The Scottish Whisky Awards judging panel is an independently appointed panel. 

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

  • Home Image

    Alan Wolstenholme CHAIR OF THE JUDGING PANEL

    Alan is an Honorary Professor of Heriot Watt University's International Centre of Brewing and Distilling where he teaches Postgraduate students about the Scotch Whisky Industry. A Life Member of the Institute...
    Read More

    Alan is an Honorary Professor of Heriot Watt University's International Centre of Brewing and Distilling where he teaches Postgraduate students about the Scotch Whisky Industry.

    A Life Member of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, he served on its Board of Examiners where he helped to set up the prestigious Master Distiller qualification.

    Now retired, he formerly founded and managed Caledonian Solutions Ltd. consulting for both Scotch and International Whisk(e)y clients in the USA, Ireland and the Far East.

    Alan's experience in Scotch stretches back more than 50 years having joined Distiller's Company Ltd (now Diageo) after leaving University, gaining valuable experience in a variety of technical and production management roles across Scotland.

    A former Distilleries Director for Wm Grant & Sons, he ran both Grain (Girvan) and Malt (Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie) Distilleries and associated maturation and blending facilities.

    An enthusiastic supporter of the new wave of "craft" distilleries, he chaired the Scottish Distillers Association for several years.

    Home Image

    Alan Wolstenholme

    CHAIR OF THE JUDGING PANEL
  • Home Image

    James Robertson CO-CHAIR / TASTE & BUSINESS JUDGE

    James is a respected business mentor and advisor with international sales experience assisting a range of drinks companies in developing relationships, branded awareness and exports globally through his...
    Read More

    James is a respected business mentor and advisor with international sales experience assisting a range of drinks companies in developing relationships, branded awareness and exports globally through his consultancy business Wildcat Spirits. Before this James was the Global Brand Ambassador and International Sales Manager for Tullibardine Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky presenting on TV, Radio & to live audiences. Known as a charismatic public speaker with excellent presentation skills, attending the key Whisky Festivals around the world. Prior to this he worked as a Regional Sales Manager looking after Champagne Taittinger, Louis Jadot, Errazuriz and Villa Maria. James holds the WSET Diploma and has been a judge with the IWSC.

    Home Image

    James Robertson

    CO-CHAIR / TASTE & BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Mike Aikman TASTE JUDGE

    Mike is a Scottish bartender turned bar owner operating 3 venues in Edinburgh (Bramble, Lucky Liquor Co & The Last Word) with his business partner Jason Scott. All 3 bars have won various awards, most...
    Read More

    Mike is a Scottish bartender turned bar owner operating 3 venues in Edinburgh (Bramble, Lucky Liquor Co & The Last Word) with his business partner Jason Scott.

    All 3 bars have won various awards, most notably Bramble (consistently placing in Drinks International Worlds 50 Best Bars, Best Bar in Observer Food Monthly Awards etc).

    Mike himself won “Innovator of The Year” in Imbibe Magazine’s ‘Personality of The Year Awards 2016’, alongside friend, collaborator and old Bramble alumni Ryan Chetiyawardana (AKA Mr Lyan).

    Mike also co-founded events and consultancy company Mothership (Scotland) Ltd who have consulted, advised and operated several high profile events over the years including bars for a Royal Wedding, The Golf Open multiple times and training and consultancy for some of Scotland’s best bars and restaurants.

    Most recently Mike launched brand distribution company, Base Spirits, as well as several independent brands including SeaWolf Rum, Braemble, Cross Brew, Lucky Liqueurs and Bramble Whisky Company.

    Home Image

    Mike Aikman

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Jon Beach TASTE JUDGE

    Fiddler’s Highland Restaurant & Whisky Bar, Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness. Over the past two decades Jon has built Fiddler’s up into a busy restaurant with an award-winning Malt Whisky selection...
    Read More

    Fiddler’s Highland Restaurant & Whisky Bar, Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness.

    Over the past two decades Jon has built Fiddler’s up into a busy restaurant with an award-winning Malt Whisky selection collecting five SLTN awards on the way. Three years ago a Craft Beer and Spirit bar was added next door specialising in locally-brewed beers and the best of Scotland’s Gins and Craft Spirits.

    When not in Fiddler’s Jon is often found travelling around Scotland and beyond searching for the best and the rarest Whiskies for his bar.

    Home Image

    Jon Beach

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    David Brown TASTE JUDGE

    Somewhat of an industry veteran, David started his career with Allied Domeq in 1990, initially in the on-trade with Alloa Brewery before moving over to manage sales of their spirits brands including Laphroaig,...
    Read More

    Somewhat of an industry veteran, David started his career with Allied Domeq in 1990, initially in the on-trade with Alloa Brewery before moving over to manage sales of their spirits brands including Laphroaig, Glendronach, Scapa, Ballantines, Teachers, Courvoisier and Beefeater Gin.

    He was presented with the prestigious Champion Beer of Britain in 2002, for Deuchars IPA whilst marketing director of Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh.

    As commercial director for Belhaven (Greene King) he created a number of interesting and successful bars including Albanach whisky bar on the’ Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

    In 2006 he became sales director of Whyte & Mackay and under the tutelage of the legendary Richard Paterson he was part of the team who restablished the Dalmore as the iconic brand we know today.

    He left Whyte & Mackay in 2015 to help develop the Glasgow distillery, and was inducted into the Scottish licensed trade hall of fame in the same year.

    David was appointed Managing Director of John Crabbie & Co in 2018, and took on the challenge of rediscovering the Crabbie scotch whisky brand, whos’ history dates back to 1801. He built two distilleries in Edinburgh bringing single malt production back to his home city for the first time in a century. 

    Now an independent consultant David, enjoys working with the new generation of distillers and distilleries on creating the innovative whiskies of the future. He also sources and bottles casks of rare scotch whisky for private clients. His passion for whisky is only matched by his passion for fast cars … but not at the same time!

    As Alexander McCall put it:

    “Whisky nosers, as they called themselves, eschewed what they saw as the pretentiousness of wine vocabulary. While oenophiles resorted to recondite adjectives, whisky nosers spoke the language of everyday life, detecting hints of stale seaweed, or even diesel fuel.”

