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Sean Kenyon of Williams & Graham: Bartender of the Year

On Saturday night, bartender Sean Kenyon of Williams & Graham did Denver very proud as he was named American Bartender of the Year at the Spirited Awards. Kenyon was among four finalists along with Jeff Bell (PDT, New York), Marcovaldo Dionysos (Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco), and Bobby Heugel (Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston). The Spirited Awards are held each year during Tales of the Cocktail, a prestigious bartending conference.

"I am still stunned by the whole thing," Kenyon said on the phone this morning. "I didn't think I was going to win. Someone from a secondary market doesn't have as much of a chance to win as much as people from the coasts and with the guys from New York and San Francisco in the running, I just didn't expect to win," he added.

Robert Simonson, author and journalist for the New York Times tweeted this after Kenyon's win.

Robert O. Simonson @RobertOSimonson · Jul 19
#spiritedawards win for @SeanKenyon likely to be biggest thing yet to happen to Denver cocktail scene, attention-wise. #totc

What did Kenyon say in his acceptance speech? "I thanked my wife — I couldn't do anything I do without her. I thanked my family at Williams & Graham — I love them. I thanked Steve Olson and Andy Seymour, two of my mentors. And I thanked my father; he never sat me down to tell me what to do but I learned everything I know about bartending and hospitality from him. I prepared nothing for my speech because I am superstitious, but I ended with a call to young bartenders everywhere: Honor yourself, honor your peers, and honor your craft."

While it didn't bring home the big win, Williams & Graham was a finalist in two categories - Best American Bar Team and Best American Cocktail Bar, a great honor for the LoHi speakeasy.

· The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink Now [EDen]
· Williams & Graham Named Finalist For Spirited Awards [EDen]
· Two Colorado Bars Are Contenders For Spirited Awards [EDen]
· Sean Kenyon On Teaching Bartenders Their Craft [EDen]
Sean Kenyon and wife Heather Angeli [Photo: Facebook]