Minnesota's Brian Zachau Crowned 'Greatest T.G.I. Friday's(R) Bartender in the World'

Zachau Emerges From Field of close to 7,000 Bartenders to Capture Title at Friday's® World Bartender Championship

CARROLLTON, Texas // PRNewswire // -- Brian Zachau, a 32-year-old bartender from the Maple Grove, Minnesota T.G.I. Friday's restaurant was crowned "The Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender in the World" at T.G.I. Friday's Worldwide Headquarters in Carrollton, Texas on Friday, following an intense finals competition between ten elite mixologists (bartenders) from around the globe. Ram Ong, from the Philippines placed second and Atillia Farmasi, from Hungary was third.

After four second place finishes and six overall appearances in the World Bartender Championship, Zachau finally broke through for his first world title. Zachau, a five-time defending U.S. Champion, now stakes the claim as the world's best. This is the first time in 13 years a U.S. bartender has the won the competition.

"Can't be any more perfect than this!" said Zachau after hearing his name announced as the winner. "I just kept practicing and competing. I knew I'd break through and win some day."

Nearly 7,000 Friday's bartenders from 60 countries entered this year's World Bartender Championship. The ten finalists exhibited their knowledge and showed off their flair through months of local, regional, divisional and national competitions to reach the finals. Friday afternoon's freestyle segment gave the competitors the ultimate stage to show off their flair techniques of tossing, balancing, mixing cocktails and flipping bottles in the air to choreographed music.

"These ten contestants represent the best of the best," said Nick Shepherd, president and chief executive officer of Carlson Restaurants Worldwide, parent of T.G.I. Friday's. "Today's competition is a testament to Friday's heritage of having the best mixologists in the world."

The finalists competed throughout the week in a variety of skills tests, compulsory and speed rounds, where they demonstrated their mastery of bar mechanics, including technical knowledge and accuracy.

Zachau received a $10,000 cash prize, bragging rights and a place in Friday's lore as well as a propeller engraved with his name to hang above his home Friday's bar. The propeller is a Friday's icon which signifies the bar as the engine that drives the restaurant's energy and atmosphere. Propellers hang above the bars in all T.G.I. Friday's locations worldwide.

The World Bartender Championship represents Friday's longstanding heritage, knowledge, expertise and innovation in the beverage industry. The competition 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.

Originators of the now-famous, trend-setting, bottle tossing "flair" style of bartending, T.G.I. Friday's bartenders are world renowned for their accuracy and precision, their larger than life personalities and their award-winning ability to entertain guests around the world.

With more than 900 restaurants in 60 countries, including approximately 600 restaurants in the U.S., T.G.I. Friday's offers great food, innovative drinks and a unique experience filled with flair and a Thank God It's Friday's™ attitude. Friday's authentic, engaging atmosphere makes it the perfect place to escape, socialize and connect with people while getting a rejuvenating second wind. Members of Give Me More Stripes®, Friday's guest recognition program, receive free stuff and special perks year-round. As the original casual dining restaurant, T.G.I. Friday's has a rich heritage which includes being credited with popularizing Happy Hour, Long Island Iced Tea and Loaded Potato Skins. T.G.I. Friday's is also famous for its flair bartenders, approximately 7000 of whom compete annually for the title of the "World's Greatest T.G.I. Friday's Bartender."

Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., the parent company of TGI Friday's Inc., is a privately held company owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson, a world leader in the hospitality and travel industries. As of March 2010, Carlson Restaurants Worldwide owns, operates, franchises or licenses more than 1,000 restaurants in 60 countries.

SOURCE T.G.I. Friday's Restaurants

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