    Home Image

    David Brown

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Ryan Chetiyawardana TASTE JUDGE

    Award-winning Ryan Chetiyawardana (A.K.A Mr Lyan) has been involved in several of the World’s best bars for over eighteen years. Recognised for his cutting-edge innovation, he sets the trends within...
    Read More

    Award-winning Ryan Chetiyawardana (A.K.A Mr Lyan) has been involved in several of the World’s best bars for over eighteen years. Recognised for his cutting-edge innovation, he sets the trends within the drinks world. 

    He helps design and judge several notable national and international competitions whilst acting as a mentor to competitors, and helping shape the new wave of competitions. Aside from cocktail and bar competitions Ryan has been a judge for the GQ Food & Drinks Awards, the Guild of Food Writer’s awards, and the Fortnum & Mason Food & Drinks Awards. 

    His worldwide venues include Lyaness (London), Super Lyan (Amsterdam) and Silver Lyan (Washington D.C).

    Home Image

    Ryan Chetiyawardana

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Marc Crothall BUSINESS JUDGE

    Marc is 60 years young, prior to being appointed in May 2012 as the first CEO of The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) he held many senior executive positions in the hotel, leisure and events industry both...
    Read More

    Marc is 60 years young, prior to being appointed in May 2012 as the first CEO of The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) he held many senior executive positions in the hotel, leisure and events industry both in the UK and abroad.  He co-chairs Scotland’s Tourism and Hospitality Leadership Group (THILG) with Scotland’s Tourism Minister Ivan Mckee. The group being responsible for Scotland’s national tourism strategy Scotland Outlook 2030. Marc also chairs the National Food Tourism Leadership Board  and is a board member of Apprenticeship in Hospitality Scotland Interface and an advisory board member of Springboard (Scotland) and TravelTech Scotland

    Marc was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Birthday Honours for services to the Tourism industry in Scotland and in 2020 was awarded the “Fellowship” by the Scottish Hotel industry for his outstanding contribution to the industry.

    Home Image

    Marc Crothall

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Jack Dalton TASTE JUDGE

    Jack is the International Sales Manager at Crucial Drinks; a small batch producer of Scotch Whisky and Rum headquartered at Dumfries House Estate in East Ayrshire. He is responsible for the commercial...
    Read More

    Jack is the International Sales Manager at Crucial Drinks; a small batch producer of Scotch Whisky and Rum headquartered at Dumfries House Estate in East Ayrshire. He is responsible for the commercial planning and growth of their whisky and rum portfolio across Europe, North America and the Middle East.

    Originally from the small village of Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands, Jack has always been passionate about Scotch Whisky. Having worked in the drinks industry since graduating from university, where he studied Spanish & Italian, Jack has worked in a variety of roles. After a couple of years in wine retail, he moved into commercial sales when he joined Mast-Jägermeister. In 2020 Jack joined the Edinburgh Whisky Academy, responsible for expanding their reach across the globe.

    A huge advocate for education, Jack has obtained the Diploma in Single Malt Whisky from the Edinburgh Whisky Academy, as well as the WSET Level 3 Award in Wines. He has previously judged the Scottish Whisky Awards and the Spirits Business Scotch Whisky Masters.

    Home Image

    Jack Dalton

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Graeme Dempster BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE

    Graeme, an Account Executive at Bruce Stevenson, is an experienced Chartered Commercial Insurance Broker having worked within the industry for over 20 years. He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance...
    Read More

    Graeme, an Account Executive at Bruce Stevenson, is an experienced Chartered Commercial Insurance Broker having worked within the industry for over 20 years. He is an Associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute (ACII) and holds an Advanced Diploma professional insurance qualification which demonstrates an enhanced understanding of insurance practices, both in technical subject matter and application.

    Graeme’s particular area of expertise lies within the whisky sector - helping new and established distilleries, whisky brokers, bonded warehouse operators and independent bottlers and blenders. He designs insurance programmes that are specifically tailored to the whisky industry but bespoke to individual businesses.

    With a passion for all things whisky, Graeme has developed an understanding of the unique risks associated with whisky production and maturation which has enabled Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers to become the ‘Broker of Choice’ to the whisky industry.

    Home Image

    Graeme Dempster

    BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Rosemary Gallagher BUSINESS JUDGE

    Rosemary Gallagher is Head of Commercial Content at The Scotsman. She is experienced journalist and communications professional, with a passion for Scotch whisky. She worked for the Scotch Whisky Association...
    Read More

    Rosemary Gallagher is Head of Commercial Content at The Scotsman. She is experienced journalist and communications professional, with a passion for Scotch whisky.

    She worked for the Scotch Whisky Association for more than six years and in her role as head of communications raised the profile of the trade body and the wider industry.

    She has worked in journalism and PR in London and Scotland for more than 20 years, including roles as personal finance editor of The Scotsman and business news editor at Scotland on Sunday.

     

    Home Image

    Rosemary Gallagher

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Justine Hazlehurst TASTE JUDGE

    Justine Hazlehurst is the founder of Kask Whisky, a whisky events company based in Edinburgh organising regular tastings and tours. Justine has recently started the Leith Whisky Trail; walking tours, focusing...
    Read More

    Justine Hazlehurst is the founder of Kask Whisky, a whisky events company based in Edinburgh organising regular tastings and tours. Justine has recently started the Leith Whisky Trail; walking tours, focusing on the history of the brokers, blenders and bottlers once resident in the area which culminate in a tasting of some ‘blast from the past’ drams all evoking the nostalgia of Leith as a thriving whisky district. Having worked in Fife for many years before giving up her teaching career to pursue her passion to work in the world of whisky, her love of the Kingdom has led her to set up the Fife Whisky Trail as well as jointly establishing the annual Fife Whisky Festival. In addition to writing for her own blog, Justine is a regular contributor to Malt, offering honest opinions and reviews of whisky.

