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Judges

Award winners will be chosen by an independently appointed judging panel who will review written entries and carry out a blind tasting.

Hilary Jones (Chair of the Judging Panel)

Hilary Jones (Chair of the Judging Panel)

A BSc graduate from Edinburgh University, Hilary joined Scottish & Newcastle in 1981 and enjoyed a varied career within the global drinks industry including managing the then famous Tyne Brewery in Newcastle, and Theakstons Brewery in Yorkshire. Latterly – before its takeover by Heineken - she was S&N’s Group Technical & Quality Director, looking after brewing quality in seven European countries as well as the Baltika joint venture in Russia.

In 1995, she was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. In 2005 she became the first woman President of European Brewery Convention, where she led its merger with the trade association, Brewers of Europe.

In ‘retirement’ from the world of corporate brewing she co-manages (with Petra Wetzel) Heidi Beers Ltd in Glasgow, which brews and distributes the WEST family of beer brands. She also sits on the Board of Sikh Sanjog, the Edinburgh-based charity which supports Sikh and other ethnic minority women to integrate into mainstream Scottish society and the employment market.

Craig Brown

Craig Brown

Craig has over 20 years experience in food & drink retail, working in senior management roles with Sainsbury’s, Tesco & Safeway.

Two years ago he founded Ross & Brown a retail, food & drink consultancy with his business partner Simon Ross, offering business development consultancy to both retailers and food & drink manufacturers. Specialising in category management for retailers and domestic & international account management for food & drink producers mainly in Scotland.

One of this years major success stories was to bring the Craft Beer of Scotland brand into the UK Multiple retail space with Asda, listing nine different Scottish Brewers, who are Clan members and eighteen new beers.
Craig has a real passion for the food & drink produced in Scotland and in particular the craft drinks sector.

Paul Demarco

Paul Demarco

Paul is Managing Director of Marcos Leisure, a 3rd generation Family Business based in Edinburgh. He has over 20 years experience working in the licensed trade operating Bars, Leisure venues, mobile cocktail bars and One of Scotland’s busiest event venues, the Edinburgh Corn Exchange. The venue is a proud host and supporter of The Edinburgh Gin Festival, CAMRA real Ale Beer festival and the Scottish Beer Awards.

Paul enjoys a beer and loves to judge on a regular basis its merits, good to be able to put that skill finally into practice.

Brian Eaton

Brian Eaton

Originally from the Isle of Man, and currently self-employed as BE Inspired providing technical consultancy and training
to the brewing and distilling industries. He graduated with an Honours degree in Chemical Engineering from Birmingham University and an MSc in Malting and Brewing Science from the Birmingham Brewing School under Professor James Hough.

Joining Allied Breweries he worked for 30 years in a variety of roles in engineering, production and packaging before taking the post of Head Brewer at the Alloa Lager Brewery, Scotland in 1985.

On the closure of the Alloa Brewery in 1998, he moved to Joshua Tetley’s Brewery, Leeds, as Head Brewer and Chief Engineer. He joined ICBD, Heriot-Watt University in January 2001 where he was the Course Director for the brewing and distilling undergraduate and postgraduate courses until July 2009. He is a Committee Member and Treasurer of the IBD Scottish Section.

Ruth Evans MBE

Ruth Evans MBE

Ruth Evans MBE is CEO for BFBi (Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers’ Association, formed in 1907). She has
been with the Association for 16 years, the past 12 as CEO. BFBi is believed to be the only trade association in the world representing an entire value chain into the beverage industry and gives Ruth a unique view across all sectors.

The Association owns and runs the bi-annual International Brewing Awards, the oldest international brewing competition in the world (started in 1888). Cider returned to the Awards in 2011, via The International Cider Awards.

Ian Herok

Ian Herok

Ian commenced his brewing career in 1966 with Scottish & Newcastle Breweries working in the micro lab and process
plant. Leaving S&N, he joined Heriot Watt University Department of Brewing and Biochemistry as a brewing technician before attending Stirling University.

With Tennent Caledonian Breweries in Glasgow & Edinburgh, he worked in a variety of production positions before moving to Bass Export and spent several years as Brewery Manager in the P.R.O.C. (Tianjin) and subsequently in Asia and the Americas in various commercial and technical roles.

Ian moved to Belhaven Brewery in 1991 as Production Director moving to Divisional MD and part of the successful MBO. As a qualified Master Brewer and Fellow and Life member of the IBD he has been responsible for the development, generation and marketing of products such as Belhaven Best, St Andrews Ale, 10 Saints (Barbados) and a ‘bung of craft beers’. Ian now runs a drinks consultancy business, StillBrewing Company Ltd. Inexorably but gradually moving into full retirement.

Charlie Hughes

Charlie Hughes

Charlie has been a member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) since getting involved in rescuing his village pub in County Durham from closure. Former treasurer of Wear Valley branch. Moved to Edinburgh two years ago and joined the Edinburgh and South East Scotland branch. Has just become chair of their tasting panel – responsible for keeping Good Beer Guide tasting notes up to date and making nominations for CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain awards.

