Representing China, but hailing from Japan, Atsushi Suzuki was last week named the 2017 Chivas Masters Global Champion. The fourth winner of the prize, he beat off stiff competition from 14 of the world’s most skilled bartenders and can now look forward to an all-expenses-paid trip to Tales of The Cocktail 2017 in New Orleans.

Runner-up in the Chinese heats in 2016, Suzuki decided to give it another go this year and ended up taking home both the domestic and international crown with his exceptional lineup of drinks. An employee of the swanky Sober Company in Shanghai, he first started bartending at the age of 17 as a means to an end. He quickly got the hang of things and his reputation continued to grow as he traveled around the world with his work.

Speaking at the award ceremony held at the MIXX Bar & Lounge in the ANA InterContinental Tokyo, he said, “Wow. It is such an honor to receive this – and in my home town too. I feel like it’s a win for Japan as well as for China. And of course, it’s not just for me, but for my awesome team of Haydée and Ryan, and my sensei, Iain. I’ve found friends for the rest of my life through the Chivas Masters – and I’ve learnt how to be a better bartender too.”

The intense five-day competition included four individual drink-making rounds. Max Warner, Global Brand Ambassador for Chivas Regal also spoke at the ceremony. “The Chivas Masters Global Final has again shown the world the wonderful values and principles that great bartending can harness,” he said. “Atsushi fully took the Chivas Regal spirit of generosity and collaboration with him into the final, which was the eventual point of difference in a very tough field – alongside, of course, some spectacular bartending skills.”