    Home Image

    Justine Hazlehurst

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Colin Hinds Taste Judge

    Colin Hinds is an award winning Chef and Restaurateur with over 30 years in the industry. A champion of Scottish produce using modern and classic techniques, exuding flair and artistry. Having created...
    Read More

    Colin Hinds is an award winning Chef and Restaurateur with over 30 years in the industry. A champion of Scottish produce using modern and classic techniques, exuding flair and artistry. Having created "The Whisky Forager" Restaurant was a natural progression from his previous project, the award winning Seafood Restaurant, "Kilted Lobster"; showcasing Colin’s passion for all things Scottish, local and ethical. Now with his bespoke Whisky Bar "Tipsy Midgie" Colin has curated a bar with over 700 single Malts and 100 blended whiskies! added to this his time spent as a whisky columnist for magazines and tasting panels 

    Colin, known aka WhiskyForager on social media is an whisky enthusiast, reviewer, collector and supporter of the whisky Industry, and uses his knowledge to create fun engaging whisky experiences for novices and experts alike.

    Home Image

    Colin Hinds

    Taste Judge
  • Home Image

    Darren Leitch TASTE JUDGE

    Darren has worked for The Whisky Shop since his late teens back in 1997 and managed their stores in Inverness and in Edinburgh very soon after he began. Darren is now National Retail Manager for the full...
    Read More

    Darren has worked for The Whisky Shop since his late teens back in 1997 and managed their stores in Inverness and in Edinburgh very soon after he began. Darren is now National Retail Manager for the full estate, which has grown to 20 shops from Inverness in the North to Brighton in the South and covers most major cities in between. The Whisky Shop in Paris is now in its 4th year. As well as managing the retail side of the business Darren selects all of the single cask and exclusive whiskies, including for their own label, Glenkeir Treasures. At any given time they will usually stock around 80 exclusive products. Darren hosts several tasting events on behalf of the company, from his base in Edinburgh and also around our various branches. Loch Fyne Whiskies is also part of their group and Darren gets involved with creating some of their exclusive range as well, in particular the blending of the Loch Fyne Living Cask.

    Home Image

    Darren Leitch

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Viktorija Macdonald BUSINESS JUDGE

    Viktorija is a Lithuanian national, residing in Scotland, and the first female independent bottler who started her business from scratch. In 2013 she founded a company, which started as an export agency...
    Read More

    Viktorija is a Lithuanian national, residing in Scotland, and the first female independent bottler who started her business from scratch. In 2013 she founded a company, which started as an export agency helping independent family owned Scottish distilleries to tap Into a variety of markets from Panama, Japan, to Singapore, Ukraine, Belarus and Baltic States, and whisky broker helping to develop independent whisky labels to both off-trade (retail) and HORECA (on-trade) clients. Viktorija is a strong believer in the bottom-up approach and when deciding to venture into the world of whisky, she worked on-trade in Oran Mor whisky bar in Glasgow, then she moved onto working in retail at the Good Spirits Co specialising in whisky and this way built industry knowledge, and built contacts. As of 2019, she is the co-owner of the Dràm Mor independent whisky bottling brand.

    Home Image

    Viktorija Macdonald

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Michael Maclean TASTE JUDGE

    Having been part of the Edinburgh bar scene for over 10 years Michael has worked in some of Scotland’s leading venues. As part of the launch team of Usquabae Whisky Bar Michael was on hand to help...
    Read More

    Having been part of the Edinburgh bar scene for over 10 years Michael has worked in some of Scotland’s leading venues. As part of the launch team of Usquabae Whisky Bar Michael was on hand to help develop it into one of Scotland’s leading whisky venues.

    As General Manager he helped cultivate a whisky list showcasing Scotland’s finest liquid. Currently working at The Dome, Edinburgh, Michael is helping lead a new whisky and drinking experience to help share his glowing passion for whisky.

    Home Image

    Michael Maclean

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Stuart McCluskey TASTE JUDGE

    Stuart McCluskey is the Founder and Director of the Bon Vivant Group in Edinburgh; a hospitality group launched in 2008 which is focussed on sharing Stuart’s passion for excellent local produce and...
    Read More

    Stuart McCluskey is the Founder and Director of the Bon Vivant Group in Edinburgh; a hospitality group launched in 2008 which is focussed on sharing Stuart’s passion for excellent local produce and outstanding customer service. The group currently consists of four bar/restaurants (The Bon Vivant, The Devil's Advocate, Lady Libertine and the The Register Club); two casual dining venues (El Cartel Old Town and New Town) and a bottle shop in the form of The Bon Vivant's Companion.

    As a key figure in the Scottish hospitality scene, Stuart is part of the judging panel for the illustrious World’s 50 Best Bars as well as Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards and most recently has been inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich for his commitment to the Scotch Whisky Industry. Having dedicated so much of his career to showcasing the very best of Scottish food and drink, he is keen to share this passion with the next generation and in 2016 he was one of the founding members of ‘The 100’; a collective of the top industry professionals in Scotland.

    Hailing from nearby Fife, Stuart studied Applied Chemistry at Edinburgh University and it was here he fell in love with the city and its thriving bar and restaurant scene. His introduction to the hospitality industry came via a student job in the Stockbridge area, and from that point on he was hooked. Making a conscious effort to gain as varied an experience as possible he had a stint with the national chain Browns through which he gained exposure to large-scale operations then a job at David Ramsden’s Rogue restaurant helped develop his appreciation of fine dining and good wine and finally the chance to help launch the erstwhile Circus Café enabled him to indulge his creative side. Taking his passion abroad, Stuart spent two and a half years working in bars in Sydney and Melbourne to hone his skills, before returning to the UK as the Brand Ambassador for Martin Miller’s Gin, where he focussed on brand development.

    It was at this point he decide to put his decade of experience to good use and opened his first venture; The Bon Vivant in Edinburgh's city centre in 2008. Every detail of the concept was intensely scrutinised by Stuart and the end result is a continental drinking and dining experience offering unparalleled standards in cocktails, wine, food and service. The Bon Vivant is still winning awards 11 years after its launch, it has appeared in the Michelin Guide three years running and a personal highlight for Stuart came when The Bon Vivant won The Best International Restaurant Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2014 Spirited Awards - the first Scottish establishment to win an award from Tales. In 2011, Stuart ventured into retail and opening an adjoining off-licence called The Bon Vivant's Companion, which stocks an astonishing assortment of wines, spirits and beers.

