seek global home for sport

Carrollton | March 16, 2011

Bartenders around the world are not backing down in their quest for athletic gold. Despite efforts in petitioning the International Olympic Committee, bartenders have yet to receive a definitive "yes/no" from their request for recognition for bartending as an official sport for the 2012 Olympic Games. But Friday's games have gone on regardless, with the crowning of the new 2010 World's Greatest Bartender in Dallas Monday night.

The new champion, Attila Farmasi from Budapest, Hungary, joins 2009 champ Brian Zachau, and thousands of others around the globe, in the quest to find a global home for the sport of bartending. After beating out nine other finalist hopefuls at the 20th anniversary of Friday's World Bartender Championship, Farmasi was crowned the 2010 World's Greatest Bartender and awarded a prize of $10,000. In addition, Friday's hosted its first "Favorite Bartender" online voting competition, naming Bradley Kaplan from Colorado as this year's Fan Favorite with more than 100,000 consumer votes.

"Holding the title of World's Greatest Bartender has never been more significant as we athletes petition to be recognized," said Farmasi, 2010 World's Greatest Bartender. "The intense training, athleticism and skills required to get to this level deem it worthy to be a part of one the most honored athletic organizations in the world, and we won't rest until bartending has a home."

Backed by 20 years of Friday's World Bartender Championships, and the signatures of nearly 15,000 supporters, Farmasi joins Zachau in leading the charge to show fans worldwide the skills, knowledge and training it takes to be at the top of the game when it comes to bartending. While the bartender athletes adhere to the virtual gag order from the official U.S. governing body, they remain determined to find an official athletic platform that acknowledges bartending as sport.

"This is not the time for us, or our family of bartenders to back down," said Trey Hall, chief marketing officer of T.G.I. Friday's®. "Whether it's competing on a global stage next summer in London or joining the ranks of other great athletic competitions somewhere else in the world, bartending will soon find an official home for its athletes."

More than 8,000 Friday's bartenders from 60 countries competed in this year's World Bartender Championship in hopes of landing one of ten finalist spots. After competing in a variety of skills tests, compulsory and speed rounds, the competition culminated in a freestyle showcase in Dallas, the home to Friday's. The athletes competed on the ultimate stage to show off their athletic prowess and innovative flair techniques. Competing against Farmasi was a gold medal team of finalists including Santiago Emeric, Orlando; Andy Hool, Canton, Minn.; Brad Kaplan, Colorado; Jessica Perrine, Hanover, Md.; Gabor Stanczik, Wayne, N.J.; Kristian Mihailin, Las Vegas; Naoki "Shio" Takashio, Japan; Kenjiro Yanagui Thorne, Peru; and David Kinglund, Sweden.

For more information on the World Bartender Championships and updates from Friday's, consumers can follow the brand on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TGIFridays), Twitter @TGIFridays and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/TGIFridays).

About T.G.I. Friday's

T.G.I. Friday's restaurants offer authentic American food and exciting drinks in an atmosphere that provides an energizing Friday feeling – any day of the week. Friday's® guest recognition program, Give Me More Stripes®, rewards our loyal guests with great deals and fun events year-round, creating an engaging customer experience. As the original casual dining restaurant, T.G.I. Friday's differentiates itself with a unique point of view which promises to exhilarate its guests with the feeling of Friday. T.G.I. Friday's, which operates more than 900 restaurants in more than 60 countries, is also famous for its knowledgeable and charismatic bartenders, approximately 8,000 of whom compete annually for the title of the "Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World." For more information, visit www.fridays.com.

For further information:
Rebecca Maas of Peppercom, 1-212-931-6126, for T.G.I. Friday's

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