Trade Buyer Judges

Here is the initial list of the judges. We are excited that these trade buyer judges represent some of the top liquor stores, chain stores, craft beer bars, restaurants, distributor/importers in the New York Metropolitan Area. All of these judges interact with consumers and will be judging the beer, cider and sake by its category and price.....The Real World!

Based upon feedback from the sake producer community we have created a special sake judging panel.

Please note that we will be adding more judges to the list as we get closer to the competition on February 10th. There are several trade buyers very interested in judging and need to confirm their schedules before officially committing. Please feel free to check back for further updates to the list.

Judges in Alphabetical Order

Anne Becerra Certified Cicerone at The Ginger Man with 70 rotating taps and 150+ bottles in inventory. A craft beer destination in New York City.

Jimmy Carbone of Jimmy's 43 a craft beer destination and major supporter of craft beers in New York. Holds numerous large tasting experiences throughout the year around New York. Co Host of Beer Sessions Radio on the Heritage Radio Network and one of the founders of the Good Beer Seal

Pete Colucci Craft Beer Buyer Shoprite Liquors of Westfield NJ

James Deluca (Sake) General Manager Shoprite Liquors of Westfield NJ

Ken Fisherman Partner The Guilty Goose a classic brasserie located in the hip Chelsea section of Manhattan.

Hiroko Furukawa (Sake) Sakaya Co-Owner of New York City's first and only shop dedicated to specializing in premium sake. They have a selection of over 100 sake's.

Ben Granger Co-Owner Bierkraft a mecca of beers with over 1000 different beers in stock with inventory and selection always updated. One of the top beer destinations in Brooklyn!

Tinika Green Beverage Director Blue Smoke Certified Cicerone who conducts monthly beverage education seminars. Blue Smoke is part of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group.

Graham Haverfield Beer Buyer at the world famous Wine Library Springfield NJ

Andrew Hoenig Beverage Director at Gingerman & The Cask Republic The Gingerman located in the heart of Manhattan have over 66 beers on tap and 120+ beers. The Cask Republic has 55 beer taps over 100 beers and more onsite at its New Haven CT location.

Ryan Kubek Beer Buyer Bayway Liquors/World of Liquors One of the top liquor stores in volume in the United States

Alan Jestice experienced beer buyer at multiple locations. Currently at Sunswick one of the top 50 bars in New York City as per Time Out Magazine 2012.

Laz Luis Beer Buyer Sparrow Wine & Liquors in Hoboken NJ

Karl Mende Beer Portfolio Manager for Allied Beverage. Selects beers for portfolio as well as setting pricing.

Steve O'Conner Beer Buyer Best Yet Market One of the largest craft beer selections with over 16 location in New York.

Mark Pascal Partner Stage Left One of the top restaurants in New York. Also found with his business partner on Restaurant Guys Radio

Gaku Shibata (Sake) Owner and Sake Buyer for Yopparai Restaurant. An intimate Japanese Sake Bar and full restaurant that is well reviewed in the New York Times and New York Magazine.

Matthew Smith Portfolio Manager Allied Beverage one of the top distributors in New Jersey.

Yasu Suzuki (Sake) Partner at SakaMai New York City first dedicated Sake Lounge. Also sake consultant to many sake restaurants in New York.