    (In 2013 the launch of Stuart’s next venue came as part of a new partnership with the Chris Stewart Group as part of the regeneration project of Advocate’s Close, this partnership would go on to drive the business from strength to strength.) 2013 saw the launch of The Devil’s Advocate in a converted pump house in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. Stocking over 300 whiskies with a contemporary cool Scottish vibe, the offer was a move away from the familiar but the common thread of quality and attention to detail was evident. Not one to slow down, the following year, Stuart began work on an entirely new concept and the resulting El Cartel was born; a quick and vibrant casual dining experience in the New Town which offers home-made, fresh and authentic Mexican street food and drinks.

    Fast forward to 2018 and The Bon Vivant Group has almost doubled in size after securing a financial deal to support Stuart’s growth plans and the launch of three exciting new venues; the second El Cartel in the Teviot area of the city as well as two new opportunities at the Edinburgh Grand. Located in the coveted St Andrews Square area The Bon Vivant Group is the only independent operator in a sea of London chains in that patch of town – a feat for which Stuart is incredibly proud. The Register Club on the 4th floor is operated in partnership with the Edinburgh Grand and is an elegant haven offering all the private club benefits without the associated price tag - A winning combination! Finally, the newest addition to the Bon Vivant Group is Lady Libertine, which combines deliciously fresh food, an incredible array of cocktails and wine alongside a carefully curated line up of DJs and live music – great food, great drinks and great music – they do say the best things come in threes.

    Home Image

    Stuart McCluskey

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Matthew McFadyen TASTE JUDGE

    Matthew McFadyen is one of the co-founders of The Good Spirits Company, Glasgow's leading independent spirits specialist.  He is particularly interested in Scotch malt whisky, but his passion for...
    Read More

    Matthew McFadyen is one of the co-founders of The Good Spirits Company, Glasgow's leading independent spirits specialist.  He is particularly interested in Scotch malt whisky, but his passion for booze extends to the fine art of the cocktail. He hosts monthly Whisky, Gin, and Cocktail tastings.

    Prior to setting up The Good Spirits Co., he worked for Oddbins, managing Glasgow branches in the city centre and on the south side. Whilst there he developed a keen understanding of both the on- and off-trade, along with a taste for fine wine. He also ran regular customer tastings of wine, champagne, and whisky.

    Matthew grew up in the Black Isle close to the site of the Ferintosh distillery. His first bottle of whisky was Laphroaig Ten Year Old.

    Dedicated husband and father of two, Matthew confesses to a weakness for tweed, although he hasn't yet taken up golf!

    Home Image

    Matthew McFadyen

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Annabel Meikle BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE

    Annabel has been in the role of Director of the Keepers of the Quaich since May 2015,when she relocated the office north of the Border. Her role is to organise the twoceremony and banquets each year where...
    Read More

    Annabel has been in the role of Director of the Keepers of the Quaich since May 2015,
    when she relocated the office north of the Border. Her role is to organise the two
    ceremony and banquets each year where new members are inducted into the society at Blair Castle.

    She has worked in the whisky industry since 2001, organising events and tastings, then as the global brand ambassador for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg. She established her own consultancy, the Whisky Belle, where she was contributing editor on two publications and well respected for her sensory evaluation and tasting notes. Annabel has delighted audiences all over the world with her knowledge and passion for Scotch Whisky.

    Home Image

    Annabel Meikle

    BUSINESS & TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Frank Murphy TASTE JUDGE

    Frank has been in the licensed trade since the first family pub in Possil when he was 8. He's since gone from clearing glasses, to pulling pints, to brewing beer, to being the hairy face of one of the...
    Read More

    Frank has been in the licensed trade since the first family pub in Possil when he was 8. He's since gone from clearing glasses, to pulling pints, to brewing beer, to being the hairy face of one of the best whisky bars in Glasgow, and therefore the world, The Pot Still on Hope Street. Still a family affair with sister Geraldine and dad Brian, they've achieved seven years manning the helm without any of them being jailed for the axe murder of the other two; but there's still time. With a perpetually rotating gantry, Frank spends a fair bit of time "working" on finding new delights at auction, on dusty shelves in corner shops and visiting distilleries for that hand-filled rarity. It's a hard life. He's also known by name at Glasgow Airport but that's not for here...

    Frank has a cousin who wrote a book on gin, but Frank doesn't hold it against him. He beats him over the head with it instead.

    Home Image

    Frank Murphy

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Sean Murphy TASTE JUDGE

    Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for the Scotsman and has recently published his first book.  Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind...
    Read More

    Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for the Scotsman and has recently published his first book.  Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them. 

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

    Home Image

    Sean Murphy

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    James Porteous TASTE JUDGE

    James is the founder and distiller of the Electric Spirit Company, producing spirits in Leith, Edinburgh. As a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, James previously consulted on brand experience for...
    Read More

    James is the founder and distiller of the Electric Spirit Company, producing spirits in Leith, Edinburgh.

    As a graduate of the Glasgow School of Art, James previously consulted on brand experience for numerous multi-national businesses, before returning to Scotland and enrolling on the Brewing & Distilling MSc at Heriot Watt. He graduated with distinction, receiving the Brewers’ Company Prize as the course’s top student, as well as the Watt Club Medal as dux litterarum in the School of Life Sciences.

    He founded Electric in late 2014, beginning production on a 20 litre still in a tiny industrial unit. The company has since increased capacity and expanded distribution nationally, winning at the Scottish Gin Awards and being named as the coolest spirit brand in Scotland by The Herald, with Ian Buxton placing Electric “at the cutting edge of the vibrant Scottish craft distilling scene” in 101 Gins to Try Before You Die.

    Home Image

    James Porteous

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Karen Somerville BUSINESS JUDGE

    Karen has a passion for whisky and glass. Co-Founder and director of The Fife Whisky Festival, a vibrant celebration of whisky in the Kingdom of Fife. Now in its fifth year and growing year on year It...
    Read More

    Karen has a passion for whisky and glass. Co-Founder and director of The Fife Whisky Festival, a vibrant celebration of whisky in the Kingdom of Fife.

    Now in its fifth year and growing year on year It is marked as a highlight of the festival circuit calendar. It is also the only female ran Whisky Festival in the UK.

    Karen is also director of Angels’ Share Glass, awarding winning specialist glass manufacturer in Scotland. Winner of entrepreneur of the year and many other business accolades, Karen champions female led businesses and mentors new startups. Her passion for both Scotch Whisky and Business is evident in all she does.

