The Scottish Beer Awards judging panel is an independently appointed panel of brewing industry experts who bring together experience and market knowledge from across Scotland.

Thank you to the Judging Panel for their commitment and contribution to the competition.

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    Tim Blades TASTE JUDGE

    For over five years now Tim has been bothering the good publicans of Edinburgh & beyond in an effort to improve their beer selection. Having gained a grounding in one of Melbourne's top beer bars &...
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    For over five years now Tim has been bothering the good publicans of Edinburgh & beyond in an effort to improve their beer selection. Having gained a grounding in one of Melbourne's top beer bars & importers, as well as stewarding at the Australian International Beer Awards, he now looks after Scotland's capital for a leading speciality beer distributor. You may not be aware of Tim's work - but your favourite pub or festival may well have better beer because of it.

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    Tim Blades

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Derek Brown TASTE JUDGE

    Derek joined Scotland Food and Drink in March 2021 as Market Development Manager with a sole focus on the drinks sector. Derek has extensive experience across beer and spirits, having worked for Tennents,...
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    Derek joined Scotland Food and Drink in March 2021 as Market Development Manager with a sole focus on the drinks sector. Derek has extensive experience across beer and spirits, having worked for Tennents, Pernod Ricard, Molson Coors and Bellfield Brewery. He is passionate about helping develop wider opportunities for Scotland’s drinks sector.

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    Derek Brown

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Siobhan Buchanan TASTE JUDGE

    Siobhan is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer, editor and communications professional who has worked with breweries, festivals, and beer companies all over the world. She has spent the last several...
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    Siobhan is an Edinburgh-based freelance writer, editor and communications professional who has worked with breweries, festivals, and beer companies all over the world.

    She has spent the last several months highlighting sexism, harassment and mistreatment in the craft beer industry on her Instagram account @britishbeergirl, which led to appearances on national broadcast and print media, on podcasts, and at events, and she even won an award from Ferment Magazine for her efforts. As a queer woman, she also uses her platform to amplify the voices of marginalised genders and sexualities, and started the Queer Beer Drinkers Edinburgh group for LGBTQI+ people interested in sampling (and learning about) craft beer

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    Siobhan Buchanan

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Fergus Clark TASTE JUDGE

    Graduating from Heriot-Watt University in 1988 with a BSc. Brewing and Microbiology Fergus joined Grand Metropolitan Brewing holding production posts at Ruddles Brewery, Leicestershire and Stag Brewery,...
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    Graduating from Heriot-Watt University in 1988 with a BSc. Brewing and Microbiology Fergus joined Grand Metropolitan Brewing holding production posts at Ruddles Brewery, Leicestershire and Stag Brewery, Mortlake.  Following a 4 year stint at Scottish and Newcastle, in 1997 Fergus opened the Inveralmond Brewery in Perth and built a successful company winning many awards over the years until exiting after a sale to Innis & Gunn in 2016.  He has extensive judging experience having been involved in SIBA, CAMRA and Institute of Brewing and Distilling competitions for many years.  Currently Fergus is Non-exec Chairman of 71 Brewing based in Dundee and he is also the secretary of the Scottish section of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

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    Fergus Clark

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Christie Clinton TASTE JUDGE

    Christie has worked in retail for more than 13 years with experience across Operations, Sales and Buying.  She joined the Aldi Scottish Buying Department in 2013 and currently manages the Beers &...
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    Christie has worked in retail for more than 13 years with experience across Operations, Sales and Buying.  She joined the Aldi Scottish Buying Department in 2013 and currently manages the Beers & Spirits buying category in Scotland.

    Christie and her team are passionate about working with small businesses and supporting the Scottish food and drink industry. In recent years, the team has been responsible for hand selecting craft ranges of beers and spirits for ALDI's specialbuys, core range and Scottish Beer and Gin Festivals.

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    Christie Clinton

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Joe Dick TASTE JUDGE

    Since 2016 Joe has taken care of Scotland, and UK Web retail for noted family-owned Importer James Clay and Sons, flooding Scotland with lambic, lager, and other exceptional beers. Previously he was part...
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    Since 2016 Joe has taken care of Scotland, and UK Web retail for noted family-owned Importer James Clay and Sons, flooding Scotland with lambic, lager, and other exceptional beers. Previously he was part of the team that opened The Hanging Bat and went on to be General Manager there. In 2018 Joe Co-Authored the Beer Tube Map with Nikki Welch, a whistle stop guide of key beer styles and their benchmark examples.

