GULF SHORES AND ORANGE BEACH, ALA. – Eight coastal Alabama bartenders competed for the title of 2014 Gulf Coast Bartender of the Year on Wednesday, Sept. 24 at LuLu’s Gulf Shores in a regional qualifier for the state competition.

In a tight race, Mack McCaleb, III of LuLu’s wowed the judges and edged out the other competitors with his swift skills and calm composure, while Trea Melville of LuLu’s and Lucy B Goode claimed second place and Jeff Robinson of the Renaissance Battle House Hotel and Spa in Mobile came in third.

“We were honored to host the event, and we are extremely proud that LuLu’s bartenders claimed first and second places two years in a row,” said Dustin Smith, the restaurant’s beverage manager. “Mack has worked for us for several seasons now and has continued to perfect his skill each year. Having spent countless hours studying and preparing for this competition paired with becoming the proud dad of twin girls is a major accomplishment.”

The contest was sponsored by Casmigos Tequila, American Harvest Vodka and Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur and hosted by the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance (ARHA) along with Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Tourism (GSOBT). Before the event, professional bartenders were tasked with memorizing a list of 20 cocktail recipes using the featured spirits from sponsoring companies. During the competition, each contestant created four randomly selected cocktails as well as a signature cocktail of choice in just 10 minutes.  

“Each competitor was under an enormous amount of pressure to memorize recipes and study in advance and faced a nerve-racking time limit during the competition,” said Joanie Flynn, vice president of marketing for GSOBT. “It was amazing to see Mack craft top notch cocktails with grace while entertaining the crowd, and our destination is proud to take part in events like this that celebrate culinary excellence in our region and state.”

As a regional winner, McCaleb received $200, a plaque and automatically advances to the State Bartender of the Year competition, which will take place in Auburn on Oct. 27.

“We are very excited about Mack’s trip to Auburn, and we’re looking forward to him attempting to bring home the title for LuLu’s and coastal Alabama,” Smith said.

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Check out for more information on the ARHA, for more on the spirits sponsor and for more about the host venue. For more information on this family beach destination, visit and 



Category: Food & Lifestyle
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