Over 170 bars competed to be in the running to become New Zealand’s first-ever top Guinness bar with The Rivers in Gisborne taking out the top title.

The nationwide search began in July as Guinness New Zealand set out to find a bar that stood out from the crowd.

Bars were scored on volume targets, customer events and the ability to promote their individual bar activity to the public.

Melissa and Ian Murphy, owners of The Rivers, ran a number of engaging initiatives and events throughout the competition period, including a Guinness degustation dinner, a chance for customers to ‘pour their own pint’, and Guinness cocktails to appeal to those with a sweeter palate.

“This promotion has been nothing but positive. It has engaged our staff of all ages and the team in the kitchen and the bar were all actively involved,” said Melissa.

The Rivers not only take home the golden pint and the prestigious title of being new Zealand’s Top Guinness Bar, but they also receive a trip for to Ireland for a VIP tour of the Guinness brewery and Bushmills Distillery. Bar staff will also receive $2,000 towards and experience of their choice.