San Juan, PR — Roberto Berdecia, co-founder of Colectivo Ícaro —La Factoría, JungleBird and Caneca Coctelería Móvil —was named Bartender of the Year 2017 by the International Rum Conference (IRC). The IRC announced the award on Tuesday and explained that the Puerto Rican bartender got the highest score in both the popular vote and by a panel of expert judges that evaluated the nominees.
"It is an honor to be among this group of talented colleagues from around the world and to be recognized for the work we do on the island. I am proud to bring a little joy to our people in the midst of difficult times like the ones we are experiencing today in Puerto Rico. Also, I want to thank all the people who took their time to vote," Berdecia said.
The other nominees for the IRC awards were: Luilly Hernandez (Mexico), Josefran Martins Silva (Brazil), José María Maraver (London), Guillaume C Leblanc (Paris) and Carlos Enrique Cuarta (Venezuela).
According to the organization, those selected are considered to be leaders "in terms of the bartending industry, as seen from the point of view of judges and professional experts."
Roberto Berdecia began his career as a bartender 14 years ago. During that time he has traveled the world in search of perfecting his mixology skills. He obtained first place in the local World Class competition of 2011 and represented Puerto Rico in the global competition.
In 2013, he founded La Factoría along with his partner Leslie Cofresí and entrepreneur, Pablo Rodríguez. La Factoría is the only bar in Puerto Rico, and second in Latin America to be a part of the World's 50 Best Bars. Later, under Colectivo Ícaro, Berdecía also opened JungleBird and Caneca Coctelería Móvil, in Santurce.