New Format Seeking the Pioneering Approach to Serving Genever.

Lucas Bols, the world’s oldest distilled spirits brand and creator of Bols Genever, announces that cocktail historian David Wondrich and Jim Meehan, bartender, journalist and author of The PDT Cocktail Book, will headline the panel of judges for the 2016 Bols Around the World competition. Online sign-ups to compete in the competition open September 1st.

Bols Around the World, now in its ninth year, has featured names from around the globe that have become synonymous with innovation and pioneering in bartending. This year Bols is reaching back over its full 440 years of Dutch distilling history to inspire the next generation of bartenders to follow in the footsteps of luminaries like Jerry Thomas and become pioneers framing the future of the industry.

“Genever was the original cocktail gin, and indeed when the great American mixologists of the nineteenth century, the ones who drew the lines we’re all coloring inside today, said ‘gin,’ nine times out of ten they meant ‘genever.’ It’s what we drank.”
– David Wondrich


David Wondrich

Photo Courtesy of Doron Gild

Cocktails and bartending are trending back to the classics – away from the costume-y attire and unnecessarily elaborate concoctions that inspired pop culture parodies on shows like Portlandia – and looking toward the future with an approach that rewards thoughtfulness and efficiency as well as the use of versatile ingredients. Under the rules of the competition, original cocktails are to use genever as a base and are not to contain more than five total ingredients.

“The first cocktail competition I entered (or heard of for that matter) was the Bols 200 in 2006, in which I created a genever cocktail with bottles hand carried to me from Europe before Bols Genever was launched in the United States. The experience opened my eyes to the mixability of genever and the global reach of mixology before we were all linked by the Internet. Ten years later, it brings me great pride to be part of the competition as a judge, and to continue to be part of the growth of the category and our industry all over the world.”
– Jim Meehan


Jim Meehan

In addition to Wondrich and Meehan, the panel of judges includes

  • Piet van Leijenhorst: Lucas Bols Master Distiller
  • Kate Gerwin: Bols Around the World Winner 2014
  • Malika Saidi: Bols global brand ambassador
  • Ivar de Lange: Lucas Bols Master Bartender

Bartenders can create a free profile September 1st through October 31st, 2016, at The first of three online competitions, called “Respect the Past, Celebrate the Future”, starts November 1st with the next heat beginning in January, 2017.

Regional finals will be held in February, 2017, and will be highlighted by a personal visit by one of the judges to the contestant’s bar.

Seven regional winners will compete on “Bols Genever Street” in Amsterdam May 8th-10th, 2017. The winner will receive a “BOLS GENEVER PIONEER AROUND THE WORLD TOUR” consisting of several stages that will help the winner improve her or his bartending skills and develop a deeper understanding of Holland’s national spirit. They’ll learn to distill with the Lucas Bols Master Distiller in Amsterdam, attend seminar series at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and master the unique approach to hospitality in Asia along with special skills like ice carving.

“Participating in BATW was life-changing. The experiences, the people, the education can never be replaced and have made me grow not only as a bartender but as a person. Being able to travel the world, experiencing the bar culture in different countries and learning from the bartenders who crossed paths is unimaginable. Nothing has come close.”
– 2014 Winner, Kate Gerwin

Kate-Gerwin headshot

Kate Gerwin

Photo Courtesy of Glasser Images

Key Dates

  • September 1st, 2016: Online sign-up begins
  • October 31st, 2016: Deadline for sign ups (competitors cannot join past this date)
  • November 1st, 2016: Heat 1 begins online
  • May 8th-10th, 2017: Grand Final Amsterdam


About Lucas Bols
Lucas Bols B.V. was originally established in 1575 in Amsterdam. 2015 marked the company’s 440 year anniversary. As one of the world’s leading cocktail liqueur and spirit producers, Lucas Bols prides itself on its commitment to innovation and excellence. For centuries, it has been mastering the art of mixing, blending and creating quality liqueurs using centuries old recipes, while striving to produce cutting edge, versatile solutions to suit contemporary palates. The Bols Liqueurs range comprises 30+ different flavors, making it a leading authority in the cocktail sector. Lucas Bols B.V. distributes across 110 countries worldwide.