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Mark Leopold, this year’s winner for Best Bartender, has mastered the art of “drinking one’s way to professionalism” in the classiest of ways. The Syracuse, N.Y., native also has a master’s degree in fisheries from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, but for now, he enjoys tending bar at Saltine, working close to something he’s passionate about: beer. Leopold learned how to bartend from his experience making himself drinks and learning on the fly. He has been working at Saltine’s bar since it opened in 2014, and now he’s comfortable behind the bar. Leopold said he’s met some of his closest friends in Jacktown from working with or serving them at work. Leopold really enjoys changing out Saltine’s 30 taps, rotating the beer inventory and stocking them with a lot of local beers. Someday, Leopold wants to open his own brewery.

“This experience has laid the groundwork for me to do that,” he says.—Arielle Dreher

WINNER: Best Bartender

Address: 622 Duling Ave Ste 201, Jackson, MS 39216

Phone number: 601-982-2899

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