Hobbies (apart from pubs) include walking, jazz and cooking. Now retired and can’t work out how he ever had time to run a housing association in a former existence.

Colin Johnston

Colin Johnston

Colin entered the brewing world in the best possible way; tasting a great beer in a pub and asking the company for a job. Colin has worked across the industry in many differing roles of the past 7 years, principally focussed on process, operations, projects management and engineering at WEST, Tennents and C&C.

After being part of the team that set up Drygate then running it as Operations Director, he became an independent consultant in the industry under Maru Projects and is now working with a variety of clients on a diverse range of projects from brewhouse setup and expansions to quality systems and business development. He is now Sales Manager for Crisp Malting Group based in Cheshire.

Andrew Ley

Andrew Ley

Andrew is a leading corporate lawyer who has carved a niche representing the Scottish food and drink sector among a number of other sectors.

Andrew has spent the last 16 years specialising in corporate transactional work. He led the team which helped to create The Capital Pub Company plc in 2000 and which, having floated it on AIM in 2007, sold it to Greene King plc in September 2011 for an enterprise value of £93 million.

Andrew also helped to establish Par Equity in 2008. Par Equity has now created and manages a range of innovative investment products and funds, financed by a strong investor syndicate.

Rob MacKay

Rob MacKay

Rob has been working in craft beer for three years, at the UK’s fastest growing food & drinks company, BrewDog. Initially covering a range of marketing activity, he soon switched to a graphic design role (that being his background).

Rob sat the Certified Cicerone exam within three weeks of joining BrewDog - he learned loads and was invited to attend numerous taste panels, where he discovered how crucial quality control is to the industry. He’s honoured to continue to work alongside a team of highly trained sensory analysts. In 2015 he went on to sit the Master Cicerone exam, and became the tenth person worldwide to pass and achieve the rank of Master Cicerone.

Most recently he’s been heavily involved in new product development and bringing awesome beer from concept to launch. Rob’s job roles works at a ferocious pace and every day is different. He’s honoured to work with an ever-expanding team of passionate and enthusiastic people, to make incredible beer.

Dr Dawn Maskell

Dr Dawn Maskell

Dawn Maskell is the Director of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University. Dawn has a PhD from Oxford Brookes University in brewing yeast physiology and an Honours degree in Brewing and Distilling from Heriot-Watt University.

Previously she worked on the valorisation of brewery and distillery co-products. Dawn is a member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling with a Diploma in Brewing and is an accredited Chartered Scientist. Dawn is also on the Board of Examiners for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and the programme committee for the 2017 Worldwide Distilled Spirits Convention.

Stephen McGowan

Stephen McGowan

One of Scotland's most renowned licensing lawyers, Stephen has represented brewers, distillers and the licensed trade at licensing board hearings all over the country and his expertise in licensing law is recognised at the highest levels. He has sat on a number of Scottish Government expert groups and gave evidence to Parliament in connection with licensing reforms in 2015 and 2016. He was appointed the Chairman of the Institute of Licensing Scotland in November 2016 and was previously the Chairman of the British Institute of Innkeepers Scotland from 2012 to 2016.

Stephen is recognised in both Chambers and Legal 500, both independent guides to the UK legal market, as a leading expert in licensing, and is also a significant author in this area, having written four books including "Licensing and Gambling Law in Scotland" (2009) and "Local Government Licensing Law in Scotland" (2012), contributes regularly to legal journals and trade publications, and is a sought-after speaker.

Stephen also has close ties to the licensed trade itself. He is a member of CAMRA, the Incorporations of Maltmen and Coopers at Glasgow's Trade House, and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) Scottish region. In addition to this, Stephen was made a trustee of licensed trade charity "The Ben" (The Scottish Licensed Trade Benevolent Society) in April 2015. Stephen was made a partner at law firm TLT LLP in November 2012 and heads up the Scottish licensing team.

He previously worked in the licensed trade itself as a barman in a Partick pub.

Christopher S. Miller

Christopher S. Miller

Industry veteran Chris who joined Bass Brewers 20 years ago went on to Caledonian Brewery before growing Harviestoun Brewery into one of the UK’s leading craft beer producers.

Chris heads up the The Craft Beer Clan which he founded in 2014 with Scottish wholesaler J.W. Filshill. The Craft Beer Clan has quickly established itself as Scotland’s leading domestic & international consolidator / exporter of craft beer & spirits. The Craft Beer Clan represents a growing portfolio of brews from all regions of Scotland & utilises expertise in the market to consolidate for importers, distributors & retailers enabling consumers access to the variety and depth of beer styles from the brewing excellence of Scotland’s craft producers.

Miller who is also a director of parent company J.W. Filshill, has recently formed a new brewing venture in partnership with Scott Williams, founder and brewmaster of Williams Brothers Brewing Co, and international whisky expert, Master of the Quaich Charles PB MacLean.