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    Joe Dick

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Ritchie Duncan TASTE JUDGE

    Ritchie’s brewing journey started like many others, in his parents’ kitchen with extract brewing kits. After university he was travelling in New Zealand with his girlfriend and ended up getting...
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    Ritchie’s brewing journey started like many others, in his parents’ kitchen with extract brewing kits. After university he was travelling in New Zealand with his girlfriend and ended up getting a front of house job in Emerson's brewery in Dunedin. This is where he first got a taste for brewing on a commercial scale and discovered his love for NZ hops. Ritchie returned to Scotland in 2019 and started working at Fallen Brewing where he has been ever since. He really enjoys the creativity and flexibility that working in a small team allows. Ritchie completed the IBD general certificate in 2020.

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    Ritchie Duncan

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Jonathan Engels TASTE JUDGE

    Scottish drinks entrepreneur Jonathan Engels has consistently been at the forefront of the industry.  Creating one of the first modern craft spirits, Pincer Botanical Vodka in 2006,...
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    Scottish drinks entrepreneur Jonathan Engels has consistently been at the forefront of the industry.  Creating one of the first modern craft spirits, Pincer Botanical Vodka in 2006, Followed by Crossbill Distilling in 2012 where he pioneered the use of Scottish juniper in gin production and also created the Crossbill Gin School , Scotland's first gin school.  In 2016 he branched  out into beer production founding Hidden Lane Organic Brewery. Jonathan was also a  founding member of the Scottish Distillers Association and inducted into the Gin Guild as Warden Rectifier in 2016.

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    Jonathan Engels

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Rosalind Erskine BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE

    Rosalind is a Glasgow-based magazine editor turned digital editor, content creator and broadcaster who is currently working at the Scotsman. After stints in London and Dubai she returned home where she...
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    Rosalind is a Glasgow-based magazine editor turned digital editor, content creator and broadcaster who is currently working at the Scotsman. After stints in London and Dubai she returned home where she has focussed on the fantastic produce available on her doorstep. Alongside her work as food and drink editor at The Scotsman, Rosalind hosts gin tastings, has been on tasting and judging panels for whisky and was the drinks expert on the inaugural series of BBC Scotland’s The Great Food Guys. As the host of Scran, The Scotsman’s award-nominated food and drinks podcast, she has championed all that Scotland’s larder has to offer, sharing stories with some of Scotland’s best loved producers, distillers and stars. When not working, she loves nothing more than visiting bars and restaurants in Glasgow, and travelling further afield for the many food and drink festivals that the country has to offer.

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    Rosalind Erskine

    BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE
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    Ruth Evans BUSINESS JUDGE

    Ruth Evans MBE is CEO for BFBi (Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers’ Association, formed in 1907) and has now been with the Association for over 30 years. BFBi is believed to be the only...
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    Ruth Evans MBE is CEO for BFBi (Brewing, Food & Beverage Industry Suppliers’ Association, formed in 1907) and has now been with the Association for over 30 years. 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.

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    Ruth Evans

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Aidy Fenwick TASTE JUDGE

    Aidy is a self-confessed beer geek and has a passion for travelling to beer festivals and breweries all around the world. She got her start in the beer industry in 2012 when she first moved from Australia....
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    Aidy is a self-confessed beer geek and has a passion for travelling to beer festivals and breweries all around the world. She got her start in the beer industry in 2012 when she first moved from Australia. Since then Aidy has worked on brand building for Brooklyn Brewery, Black Isle Brewery and most recently the New Zealand Beer Collective. Through her work as a freelance beer marketer, Aidy works to make the industry safe and inclusive, and actively encourages women and the LGBTQ+ community to try new beers. It was this ethos that led her to become the Coordinator for the Women In Beer Fest.

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    Aidy Fenwick

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Andy Gibson TASTE JUDGE

    Andy Gibson is a repatriated Scot with a decade of beer tasting under his ginger mop and a taste for all things wild and sour. After working in craft beer bars, he started his brewery journey at The Wild...
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    Andy Gibson is a repatriated Scot with a decade of beer tasting under his ginger mop and a taste for all things wild and sour. After working in craft beer bars, he started his brewery journey at The Wild Beer Co in Somerset as Events Manager using his palate to host both tastings and beer dinners across the EU as well as establishing the brewery’s sensory program. Progressing into a more marketing focused role he was the second person through the door at BrewDog’s OverWorks, seeing the program take shape from an empty room to one of the biggest sour beer facilities in the world. Andy is now the Marketing Manager for Scotland’s highest rated brewery on Untappd, Vault City Brewing, and is immensely proud of coining the phrase Modern Sour Beer. 