    Home Image

    Karen Somerville

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Karen Walker BUSINESS JUDGE

    A Master and Keeper of the Quaich, Karen is a highly experienced, accomplished and well-respected Scotch whisky marketeer with global exposure, gained from roles within the spirits industry throughout...
    Read More

    A Master and Keeper of the Quaich, Karen is a highly experienced, accomplished and well-respected Scotch whisky marketeer with global exposure, gained from roles within the spirits industry throughout her whole career.

    Now a marketing consultant, specialising in the marketing of spirits, utilising 28 years’ experience, she is focussed on adding value to fledgling, growing or established businesses.

    Home Image

    Karen Walker

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Dr. Christopher White TASTE JUDGE

    Dr. Christopher White is an award-winning whisky writer, presenter, host, and judge, and is currently Head of Private Clients at Beamish International in Edinburgh. Chris has hosted hundreds of events...
    Read More

    Dr. Christopher White is an award-winning whisky writer, presenter, host, and judge, and is currently Head of Private Clients at Beamish International in Edinburgh.

    Chris has hosted hundreds of events across the globe, he has worked in an ambassadorial capacity for several whisky brands, and he won the inaugural ‘Communicator of the Year’ award at the Icons of Whisky Scotland Awards. He has previously judged the World Whiskies Awards, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Awards, The Scottish Whisky Awards, The Spirits Business’ Global Scotch Masters, the Independent Bottlers Challenge, and the Scottish Field Whisky Challenge, as well as several national and international cocktail competitions.

    He has also attended Diageo’s prestigious Malt Advocates Course, gained the Diploma in the Art of Tasting Whisky from Edinburgh Whisky Academy, sat on the Tasting Panel at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and had several high profile articles published in Whisky Magazine. Prior to joining Beamish, Chris was a Private Client Advisor at Diageo Rare & Exceptional based at the Johnnie Walker flagship experience in Edinburgh. He is also the founder, and former General Manager, of the award-winning Usquabae Whisky Bar in Edinburgh’s West End.

    Home Image

    Dr. Christopher White

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Debargha Ganguly TASTE JUDGE

    Debargha is a 2017 graduate of Brewing & Distilling from Heriot Watt University specialising in sensory analysis. His MSc. thesis was in collaboration with SWRI focusing on sensory profiling of bourbon...
    Read More

    Debargha is a 2017 graduate of Brewing & Distilling from Heriot Watt University specialising in sensory analysis. His MSc. thesis was in collaboration with SWRI focusing on sensory profiling of bourbon and rye spirts based on their grist composition and maturation in toasted and untoasted cask.

     

    He joined Cara Technology in 2018 as sensory scientist and then stayed as sensory manager till mid-2021. He has been part of an expert taster panel at Cara evaluating whisky, beer, gin, neutral spirits, tea, coffee, water and Aroxa flavour standards. He has also been associated with Scottish gin and whisky awards since its inception in 2018 and 2019. He is a certified Cicerone. He enjoys aroma of  β-Farnesene and α-Humulene in his beer and Guaiacol and 4-Methyl Phenol in his spirits.

     

    Presently he is Business Development Manager (Europe) at MMR Research focusing on innovations in FMCG. He is also pursuing his masters in Strategic Marketing from Imperial Business School.

    Home Image

    Debargha Ganguly

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Pete Allison TASTE JUDGE

    Pete is the whisky maker and co-founder of Woven, the contemporary blending house in Leith, Edinburgh.  In 2021, Pete and his four co-founders launched Woven as a way to explode outdated, draconian...
    Read More

    Pete is the whisky maker and co-founder of Woven, the contemporary blending house in Leith, Edinburgh. 


    In 2021, Pete and his four co-founders launched Woven as a way to explode outdated, draconian perceptions about what blended whisky is, and instead ask the question - 'what can blended whisky be? For Woven, blending is more than an action, it’s an idea. Blending is exciting, it’s discovery. Blending is how new ideas are born.


    Before Woven, Pete worked for The Macallan in the Middle East and Africa, Atom Supplies in America, and the sherry producer Gonzalez Byass, in various roles across brand and business development. He was also at one time Edinburgh’s slowest bartender in the mid-2000s.

    Home Image

    Pete Allison

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Marc Watson TASTE JUDGE

    Marc Watson is the Head Distiller and Distillery Manager at Holyrood Distillery. Marc’s ardent vision to create great spirits led him to study at Heriot Watt, achieving his Master’s degree...
    Read More

    Marc Watson is the Head Distiller and Distillery Manager at Holyrood Distillery. 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 create a bunch of award-winning products in a number of roles with some well-known industry veterans – most recently with Nick Ravenhall at Holyrood distillery. Combined with Marc’s impeccable knowledge of distillation and his well worn recipe book; he has been involved in the development and imminent release of a number of exciting products in the gin, whisky and rum categories.

     

    Home Image

    Marc Watson

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Georgia Porteous TASTE JUDGE

    Georgia is a whisky specialist at Bonhams, one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers. She has worked across the business since 2012, and joined the wine and spirits department in 2019. Currently...
    Read More

    Georgia is a whisky specialist at Bonhams, one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers. She has worked across the business since 2012, and joined the wine and spirits department in 2019. Currently responsible for whisky in Scotland, she is charged with the sourcing of fine and rare whiskies from around the world, as well as the organisation and operation of the company's domestic and international sales.

    Home Image

    Georgia Porteous

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Ciaran Russell TASTE JUDGE

    Ciarán is the Liquid Innovations Manager at Sipsmith, where he leads on new product development and quality control across the full product portfolio. Following several years working in some of...
    Read More

    Ciarán is the Liquid Innovations Manager at Sipsmith, where he leads on new product development and quality control across the full product portfolio. Following several years working in some of Scotland’s best cocktail bars, Ciarán completed his MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University with a focus on new product development in gin, and sensory & flavour analysis of liquids. He began his career at Sipsmith as Assistant Distiller where he was part of the team conducting the day to day production of all distillates. Ciarán has developed and implemented the quality sensory framework at Sipsmith, and now works across several departments within the distillery to ensure that products are produced to the correct standard, alongside having developed the companies limited release liquids over the last several years. He was awarded the 2021 Rising Star award from the ISC, and shortlisted for the 2022 Emerging Talent award from the IWSC.

