Industry Icon 2018

Industry Icon 2018, sponsored by nikka whisky: JOHN LERMAYER

A true larger-than-life personality and an icon of innovation and entrepreneurship in the bar world, John Lermayer left a void within the industry that cannot be filled. Instrumental in transforming Miami into an internationally renowned drinks destination during a two-decade career, Lermayer – who passed away at the age of 45 in June 2018 – is posthumously honoured with the Industry Icon Award for the incomparable footprint he left in the global bar scene.

Hailing from New York, Lermayer moved to Florida in the early 2000s, working at Morgans Hotel Group’s Skybar at Shore Club before he was picked by rock star Lenny Kravitz to lead the cocktail programme at a new basement bar in the iconic Delano.

Known for cocktails that combined surprising culinary elements with spirits, Lermayer travelled the world to find new ingredients and flavours. He mentored a series of award-winning bartenders – including Gabriel Orta of Broken Shaker – and opened up Miami’s mixology scene for a new generation of flavour-driven bartenders.

In 2015, Lermayer opened Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co, his first independent project, with partners David Martínez and Dan Binkiewicz. With one of the best bar teams in the world, Sweet Liberty rose over other Miami hotspots, having the city’s finest spirits selection and an exceptional culinary offer.

Following Lermayer’s untimely death, Sweet Liberty opened for a special celebration and he was remembered in a jazz funeral procession. The neon sign that dominates Sweet Liberty, proclaiming ‘pursue happiness’, has been ever-present in these celebrations, carrying on Lermayer’s life mission beyond his lifetime.

Sweet Liberty
237 20th Street
Miami Beach
FL 33139

NB: On October 8, 2019, The World's 50 Best Bars took the decision to accept the return of Charles Schumann's Industry Icon Award 2019 and confirmed that there will be no Industry Icon Award winner for the year. The Industry Icon Award will come back in 2020.