    One of only nine Advanced Cicerone’s in the UK and a Certified BJCP Judge he’s as comfortable assessing a Lichtenhainer as he is a Lambic.

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    Andy Gibson

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Rob Gilmour TASTE JUDGE

    Rob Gilmour is one of Ireland’s many exports to Scotland. He has been involved in the drinks industry in both Ireland and Scotland working in various roles for the past 9 years. Since he arrived...
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    Rob Gilmour is one of Ireland’s many exports to Scotland. He has been involved in the drinks industry in both Ireland and Scotland working in various roles for the past 9 years. Since he arrived in Scotland, he has worked with Scottish Independent Wine Merchants Vino Wines and WoodWinters Wines & Whiskies. He now works at Flavourly.com, a leading drinks e-commerce business, where he is the Senior Buyer.

    He holds a Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) L3 accreditation with a Distinction grade, he was awarded the Rhone Prize Scholarship in 2015, holds a Diploma from the Champagne Academy and is a member of the same Academy. In 2016-17 he was the President of the Institute of Wines and Spirits, Scotland, a consumer and trade organisation established in 1963 to promote education around Drinks in the Scotland.

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    Rob Gilmour

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Wesley Hall TASTE JUDGE

    Wes got his start in beer working in some of Edinburgh’s best beer bars, including his role as General Manager at Salt Horse & Blackfriars. Wes moved from bars to run sales at Tempest, eventually...
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    Wes got his start in beer working in some of Edinburgh’s best beer bars, including his role as General Manager at Salt Horse & Blackfriars. Wes moved from bars to run sales at Tempest, eventually joining Scotland’s leading organic brewery Black Isle where he now works as the Sales Manager.

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    Wesley Hall

    TASTE JUDGE
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    David Hannah TASTE JUDGE

    After 4 years spent in FMCG sales, David joined the brewing industry in 2016 with Muntons Malt as Craft Brewing Sales Manager for Scotland looking after brewing accounts and new business development. During...
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    After 4 years spent in FMCG sales, David joined the brewing industry in 2016 with Muntons Malt as Craft Brewing Sales Manager for Scotland looking after brewing accounts and new business development. During his career with Muntons, he completed the General Certificate in Malting through the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. In 2018, David then went on to look after key brewing accounts for Muntons for the whole Northern UK region.

    As of 2020, David has become the Brewing and Distilling Area Sales Manager for Scotland and Northern England, managing Craft, Regional and National brewing and distilling accounts.

    Throughout his time within the industry, David has judged at multiple beer events including SIBA Beer Awards and CAMRA festivals.

    With a true passion for all things malt, beer and whisky, David can often be found sampling Scotland’s finest in bars across his hometown of Glasgow.

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    David Hannah

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Adam Hardie BUSINESS JUDGE

    Johnston Carmichael are Scotland’s largest firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, advising over 425 food and drink businesses.  They have a wealth of food and drink industry expertise...
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    Johnston Carmichael are Scotland’s largest firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers, advising over 425 food and drink businesses.  They have a wealth of food and drink industry expertise and use this knowledge to help business owners make better business decisions.

    Adam leads Johnston Carmichael’s food and drink team, regularly advises brewers across the UK on strategic growth, internationalisation, and funding options.  Funding has become increasingly complex in recent years with the explosion of crowd funding and peer to peer lending.  Adam is very well connected across, craft beer market, the wider food and drink industry and regularly makes introductions across his network of business leaders, investors and intermediaries to help clients grow.

    The Brewers Association of Scotland (TBAS) was formed in in Johnston Carmichael’s Edinburgh office.  Johnston Carmichael recently set up the TBAS Hopline, a helpline for brewers for matters relating to Small Brewers Relief, HMRC, Excise Licensing, VAT, Import and Export. 

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    Adam Hardie

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Ian Herok BUSINESS JUDGE

    Ian commenced his brewing career in 1966 with Scottish and Newcastle Breweries working in the micro lab and process plant. Leaving S&N, he joined Heriot Watt University Department of Brewing and Biochemistry...
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    Ian commenced his brewing career in 1966 with Scottish and 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. Post graduation he joined Tennent Caledonian Breweries working in a variety of production positions before moving to Bass Export. He spent several years as Brewery Manager in China (Tianjin) and subsequently in Asia and the Americas in various commercial and technical roles. Moving to Belhaven Brewery in 1991, becoming Production Director and  Divisional MD as part of a successful MBO. As a qualified Master Brewer and Fellow of the IBD he has been responsible for the development, production and marketing of variety of products such as Belhaven Best, St Andrews Ale, 10 Saints (Barbados) and slew of craft beers.