    Home Image

    Ciaran Russell

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Lucy Geraghty TASTE JUDGE

    Lucy is the Commercial Partnerships Manager at Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh, managing the private cask programme and third party production. Her interest in whisky began after a family trip to Islay...
    Read More

    Lucy is the Commercial Partnerships Manager at Holyrood Distillery in Edinburgh, managing the private cask programme and third party production.


    Her interest in whisky began after a family trip to Islay and she has pursued roles within the industry ever since. After starting her career at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, she moved to Keepers of the Quaich and has now been at Holyrood since it opened in 2019.

    Alongside whisky, Lucy likes to explore the Scottish Highlands, go wild swimming and bake in her spare time.

    Home Image

    Lucy Geraghty

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    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...
    Read More

    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 tourism he moved in hospitality, managing a number of specialist whisky bars, organising festivals and tastings. His career has seen him working with a number of both global and independent whisky brands as well as World Whisky Day. Now, as Operations Manager at Edinburgh's Barney's Beer Microbrewery he enjoys the constantly changing and evolving world of working in one of the cities most recognisable microbreweries; championing the traditional Hauf n Hauf whenever possible.

    Home Image

    Aly Mathers

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Krisztian Eke TASTE JUDGE

    Krisztian Eke currently oversees the Still Room (Whisky shop) at Gleneagles. He graduated in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Geography with a specialisation in Geoinformatics. Working in...
    Read More

    Krisztian Eke currently oversees the Still Room (Whisky shop) at Gleneagles. He graduated in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Geography with a specialisation in Geoinformatics. Working in hospitality and retail since then, he quickly educated himself and gained knowledge about whisky.

    A daily whisky tasting is held by him, as well as whisky investment consultations. His favourite drink is single malt whisky, but he also enjoys fine wines and craft beers.   

    Apart from whisky, he likes to play music at home on his bass guitar or play table tennis with friends.

    Home Image

    Krisztian Eke

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Christian Humphreys BUSINESS JUDGE

    Christian joined Sanderson Weatherall in April 2011 and has developed over 23 years of valuation and advisory experience; and has been instrumental in the profiling of Whisky inventory and distillery process...
    Read More

    Christian joined Sanderson Weatherall in April 2011 and has developed over 23 years of valuation and advisory experience; and has been instrumental in the profiling of Whisky inventory and distillery process plant and machinery valuations for banking security, asset based lending, investments and acquisitions. In addition to working in markets as diverse as; printing, plastics, aerospace, automotive, metals, pharmaceuticals, health and beauty, foods and drinks, plant hire, rail, chemicals, recycling, packaging, construction, rare yarns and fibres and access plant to name certain examples, Christian has built a trusted and strong reputation in the Whisky sector offering specialist advice assisting banks, investors, distilleries, brokers and independent bottlers providing structured cask and cased goods valuations. Over the years, Christian has provided the appropriate guidance, due diligence, value profiling and market advice to a wide client base involved in supporting and advising multiple structured asset based lending facilities, investments and acquisitions of distilleries, independent bottlers and brokers across Scotland, Ireland, England and Australasia.

    Home Image

    Christian Humphreys

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Lewis Watts TASTE JUDGE

    Lewis began his career in the whisky industry nearly two decades ago and has been a passionate advocate for craft drinks ever since. He honed his craft at some of the UK’s best independent drinks...
    Read More

    Lewis began his career in the whisky industry nearly two decades ago and has been a passionate advocate for craft drinks ever since. He honed his craft at some of the UK’s best independent drinks retailers, as well as the leading specialist spirit auctions. 

    He has been privileged to work alongside some of the most knowledgable, talented and inspiring people in the industry, soaking up as much knowledge and experience as possible along the way. Now he gets to share that learning with whisky lovers across the globe through his work with the Bevvy app.

    He has a broad wealth of tasting experience, of course with whisky, but also fine wine, craft beer, and artisanal rum. He loves sharing his passion and knowledge with others and empowering fellow enthusiasts.

    Home Image

    Lewis Watts

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    David Reid BUSINESS JUDGE

    David runs his own Edinburgh-based consultancy Because Brands Matter. The business has one sole objective; To make businesses become brands, and to make these brands become famous. With a career spanning...
    Read More

    David runs his own Edinburgh-based consultancy Because Brands Matter. The business has one sole objective; To make businesses become brands, and to make these brands become famous.

    With a career spanning 36 years, David has worked both agency and client side and has successfully assisted several food and drink manufacturers. These include
    names such as Glenmorangie, Drambuie, Smirnoff, Tennent’s, Lind & Lime, Kintyre Gin, Mother’s Pride, Border Biscuits and Walkers. Using his unique Brand Repositioning process, he has helped hundreds of businesses, across a variety of sectors, develop their purpose, reframe their proposition, hone their marketing strategies and finesse their messaging.

    David is the only person to have 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 promiscuous gin drinker” and is keen to assist any brand looking to increase their share of voice and capture market share.

    Home Image

    David Reid

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Jim Rankin BUSINESS JUDGE

    Jim Rankin is Commercial Director and 6th generation owner of Rankin Brothers & Sons, supplier of corks and closures to the Beers, Wines, Spirits and Foods Packaging industries. Having been born with...
    Read More

    Jim Rankin is Commercial Director and 6th generation owner of Rankin Brothers & Sons, supplier of corks and closures to the Beers, Wines, Spirits and Foods Packaging industries.

    Having been born with a cork in his mouth, he spat it out, albeit temporarily, to make wine with Penfolds in Australia during the late 80’s. While down under, he honed his commercial skills selling encyclopaedia Britannica door to door and later, developed a fine eye for detail working in design with ad agency McCann.

    A call to help resuscitate T Top Stopper supply to the Spirits industry, lead to a return to the UK in 1992 and to his appointment as Sales Director to the family business.
    As custodian of 4,500 acres of cork forest in Portugal, Jim’s expertise in stopper design and function extends from `acorn to bottle’.

    Jim remains fascinated by the myriad brands the company supports; his credo being that the commercial offer remains as relevant today, as is was when the business was founded in 1774.

    A keen advocate of work life balance and exponent of the virtue of sedentary sports, Jim has swapped a rowing boat for a bicycle, which he has used to cross America twice.

