The Ship Pub hosted this year’s regional Caesar Competition, an annual event sponsored by Motts Clamato. The winner, Heather Rose of The Fifth Ticket, will be representing our fair city in the Motts Best Caesar in Town National Competition on November 20th

Besides the obvious boost to their bartending resumes and free trip to Toronto, this event is also a chance  for entrants to get to know other bartenders and share skills. The crowd was small, tight knit, and very interested in all the details of the extra special Caesars the bartenders devised, in hopes of bringing the tomato red trophy home. Any amateur mixologist would enjoy this crowd and the tricks being shared. The downtown core of the city was represented by bars including Merchant Tavern and Beir Markt.

Merchant's rep (left) and winner (right)

Merchant’s rep (left) and regional winner Heather Rose (right)

Fifth Ticket Takes Top Two Prizes

Fifth Ticket took not only 1st place, with Heather’s win, but also 2nd place, which went to Andrew Dawe, their second representative. A colourful presentation from Klondike Jake’s reminded me that the Village Mall is still an option in life. If other staff is as fun as she was, Klondike’s might just be a hidden gem in that part of town.

Defending champ Lyndsey Hamen of The Ship may have lost the battle this year, but her unique Winter Caesar, featuring pickled beet garnish, juniper berry sea salt rim, and iceberg ice was a tasty ode to Newfoundland . The diversity was impressive in the entries.

Ship Management Step in As Male Contestant Heckles Female Journalist

Where The Ship took top honors in this year’s event was in helping a journalist do her job in a calm and professional fashion while being harassed.

As someone who often photographs events at the Ship, I stand on the back bench to shoot, raising myself a little above the crowd to make up for my shortish stature. A male Bier Markt contestant and his 2 companions, a middle-aged couple who could have put any crazed hockey mom to shame, began to harass me, as they felt I was blocking their view.

I attempted to explain I was with a local paper and covering the event, sanctioned by both The Ship and the organizers, and that I would be out of their way as quickly as I could. I simply needed to be in this spot to do my job.

This was where it began to get ugly, with degrading comments and thinly veiled threats. At first I attempted to ignore them. I’ve never been treated this way before, and didn’t want to let bad energy get in the way of getting work done.

I became more frightened as the bullying kept up and I was told repeatedly to “go back to my barstool” as “chicks who dress like you aren’t real press,” and “you’re not welcome here, no one cares about you.”

It had become psychopathic so I quietly spoke to an owner of The Ship and we decided it was best to photograph from behind the bar and deal with the events after the competition had been successfully completed.

Bier Markt Respectfully Issue Apology and Fire the Man for His Actions

A great time was had by contestants and judges alike and it was a joy to see Heather’s face when she took the trophy.

The judges enjoying the show

The judges enjoying the show

The next day I contacted Bier Markt general manager Lindsay Klyne for comment before making any judgments on the establishment . It’s new, and finding its feet right now in the city, and I’d like to give any new business in the current economic climate the benefit of the doubt. It’s tough times, and I feel a little solidarity with anyone trying to offer more to the city is a good thing.

Contacting Lindsay was the best thing I could have done. She had not even known this man had entered the competition, and was mortified that the Bier Markt had been misrepresented in such a horrible way.

She went on to explain the establishment has a strict no bullying policy and employees must sign an agreement to abide under a code of conduct including that policy, both in the bar and while representing the bar at events.

The employee was immediately terminated  and emails were sent out to all staff to remind them that bullying is grounds for dismissal. I received a written apology.  A lesson in dealing with this sort of situation correctly.

As shaken as I was the night of the event, 2 days later I feel more faith in my community and am very grateful to the management of both The Ship and The Bier Markt for making it possible for me to do my job with dignity.