    Now in semi-retirement, Ian continues to retain an interest in the Industry through consultancy and a focus on Scottish brewing historical research.

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    Ian Herok

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Colin Johnston BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE

    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,...
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    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.

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    Colin Johnston

    BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE
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    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...
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    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.

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    Hilary Jones

    CHAIR OF THE JUDGING PANEL
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    Deb Kennedy BUSINESS JUDGE

    Deb has over 25 years end-to-end supply chain leadership experience in the drinks industry in several different businesses and across global markets. Deb joined Scottish and Newcastle in 1992 where she...
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    Deb has over 25 years end-to-end supply chain leadership experience in the drinks industry in several different businesses and across global markets.

    Deb joined Scottish and Newcastle in 1992 where she had several different technical and operational roles before moving to Join AB Inbev in 2003 based in their global headquarters in Belgium responsible for a global operations alignment and optimisation program. In 2008 she moved to join Diageo as Supply Chain Development Director for Africa before becoming Business Development Director for Global Supply and Procurement. After a family move back to Scotland in 2012, she then became Head of Manufacturing and Technical for C&C Group.

    Semi-retired since 2017, she now supports not for profit organisations with development of strategic programs. She is also part of the IBD examinations committee and is an examiner for the Master Brewer Qualification.

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    Deb Kennedy

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Dan Kopman TASTE JUDGE

    From St. Louis, Dan Kopman is CEO of Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore, USA. Dan began his career at Young’s Brewery in London in 1983. Following additional training at Scottish & Newcastle Breweries,...
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    From St. Louis, Dan Kopman is CEO of Heavy Seas Beer in Baltimore, USA. Dan began his career at Young’s Brewery in London in 1983. Following additional training at Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, Dan worked at Young’s until 1991.

    Dan was Co-Founder of The Saint Louis Brewery, brewers of Schlafly Beer, from its opening in 1991 until 2017. During this time, the Brewery changed the beer culture in St. Louis.

    Dan was Chair of the Brewers Association Committee that led the US Federal Excise Tax reform effort starting in 2009 and worked to forge a compromise that became the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. The Act was signed into law in 2017. Dan is now the Craft Brewer member of the Beer Institute Boar

    Dan has a BA Economics from Kenyon College, 1983 and an MSc in Policy Studies from Edinburgh University, 1993.

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    Dan Kopman

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Andrew Ley BUSINESS JUDGE

    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...
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    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.

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    Andrew Ley

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Keith Lugton TASTE JUDGE

    Keith Lugton is Group Liquid Development Manager at C&C Group plc operating from Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd, Wellpark Brewery, Glasgow.  He has been a Master Brewer since 1989, having worked...
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    Keith Lugton is Group Liquid Development Manager at C&C Group plc operating from Tennent Caledonian Breweries Ltd, Wellpark Brewery, Glasgow.  He has been a Master Brewer since 1989, having worked in the Brewing Industry since 1977. In 2014 was involved in the design, commissioning and operation of a new microbrewery in the Magners plant in Clonmel, Ireland. Keith is a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and former Chairman of the Scottish Section of the IBD. He is a member of the Maltsters Association of Great Britain Malt and Barley Committee. He is also a former member of the Advisory Board of Management at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at the Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh. Over the last 11 years Keith has also been heavily involved in Cider Development both in the UK, Ireland, Italy and the USA. In addition Keith has hosted tasting events with the Master Brewer both at the brewery and abroad including Singapore, South Korea and Italy. Keith has also judged at the World Beer Awards.

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    Keith Lugton

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Rob Mackay TASTE JUDGE

    Rob is one of only eighteen Master Cicerones worldwide, and one of only two outside North America. The Master Cicerone qualification recognizes an exceptional understanding of brewing, beer, and pairing...
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    Rob is one of only eighteen Master Cicerones worldwide, and one of only two outside North America. The Master Cicerone qualification recognizes an exceptional understanding of brewing, beer, and pairing — combining outstanding tasting abilities with an encyclopaedic knowledge of commercial beers. The two-day exam challenges individuals to converse with professional brewers and chefs as a peer, demonstrate the tasting ability of a seasoned quality control panel member and yet also speak with consumers using easy-to-understand but vividly descriptive language.

    Rob has been in the craft beer industry for just over 5 years; from a graphic design background, he joined BrewDog’s marketing team in Ellon as a junior, and progressed to managing the NPD process. Alongside this he handled design projects, as well as becoming a key part of the sensory analysis team. He is now the Creative & Marketing Director at Drygate Brewing Co, utilising his particular set of skills back in Glasgow, with a small, passionate and dedicated team.