    Home Image

    Jim Rankin

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Pete Sherry TASTE JUDGE

    Pete has worked in the drinks trade since he was 18, having started in Oddbins. He then moved into the on trade part of the business to experience it from the other side and moved back to off trade after...
    Read More

    Pete has worked in the drinks trade since he was 18, having started in Oddbins. He then moved into the on trade part of the business to experience it from the other side and moved back to off trade after securing a position with a local independent beer shop in Edinburgh.

    He opened The Beerhive in 2011 and over the following years built up a wide range of Gin, constantly rotates this at around 40 gins to keep up with the increase in new openings of Scottish Gin distilleries and the rise in demand for quality gin. It has become a huge focus in the shop and Pete always endeavours to buy direct from the distillery so he can meet the producers and get to know the gin first hand.

    The Beerhive also stocks over 700 Beers and 500 wines. In 2015 and 2016 The Beerhive was awarded Best beer shop in Scotland by Off Licence News.

    Home Image

    Pete Sherry

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Elsie Cinnamond TASTE JUDGE

    Elsie Cinnamond’s hospitality career started as a photographer earning £5 an hour in a 60s-themed nightclub with a revolving dancefloor and bucking bronco. Unperturbed she pursued a career...
    Read More

    Elsie Cinnamond’s hospitality career started as a photographer earning £5 an hour in a 60s-themed nightclub with a revolving dancefloor and bucking bronco. Unperturbed she pursued a career behind the bar finding cocktail creation and spirits far more interesting than her degree. 

    Over ten years later, she’s held such titles as Whisky Bar General Manager, Head of Drinks Development, and Chef de Partie (her back-of-house wilderness years). In that time, she has represented whisky brands in Scotland and abroad and passed on her passion for the spirit through training younger generations of bartenders. 

    You can now find her at Holyrood Distillery, managing the distillery bar, designing experiences and masterclasses, and praying she doesn’t break any more Glencairns. She blushed when The Spirit Business recently listed the Height of Arrows Gin Experience as a Top 10 Gin Distillery Experience in the UK. 

    Outside work, you can find her sketching, usually with a half-and-half, or her cats, sometimes both. Self-proclaimed life and soul of the party until about 9 pm-ish

    Home Image

    Elsie Cinnamond

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Louise Gallagher TASTE JUDGE

    Louise Gallagher is Business Development Manager at Pol Roger Portfolio; the family owned & run company responsible for Glenfarclas Single Malt in the UK. Beginning her career with Cellar Trends almost...
    Read More

    Louise Gallagher is Business Development Manager at Pol Roger Portfolio; the family owned & run company responsible for Glenfarclas Single Malt in the UK. Beginning her career with Cellar Trends almost 15 years ago, to Moët Hennessy, to Glengarry - New Zealand and MMI Seychelles, Louise has represented an array of World renowned whiskies and wines throughout her career in the UK and across the globe. 

     

    Although constantly surrounded by the most prestigious wine & whisky, you are most likely to meet her with a pint in hand. 

    Home Image

    Louise Gallagher

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Morag Garden BUSINESS JUDGE

    My career began, and has always remained, in both trade associations and lobbying as well as the sustainability arena working with a number of industry bodies and Governments.  My career started in...
    Read More

    My career began, and has always remained, in both trade associations and lobbying as well as the sustainability arena working with a number of industry bodies and Governments. 

    My career started in Scottish Water covering a range of roles from Laboratory through to Environmental policy.  I then took a number of secondment opportunities during my career, including a year with the Scottish Government developing policies on how to control Diffuse Pollution as part of Scotland’s implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive.  I moved from water to whisky in 2007.

    A decade later, I took the role of Head of Sustainability & Innovation for Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

    In 2021 I moved to the global sustainability consultancy Carbon Intelligence as Associate Director focusing on the Retail & Management sector. Where I delivered a suite of decarbonisation & off-setting roadmaps for blue chip clients including Specsavers, Channel 4 and Twitter.

    I now have the huge privilege of being appointed the first CEO of the English Whisky Guild and to support them in delivering on their vision to be recognised globally as a respected choice for whisky drinkers. English whisky is witnessing unprecedented growth and at the leading edge of innovation and creating spirit produced with incredible flavour diversity and to the highest standards. Building a community for the sector as well as our wider stakeholders.

    Home Image

    Morag Garden

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Matt Chapman BUSINESS JUDGE

    Matt Chapman is the founder and managing director of Contagious: a creative agency of enthusiasts, globally renowned as experts in the design and delivery of drinks brands. He was born in Yorkshire, studied...
    Read More

    Matt Chapman is the founder and managing director of Contagious: a creative agency of enthusiasts, globally renowned as experts in the design and delivery of drinks brands.

    He was born in Yorkshire, studied design in Scotland and spent the first ten years of his career working for creative agencies in Edinburgh, London and Singapore. These formative years were spent designing global brands across numerous sectors, but it was his love of working within the eclectic world of drinks and premium spirits brands in particular that drove him to launch Contagious in 2001.

    Over twenty years later and both Matt and his award-winning agency are now well-established within the global drinks arena, with an incredible portfolio of internationally recognised brand names and independent start-ups. This platform allows the Contagious team to constantly push boundaries—utilising their multi-disciplinary expertise in brand strategy, brand world, brand activation, packaging, and immersive environment design to create unique brand experiences for consumers around the world.

    Home Image

    Matt Chapman

    BUSINESS JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Cameron Bowes TASTE JUDGE

    Cameron holds the current position of Head of UK Off Trade, RTM & On Trade at CVH Spirits, the bold, passionate and ambitious creator and distributor of globally recognised premium spirits and wines...
    Read More

    Cameron holds the current position of Head of UK Off Trade, RTM & On Trade at CVH Spirits, the bold, passionate and ambitious creator and distributor of globally recognised premium spirits and wines brands.

    His career in the drinks industry has spanned 24 years with a proven track record in On & Off Trade drinks sales at Head of UK, Channel Controller, National and Regional Account Management levels. He has worked across hospitality, drinks wholesale and drinks brands building many successful sales teams along the way. Cameron has worked for renowned Whisky brands including Bunnahabhain, Deanston, Tobermory, Ledaig, Glenfiddich, The Balvenie and Monkey Shoulder although his extensive knowledge expands across all Scotch Whisky and Whiskies from across the globe.

