Bartender Spirits Awards

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Alison Kwan

General Manager, Viridian, San Francisco

Alison Kwan began her first serious bartending roles overseas in Auckland, New Zealand. From 2011 to 2016, Alison worked for some of the city's best known bars, such as Everybody's, Mea Culpa, Racket, and Mexico Food & Liquor, with her final role as Venue Manager of 1885 Britomart. In 2015, Alison placed in the Top 5 for Diageo World Class NZ and was also selected to create a cocktail for Bombay Sapphire Project Botanicals.

She has been featured in Barker's Style Magazine, The New Zealand Herald, Britomart Scenezine, and other publications. Upon departing NZ for Las Vegas, she took a lead bartender position in the Palazzo, shortly before moving to the Bay Area to be closer to family. Since then, she's worked her way through the competitive bar scene in San Francisco, landing jobs at Lazy Bear, a two-Michelin starred restaurant, Nomica, (run by a once-Eleven Madison Park General Manager), award-winning cocktail bar True Laurel, Moongate Lounge, sister bar to Michelin-starred Mister Jiu's, and world-renown Hakkasan.

She is also a 2017 Top 8 Regional Speed Rack finalist, and a 2019 Top 8 national finalist for Heaven Hill's Bartender of the Year. In late 2019, she left her jobs to begin Viridian in Oakland with her business partners, one of whom is her life partner. In February 2020, the doors were opened with grand ceremony, and within three months, Tales of the Cocktail recognized Viridian as a Spirited Awards Honoree for Best New American Cocktail Bar (West Coast). Alison is currently General Manager of Viridian and is also the co-author of Viridian: Behind the Cocktail. 

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