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    Rob Mackay

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Michele Mariotti TASTE JUDGE

    Originally from Italy, Michele Mariotti, 32, has taken the reigns of the bar programme as Head of Mixology at Gleneagles Hotel. Before joining the iconic country estate and hotel in Perthshire, he...
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    Originally from Italy, Michele Mariotti, 32, has taken the reigns of the bar programme as Head of Mixology at Gleneagles Hotel. Before joining the iconic country estate and hotel in Perthshire, he was working as Senior Bartender in American Bar at The Savoy, London and more recently as Bar Manager in MO Bar in Mandarin Oriental, Singapore.

    In The Gleneagles, Michele is responsible for overseeing the cocktail offering in all eleven of Gleneagles’ food and beverage venues, training the bar teams to a world-class standard and creating and maintaining good relationships with both local and international suppliers.

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    Michele Mariotti

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Dr Dawn Maskell BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE

    Dr 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...
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    Dr 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. Today Dawn works with many brewing and distilling companies on short and long term research projects and is particularly interested in yeast physiology, fermentation process improvement and sustainability. 

    Dawn is a member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and holds a Diploma in Brewing. Dawn is also on the Board of Examiners for the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is Chair of the programme committee for the 2020 Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference, and in addition is on the technical committee for the 2020 Young Scientists Symposium in Malting, Brewing and Distilling. Further to this, Dawn is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists.

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    Dr Dawn Maskell

    BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE
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    Aly Mathers TASTE JUDGE

    From sales and ambassadorial roles with some of Scotch whiskies biggest brands to organising independent tastings and drinks festivals, it's safe to say Aly has sampled almost everything aspect of the...
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    From sales and ambassadorial roles with some of Scotch whiskies biggest brands to organising independent tastings and drinks festivals, it's safe to say Aly has sampled almost everything aspect of the Scottish drinks industry. After starting out in Scotch whisky, he gradually moved more and more into the world of craft beer, managing specialist bars and restaurants. Now, working for Fierce Beer as Head of Bars he currently manages three venues whilst also acting as Spirits Ambassador for the breweries small batch spirits project. Never more at home than at behind the bar at a beer festival, there's nothing he enjoys more than sharing good drinks with good people... Except maybe the afterparty.

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    Aly Mathers

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Sara Mele TASTE JUDGE

    The seed of Sara's passion for beer were sown on a hot beach in Sardinia, when she took a sip of her first cold one. Forbidden fruit followed up next. From then on she has actively pursued her passion,...
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    The seed of Sara's passion for beer were sown on a hot beach in Sardinia, when she took a sip of her first cold one. Forbidden fruit followed up next. From then on she has actively pursued her passion, traveling Europe, following producers and styles - including a stint working at The Beerhive with Pete Sherry - always thirsty for more knowledge. And great beer.

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    Sara Mele

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Isla Mercer TASTE JUDGE

    Isla is very passionate about beer and has been writing about the subject in various publications as well as her own blog since 2012. She has worked in the Scottish drinks industry for a number of years...
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    Isla is very passionate about beer and has been writing about the subject in various publications as well as her own blog since 2012. She has worked in the Scottish drinks industry for a number of years and also hosts beer tasting events.

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    Isla Mercer

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Christopher Miller BUSINESS JUDGE

    Chris is the Chief Commercial Officer of the JW Filshill Ltd group of companies (inc JW Filshill International). JW Filshill Limited , established in 1875 is a fifth generation distributor of ambient food...
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    Chris is the Chief Commercial Officer of the JW Filshill Ltd group of companies (inc JW Filshill International).

    JW Filshill Limited , established in 1875 is a fifth generation distributor of ambient food & beverage brands to the retail & convenience channels in the UK.

    Chris has been in the FMCG & beer business for >25 years including senior sales & marketing positions with Bass Brewers, Caledonian Brewery & was part of the MBO team at Harviestoun Brewery in 2008 before exiting in 2014.  As CEO he transformed Harviestoun from a loss making regional micro-brewery into an award winning , internationally renowned craft brewer of scale.

    In 2014 he established the Craft Beer Clan which is Scotland’s leading domestic & international consolidator / exporter of craft beer & spirits..

    Miller also formed a brewing venture , The Clan Brewing Co in 2014  in partnership with Scott Williams, founder and brew-master of Williams Brothers Brewing Co.

    The Clan Brewing Company portfolio focusses on a series of four whisky barrel-aged beers matured in regional single malt casks & exports to USA , AsiaPac & Europe..

    Chris has been a judge of the Scottish Beer Awards since it’s launch in 2016.

