Houston, TX (August 5, 2020)Black Restaurant Week and Maker’s Mark are hosting                                      Power of the Palate – the official Black Restaurant Week cocktail competition. This year, the spirits and mixed drink themed competition, in partnership with Maker’s Mark, will be held virtually to find out which city in the nation has the top black craft bartender.

The cities participating are:


  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Detroit, MI
  • Houston, TX
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Louisville, KY
  • Miami, FL
  • Newark, NJ
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • Oakland, CA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Tampa Bay, FL
  • Washington DC


The National Bracket Competition begins August 10, 2020 and lasts until September 28, 2020. Black Restaurant Week has recruited the best bartenders from 16 select cities and true to its mission is representing bartenders with a variety of backgrounds including African American, African, and Caribbean heritages. Contestants will compete in a live virtual bracket style competition each Monday on Black Restaurant Week’s Facebook Live at 6:00PM ET starting on Monday, August 10th.

In each round, the virtual audience and special judges will select their favorite recipe and live cocktail demonstration. During each competition round, bartenders will be challenged to create bourbon cocktails with different ingredients and themes. Bartenders will be judged on drink presentation, understanding flavor profiles, and overall personality.

Special guest judges include Chef Kenneth Temple (Food Network Chopped Winner), Chef Max Hardy (Celebrity Chef and owner of COOP Detroit), Cheryl Slocum (James Beard Award-winning Food Writer) and Samara Rivers (Founder of Black Bourbon Society) among other notable individuals within the food and spirits industries.

“We are excited to provide a national platform to showcase diversity within the spirits industry,” said Falayn Ferrell, co-founder of Black Restaurant Week. “Our contributions to the spirits industry have not always been highlighted nationally; however, we have proven that our community serves as a consumer audience that appreciates finer cocktails and enjoys creative culinary experiences.”

The Championship Event will be hosted on October12, and feature the top 2 bartenders competing live virtually for a panel of culinary and beverage industry leaders. The winner will be presented a grand prize of $5,000 from Black Restaurant Week and title of the top black bartender in the nation.

Viewers are encouraged to join in on the fun to watch their city’s bartender battle for People’s Choice votes during the competition. Additionally, virtual viewers can recreate any of the winning drinks in the competition for a chance to win a custom Whiskey Tasting Party Box from Black Restaurant Week.

Community partners include National Urban League Young Professionals, National Black MBA Association, Chefwear, Black Bourbon Society, 18.21 Bitters and Rain + Sky.

About Black Restaurant Week

Black Restaurant Week LLC is an annual, multi-city culinary movement celebrating the flavors of African, African-American and Caribbean cuisine nationwide. Black Restaurant Week partners with black-owned restaurants, chefs, caterers and food trucks to host a selection of culinary experiences aimed to expand awareness and increase support for black culinary professionals. The organization was founded in 2016 by entrepreneurs Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell and Derek Robinson. Connect with Black Restaurant Week on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

About Maker’s Mark® Bourbon


In 1953, in Loretto, Ky., Bill Samuels, Sr., fulfilled his dream to create a handmade and delicious bourbon. He decided to make his whisky in small batches, using soft red winter wheat to enhance the softness and sweetness. He then rotated each barrel by hand for consistency and, finally, aged each barrel to taste. Bill Samuels, Sr., transformed bourbon from a “commodity” into a premium handmade spirit, and today Maker’s Mark® continues to make its bourbon the same way. In recent years, Maker’s Mark has introduced thoughtful, super-premium innovations to its portfolio, including Maker’s Mark 46®, Maker’s Mark® Cask Strength and Maker’s Mark® Private Selection, the brand’s first-ever custom barrel program. For more information, visit makersmark.com.



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