    When not thinking, or drinking, whisky Cameron is usually found on a pool table having played successfully at amateur level for many years.

    Home Image

    Cameron Bowes

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    James Sutherland TASTE JUDGE

    James opened 56 North in April 2008 as Scotland’s first gin bar. He has therefore been fortunate to be at the forefront of the growth in Gin throughout the last 15 years. James has worked with new...
    Read More

    James opened 56 North in April 2008 as Scotland’s first gin bar. He has therefore been fortunate to be at the forefront of the growth in Gin throughout the last 15 years.

    James has worked with new brands, producers and distillers as they have popped up all over Scotland. Most recently he has taken an active role in the Great Scottish Gin debates.

    Most importantly, James has hosted masterclasses on gin for over 25,000 people in Scotland, helping spread understanding and enjoyment to consumers and guests.

    Home Image

    James Sutherland

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Allan Anderson TASTE JUDGE

    Alexandrion Group Whisky Director & Master Distiller Carpathian Single Malt Whisky Allan Anderson is responsible for the group’s distillery projects from an operational, quality & technical...
    Read More

    Alexandrion Group Whisky Director & Master Distiller Carpathian Single Malt Whisky

    Allan Anderson is responsible for the group’s distillery projects from an operational, quality & technical point of view in Romania and in the USA and has been tasked with making Romania’s 1st ever single malt whisky.

     

    He is currently the only person in the world to make single malt whisky in Scotland, Ireland & Romania.

     

    Allan has more than 30 years of experience in producing both Scotch whisky (Loch Lomond, Whyte & Mackay, Aberargie) and Irish whiskey (The Great Northern Distillery). He also designed the distillery of Slane Castle Ireland and was a consultant for many smaller distillery projects.

    Home Image

    Allan Anderson

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    David Hannah TASTE JUDGE

    David is the Brewing & Distilling Malt Sales Manager for Muntons Malt, responsible for all malt sales within the distilling sector in Scotland and overseas markets. Throughout the last 8 years with...
    Read More

    David is the Brewing & Distilling Malt Sales Manager for Muntons Malt, responsible for all malt sales within the distilling sector in Scotland and overseas markets. Throughout the last 8 years with Muntons Malt, David has managed sales and business development across a wide spectrum of customers including craft, regional, national and international brewing and distilling accounts. David is an active member of the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, serving on the committee of the Scottish Section since 2018 and was elected Chair of the section in 2023.

    He also served on the organising committee of the Worldwide Distilled Spirits Conference 2023 in Edinburgh. David completed the General Certificate in Malting through the Institute of Brewing & Distilling and Maltsters Association of Great Britain, whilst experiencing hands on training at various distilleries in Scotland. He has conducted whisky tastings at various trade events for Muntons Malt, demonstrating the importance of raw material in the final products.

    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.

    Home Image

    David Hannah

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Andre de Almeida TASTE JUDGE

    Andre is a consultant, writer, and blogger with 20 years of experience in the drinks industry both in the UK and internationally across the On Trade, Off Trade, Prestige/ Luxury and Global Travel Retail...
    Read More

    Andre is a consultant, writer, and blogger with 20 years of experience in the drinks industry both in the UK and internationally across the On Trade, Off Trade, Prestige/ Luxury and Global Travel Retail (GTR). As part of his work through Inside the Cask Ltd, he helps drinks brands to develop and execute effective business and brand strategies across different markets and channels. Originally from Brazil, Andre has lived in Scotland for over 30 years and previously worked with leading drinks companies such as William Grant & Sons, Edrington, and Loch Lomond Group, as well as emerging brands such as The Secret Garden Distillery.

    Andre also manages his own website, Inside the Cask, where he shares insights, knowledge, jobs and his passion for the drinks industry. He is a jury member for the Spirits Selection by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (Belgium 2021, Guadeloupe 2022, Italy 2023, China 2024).

    Home Image

    Andre de Almeida

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Adrian Gomes TASTE JUDGE

    Adrian Gomes (10 Dollar Shake / The Tippling House) has been working within the events sector of the whisky industry for more than 12 years, developing brand activations and drinks strategies for some...
    Read More

    Adrian Gomes (10 Dollar Shake / The Tippling House) has been working within the events sector of the whisky industry for more than 12 years, developing brand activations and drinks strategies for some of the world's largest Scotch whisky brands.  Recently awarded 'Mixologist of the Year' from Dram Magazine, Gomes also works closely with the tourism industry in the North-East hosting whisky tastings a number of times every week for the region's ever-growing number of visitors.

    Home Image

    Adrian Gomes

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Paul Dempsey TASTE JUDGE

    Paul is the Sales & Marketing Director for Brave New Spirits, the Glasgow-based Independent Bottler that is  currently constructing their first distillery, Witchburn, in Cambeltown.  Starting...
    Read More

    Paul is the Sales & Marketing Director for Brave New Spirits, the Glasgow-based Independent Bottler that is  currently constructing their first distillery, Witchburn, in Cambeltown.  Starting his career in drinks over 20 years ago with a UK distributor for several whisky & premium spirits producers, he’s spent the last 10 years working in international roles. Being an enthusiast for all things wine & spirits, he’s visited distilleries & wineries in over 20 countries.   He holds the WSET Level 3 Spirits qualification, is a two-time Whisky Magazine “Icons of Whisky” nominee and has previously served on spirits judging panels in Europe, Asia & Latin / South America.

    Home Image

    Paul Dempsey

    TASTE JUDGE
  • Home Image

    Emma Walker

    Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Emma Walker, began working for Diageo in 2008 and for more than a decade has been one of the small team of 12 expert whisky makers working together in pursuit of blending...
    Read More

    Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Emma Walker, began working for Diageo in 2008 and for more than a decade has been one of the small team of 12 expert whisky makers working together in pursuit of blending excellence. 

    She has a background in scientific research with production expertise and has developed an extensive knowledge of whisky production, maturation and blending. During her career, she has worked in different areas of whisky production; gaining experience and understanding of how flavour develops in fermentation, distillation and maturation, striving to ensure quality at every step.   

    Leading the Whisky Specialist team based in Menstrie, Scotland, Emma has access to more than ten million casks of maturing Scotch whisky from distilleries across the four corners of Scotland.    

    Home Image

    Emma Walker