    Chris is also a non-exec of BrewGooder Ltd , a social enterprise which donates profits to clean water projects in Malawi.

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    Christopher Miller

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Sean Murphy TASTE JUDGE

    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...
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    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.

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    Sean Murphy

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE BUSINESS JUDGE

    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...
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    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.

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    Professor Sir Geoff Palmer OBE

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Nix Prabhu TASTE JUDGE

    Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Nix moved to Canada in her early 20s and after a short stint in the Middle East, now lives in Scotland. As a result, her accent is all over the map! Part beer lover and...
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    Born and raised in Mumbai, India, Nix moved to Canada in her early 20s and after a short stint in the Middle East, now lives in Scotland. As a result, her accent is all over the map!

    Part beer lover and part history nerd, Nix found a way to combine the two and facilitated walking tours in Toronto that focused on the city's beer and brewing history.

    After moving to Scotland, Nix launched Craft Beer Passport UK to advocate for local, indie bars and breweries and encourage beer drinkers to support them.

    Nix is also the founder of the Glasladies Beer Society, a space for women to discover, explore, expand on their beer love.

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    Nix Prabhu

    TASTE JUDGE
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    David Reid BUSINESS JUDGE

    David runs his own Edinburgh-based consultancy Because Brands Matter. The business has one sole objective; to make other people’s brands more famous. With a career spanning 33 years, David has...
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    David runs his own Edinburgh-based consultancy Because Brands Matter. The business has one sole objective; to make other people’s brands more
    famous.

    With a career spanning 33 years, David has worked both agency and client side and has collaborated with many food and drink manufacturers. These include names such as Glenmorangie, Drambuie, Smirnoff, Tennent’s, Mother’s Pride, Schlitz, Harviestoun and Border Biscuits.Using his unique Brand Repositioning Workshop process, he has helped hundreds of businesses, across a wide variety of sectors, reframe their proposition and hone their messaging.

    David is the only person to have won been awarded Agency Creative Director of the Year, Agency Managing Director of the Year and Scotland Food & Drink SME
    Client of the year. He describes himself as being “A lover of all beer styles” and is always interesting in assisting any brand looking to improve sales and increase their share of voice.

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    David Reid

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Anna Rogan TASTE JUDGE

    Anna is the beer & cider buyer for Luvians Bottleshop, currently Harper’s Best Indie Merchant in Scotland. A recipient of the Ian Murray whisky scholarship and Wine Merchant Magazine’s...
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    Anna is the beer & cider buyer for Luvians Bottleshop, currently Harper’s Best Indie Merchant in Scotland. A recipient of the Ian Murray whisky scholarship and Wine Merchant Magazine’s Rising Star award she is a drinks trade triple threat, but since her student days pulling pints in local bars, beer has been her first love.

    Bringing in hundreds of beers each year to maintain a constantly rotating selection across two stores, Anna works hard to keep Luvians at the forefront of Scotland’s craft beer scene, and is passionate about extolling the virtues of all things fermented to anyone that will lend her an ear.

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    Anna Rogan

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Pete Sherry TASTE JUDGE

    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...
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    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.

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    Pete Sherry

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Sarah Sinclair TASTE JUDGE

    Sarah is the Marketing Manager for Moonwake Beer Co. in Leith. She’s a beer writer who’s written for Ferment Magazine and Burum Collective. Sarah made the leap up to Edinburgh from London where...
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    Sarah is the Marketing Manager for Moonwake Beer Co. in Leith. She’s a beer writer who’s written for Ferment Magazine and Burum Collective. Sarah made the leap up to Edinburgh from London where she worked for three years as a freelance marketer for breweries, pubs and bars including Duration, Wild Card and Solvay Society. Now a certified Cicerone beer server, Sarah started her career pulling pints for Young’s Pubs while studying journalism and politics at university. She then progressed to become one of their in-pub sales and marketing coordinators upon graduating before making the decision to specialise in craft beer and to start her own business

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    Sarah Sinclair

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Ali Stewart BUSINESS JUDGE

    Ali Stewart qualified as a CA with KPMG in Edinburgh before joining the London office of Royal Bank Equity Finance in 2000, spending the next 13 years investing in, managing and exiting a wide range of...
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    Ali Stewart qualified as a CA with KPMG in Edinburgh before joining the London office of Royal Bank Equity Finance in 2000, spending the next 13 years investing in, managing and exiting a wide range of mid-market buyouts, growth capital deals and other non-standard investments.  Ali was a Managing Director, Head of the Industrials team and a member of the Investment Committee.  He then spent two years working on private equity, infrastructure and corporate projects before co-founding Igneous Capital with Bill Dobbie in 2015 to invest in and grow early stage and growth companies.  Ali is the CEO of Flavourly, the e-commerce retailer offering UK consumers access to a wide variety of quality, craft beers.