The Clan Brewing Company recently launched a series of four whisky barrel-aged beers matured in regional single malt casks & exports to China,Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan & Scandinavia.

Chris is also a non-exec of BrewGooder, the new craft beer brand produced in partnership with BrewDog which donates 100% of its profit to clean water projects.

Sean Murphy

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things beer and whisky-related, Sean writes for the Scotsman extensively on both subjects.

He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his beer knowledge.

Ryan O’Rorke

Ryan O’Rorke

Ryan O’Rorke is the co-founder of Flavourly.com - the UK’s leading craft beer and spirits discovery business.

Over the last few years, Ryan has sourced beers from more than 300 of the best microbreweries from around the world and shipped out more than 1.7 million products to Flavourly's monthly members.

The team at Flavourly believe people should drink craft, and are on a mission to enable every maker to sell and consumer to discover drinks at great value, delivered.

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE

Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE was born in Jamaica. After leaving school in London in 1958, he attended evening classes to improve his qualifications. He subsequently entered Leicester, Edinburgh and Heriot Watt Universities where he gained BSc, PhD and DSc degrees, respectively.

Professor Palmer has taught at the Heriot Watt University (ICBD) for about thirty years and has carried out research on cereal grains and malt for about fifty years. He has received many research, academic and community awards and was knighted in 2014 for his contributions to science, charity and human rights.

Peter Ranscombe

Peter Ranscombe

Peter Ranscombe is a freelance journalist and copywriter. He edits BQ Scotland, a quarterly magazine for entrepreneurs, and writes the wine column and drinks blog for Scottish Field magazine. He previously spent a decade as a journalist at The Scotsman newspaper, where he pioneered the reporting of Scotland’s craft beer producers on the business pages.

Originally from Nairn, near Inverness, Peter holds the level-four diploma from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and has been a judge for the Campaign for Real Ale’s awards. His debut novel, an historical thriller called Hare, was published in 2014 by Knox Robinson Publishing.

Anna Roper

Anna Roper

Despite a careers quiz taken aged 15 coming up with “Brewer or Distiller” as a recommended path, Anna made her way into the industry later through her experience in e-commerce.

Anna has been marketing manager for Brewhive - an Edinburgh based, e-commerce beer business - since its launch in 2015 and has taken an active role in new product development.

A beer enthusiast for many years, Anna became an accredited Beer Sommelier in March 2016 and is passionate about seeking out really good beer and communicating her finds to a wider audience.

Dr Bill Simpson

Dr Bill Simpson

Bill is Executive Director of Cara Technology Limited, a specialist in beer taste panel development and yeast supply to the global brewing industry. After almost a decade with Tennent’s in Glasgow, Bill joined the Brewing Research Foundation near London, where he spent almost ten years carrying out research into beer technology.

Since establishing Cara Technology in 1995 he has consulted for more than 500 breweries in over 70 countries and has grown the company into a major provider of technical services to breweries throughout the world.

In 2016, the company was awarded the Queen's Award for Enterprise, in recognition of its achievements in exporting its products to breweries in more than 170 countries.

Peter Sherry

Peter Sherry

Pete has worked in the trade since the age of 18 having started with Oddbins. He move into on trade to see the business from the other side, moving back to off trade after securing a position with a local independent beer shop in Edinburgh.

He opened The Beerhive in 2011 as a craft beer specialist and now stocks over 700 beers and 500 wines. In 2015 The Beerhive was named the Scotland’s best beer shop by Off License News.

Dan Unwin

Dan Unwin

With over 30 years in the brewing industry, Dan has enjoyed a diverse career working in many aspects of the industry. He spent over 20 years working with Bass/Coors. He has also worked in senior positions in Innserve, Micromatic and outside the Industry.

Dan now heads Brewers Select at Bairds Malt and has a wealth of brewing knowledge, specifically contributing to the craft business division, including brewing experience on 3 continents.

Mark Williamson

Mark Williamson

Mark Williamson has spent the last 20 years writing about business in Scotland and has enjoyed reporting on the rise of a new generation of breweries in the country.
Before moving into journalism he qualified as a chartered accountant in London.

When not working he likes sailing and visiting waterside pubs.

Andrew Wolffe

Andrew Wolffe

Andrew Wolffe is a designer and business owner who has worked at the highest level of design consultancy in Scotland for over 30 years, he runs a boutique brand design
agency in central Edinburgh. His well-informed brand thinking and intelligent creative solutions have supported a wide range of businesses from start-up distilleries to international 5 star hotel groups, and from Scotland's last independent stockbroker in Glasgow to a luxury shoemaker in South America.

Andrew is self-appointed Whisky Diplomat for a new Whisky Club venture that he is developing to export and sell Scotch whiskies in Colombia. His qualifications to judge the Beer Awards are based on consumption and a deep understanding of the importance of good design in this exciting sector.