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    Ali Stewart

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    Steve Stewart TASTE JUDGE

    Steve’s passion for great beer began at the age of 16 and as such, his brewing career ensued. After graduating from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University, Steve worked...
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    Steve’s passion for great beer began at the age of 16 and as such, his brewing career ensued. After graduating from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University, Steve worked for a variety of industry companies, both large and small, such as Bass, Mitchells & Butler and Harpoon in America.

    In 2004, Steve and his wife, Jo, founded Stewart Brewing. From cask beers which uphold Edinburgh’s traditional brewing values, to a range of experimental and hop-forward craft brews, Stewart Brewing has continued to innovate and spread the gospel of great beer.

    Steve is on the Board of the ICBD and TBAS and is also an active member of SIBA.  Since 2010 he has worked in partnership with the School of Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt on ‘Natural Selection Brewing’ – A project with the mission of giving the next generation of brewers commercial and practical experience in the industry.

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    Steve Stewart

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Rachel Sutherland TASTE JUDGE

    Following Rachel’s graduation from the MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University in 2002; she joined the team at the Scottish & Newcastle Technical Centre in Edinburgh.  Completing...
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    Following Rachel’s graduation from the MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University in 2002; she joined the team at the Scottish & Newcastle Technical Centre in Edinburgh.  Completing roles at Fountain and John Smiths Brewery, Rachel moved to S&N’s head office in Edinburgh and following the acquisition by Heineken Rachel spent five years as UK Sensory Manager.  In 2012 Rachel joined the team at Innis & Gunn and spent the next five year as Quality and Sensory Manager.  Since October 2017 Rachel has worked at the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot Watt University as an Assistant Professor – Brewing, teaching brewing and sensory classes to undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Rachel has a keen interest in beer and food matching and enjoys the opportunity to judge at home and international beer competitions.

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    Rachel Sutherland

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Amélie Tassin TASTE JUDGE

    Passionate about craft beer, Amélie has worked in marketing and in the beer industry for the past 15 years both in France and in the UK. Now based in Scotland, she has worked as marketing manager...
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    Passionate about craft beer, Amélie has worked in marketing and in the beer industry for the past 15 years both in France and in the UK. Now based in Scotland, she has worked as marketing manager and marketing consultant for different company such as Campervan Brewery, Hoppin’ Rabbit or more recently Brewers Eye. 

    With the aim to encourage women to try and enjoy beers but also to highlight the women who work in the industry, Amélie is also the founder of the Beers Without Beards group and the Women In Beer Festival (WIB Fest) in Edinburgh.

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    Amélie Tassin

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Dan Unwin BUSINESS JUDGE

    Dan has over 32 years’ experience in the brewing industry over three continents. Dan was Brewers Society Scholar 1985 (Msc -British School of Malting & Brewing) and became an MBrew in 1991 with...
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    Dan has over 32 years’ experience in the brewing industry over three continents. Dan was Brewers Society Scholar 1985 (Msc -British School of Malting & Brewing) and became an MBrew in 1991 with Bass Brewers. Dan has enjoyed a diverse career working in many aspects of the industry.

    He worked in the ‘first wave’ of craft brewing in the USA in the late 1980s at The Commonwealth Brewing Company, Boston and The Pacific Northwest Brewing Company, Seattle. Dan spent over 20 years working with Bass/Coors including both Production and Technical Director roles in the UK. During this time he represented Coors Brewing on the advisory boards of both ICBD Herriot Watt and Campden BRI. Dan was also Production & Technical Director of Bass Ginsber in Manchuria, China for 3 years in the mid 1990s. Dan also represented the UK brewing industry on the European Brewing Convention (EBC) 2003-2005. He has also worked in senior positions in Innserve, Micromatic and outside the Industry. Dan is currently General Manger of Brewers Select -Bairds Malt craft brewing ingredients division in the UK. He has a wealth of brewing knowledge, specifically contributing to the craft business division.

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    Dan Unwin

    BUSINESS JUDGE
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    John Waterman TASTE JUDGE

    John has worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years, from running pubs for Punch taverns and Marstons, to owning pubs and operations manager roles for some of the most iconic pubs and bars in...
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    John has worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years, from running pubs for Punch taverns and Marstons, to owning pubs and operations manager roles for some of the most iconic pubs and bars in Birmingham. John was the youngest person to be appointed as a GM for Punch (or spirit group as it was then) and has run several GBBG pubs since then.

    John left the world of hospitality to take a sales role with Lab Culture brewery before starting Trinity Brew Co. in 2020, John has a wide knowledge of the craft beer scene and has a healthy following on social media as the Eternal Hoptimist.

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    John Waterman

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Marc Watson TASTE JUDGE

    Marc Watson is the Distillation and Maturation Manager of Halewood International/ Distillery Manager John Crabbie & Co. Marc’s ardent vision to create great spirits led him to study at Heriot...
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    Marc Watson is the Distillation and Maturation Manager of Halewood International/ Distillery Manager John Crabbie & Co. Marc’s ardent vision to create great spirits led him to study at Heriot Watt, achieving his Master’s degree in brewing and distilling before going on to work and release award winning products in a number of roles with some well-known industry veterans - most recently at Eden Mill as Head of Product. Combined with Marc’s impeccable knowledge of distillation, his recipe book and unique access to John Crabbie’s archive (containing time-honoured spirits-making secrets with a few surprises thrown in to keep him on his toes); he has been involved in the development and imminent release of a number of exciting new products.

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    Marc Watson

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Caroline Wengel TASTE JUDGE

    In 1997 Caroline helped launch one of Scotland’s early micro-breweries [Houston], driving the business forward until winning the ultimate brewing accolade of Champion Best Bitter of Great Britain...
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    In 1997 Caroline helped launch one of Scotland’s early micro-breweries [Houston], driving the business forward until winning the ultimate brewing accolade of Champion Best Bitter of Great Britain in 2011, selling up in 2012 when she joined Scotland Food & Drink.

    A staunch supporter of Scotland’s world class brewing industry Caroline will travel far and wide for the perfect pint and, through her work with SF&D, she helps grow the reputation and value of Scotland’s food, drink and brewing sectors - giving brewers competitive advantage in UK and International markets.

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    Caroline Wengel

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Jonathan Wilkin Taste Judge

    Senior Lecturer in New Product Development at Abertay University.  As part of the role, he teaches New Product Development and Quality and Safety Management Systems for the Food and Consumer...
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    Senior Lecturer in New Product Development at Abertay University.  As part of the role, he teaches New Product Development and Quality and Safety Management Systems for the Food and Consumer Science BSc (Hons) programme.  Jonathan was awarded a Fellow of IFST in 2018.  In his current role he work closely within the Scottish Food and Drink manufacturing sector, upskilling businesses in terms of recovery of added value ingredients from co-products (waste) or creation of new products. He is very interested in innovative flavours and techniques and have a passion to see the Scottish Food and Drink sector flourish.  He has expertise in consumer and sensory studies, and as a judge on the panel, will be looking for flavour, innovation, and uniqueness.

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    Jonathan Wilkin

    Taste Judge
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    Chris Williams TASTE JUDGE

    From early days watching his father brew the very first batches of Fraoch, Chris spent much of his formative years growing up in breweries and brewpubs across Scotland. It’s fair to say Scottish...
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    From early days watching his father brew the very first batches of Fraoch, Chris spent much of his formative years growing up in breweries and brewpubs across Scotland. It’s fair to say Scottish Beer is in his blood and he would always end up in the industry, today as a Director at Williams Bros Brewing Co. His day to day work can vary from NPD, creative work, building event bars to helping out on the packing line – Every day is different!

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    Chris Williams

    TASTE JUDGE
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    Dominic P. Wright TASTE JUDGE

    Based in Edinburgh since the mid-2000s with a background in Architecture, Dominic has over 12 years of experience in the Hospitality and Wine & Spirits industry, with significant roles such as Head...
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    Based in Edinburgh since the mid-2000s with a background in Architecture, Dominic has over 12 years of experience in the Hospitality and Wine & Spirits industry, with significant roles such as Head Sommelier, Buyer, and in Sales and Account management.

    Over the period, a knowledge and approach to the industry has been cultivated that lead to the opportunity to take over the ownership and direction in 2015, of the Brauhaus in Edinburgh in collaboration with business partner Chris Mitchell of Cork & Cask, Edinburgh. Inherited as “a going concern”, the project is utilised as a vessel from which to test and implement ideals of anti-consumerist and commercial practices within modern culture and society.

    The bar acts as a platform for innovative and progressive producers sharing similar ideals, focused on an integrity of ‘purpose’, ‘production’, and ‘quality’, across the beer, wine and spirit industries. Advocating an ideal of greater social and cultural accountability, questioning generic tendencies of a brand-conscious, fetishistic marketplace.

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    Dominic P. Wright

    TASTE JUDGE