Carsten E. Vlierboom
Rum, Cane Spirits & Cachaça

Carsten is Managing Director of E&A Scheer BV in the Netherlands, a dedicated and specialist company blending bulk rum for a wide range of clients world wide. He is also non-executive director of The Main Rum Company in Liverpool, a company specialised in selling casks of rare and old rums. Carsten has been working within the drinks industry for over 21 years and is an experienced master rum blender, blending Rums for many successful Rum brands and various other applications. He has many years of experience as a Rum Judge and chairman of the Rum panel at ISC. Besides his Rum work he holds the position of Honorary Consul for Jamaica in the Netherlands and he enjoys working with Jamaica, other Caribbean Islands and Rum producing countries all over the world.

Patrick van Zuidam
Liqueurs & Specialities

Patick van Zuidam is managing director and master distiller at his family owned distillery, Zuidam Distillers. He started distilling when he was 12 years old in his father's distillery that he now runs together with his brother. As such he has a broad experience in the distilling and producing of award-winning, ultra-premium spirits and liqueurs for both European and US markets.He is a judge at numerous international spirits competitions.

Well known brands include Millstone Dutch Single Malt Whisky, Dutch Rye, 100% Pot Still Rye Whisky, Zuidam Dutch Courage Dry Gin, Zuidam Genever Range and Zuidam Liqueur Range. 

His involvement with the ISC started as a judge of liqueurs in 1999 and he has been Chairman of liqueur judges since 2000. 

Neil Mathieson
Brandy, Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Grappa & Pisco

Having joined the wine trade at 20, Neil Mathieson has been Managing Director of Eaux de Vie and latterly Marussia Beverages, the Dutch based specialist spirit producer and distributor. His role encompasses distillation, blending and buying for the group's international spirits division with a focus on brandies from France and the rest of the world.

Desmond Payne
Gin & Genever

Desmond's gin career began when he joined Seager Evans & Co, the wine merchants and gin distillers, in 1967. In 1969 Desmond moved on to the Plymouth Gin distillery where he worked his way up to distillery manager. After a brief stint in the scotch whisky industry, Desmond joined Beefeater as master distiller in 1995. With a passion for continuing the tradition of excellence that was started by Beefeater founder James Burrough in 1820, Desmond is involved in every aspect of the production process from selecting the juniper berries to discussing the latest cocktails with the new generation of bartenders.

Recent highlights include the creation and introduction of Beefeater super premium gin, Beefeater 24, followed by the limited edition, Summer, Winter and London Market variants.

Jesse Estes
Tequila & Mezcal

Jesse Estes was first inducted into the London bar scene by Henry Besant and Dre Masso of the Worldwide Cocktail Club. He has since gone on to work at the likes of Green & Red, All Star Lanes, Callooh Callay, Luggage Room, as well as guest bartending around the world. He has won a number of cocktail competitions and now regularly acts as a judge for various cocktail competitions and spirits awards including the Drinks International's International Spirit Challenge, Bartenders' Best Awards, and Tequila Masters. In 2013, Jesse joined the Pacifico Group to work as the European Brand Ambassador for Tequila Ocho and to help develop the bar program for London's first 'agaveria' – and latest addition to the Pacifico Group – El Nivel. He is often consulted as an expert on agave spirits, and has been interviewed or featured in publications such as: Imbibe, Esquire, Shortlist, the Spirits Business and Drinks International, among others.

Jesse can now be found leading seminars, tastings, and masterclasses on tequila and agave spirits across Europe. He was recently named one of London's Best Bartenders by the Huffington Post.

Richard Paterson
Scotch Whisky & World Whisky

Richard Paterson is third generation in a family which has had a long association with the Scotch Whisky Industry. Richard started the art of “nosing” whisky at the tender age of 8 years old with his father so it is not surprising whisky runs in his blood. In 2016 Richard celebrates 50 years in the Industry having spent the last 46 years with Whyte & Mackay Distillers and being their Master Blender since 1970. Over this long period Richard has been heavily involved in both wine and spirits and still remains a great supporter and presenter at The Wine & Spirit Education Trust, London. He has produced countless award-winning whiskies however one of his greatest achievements was replicating The Mackinlays Malt Whisky which had been preserved under Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut in the South Pole for a staggering 103 years!   

He is a past President of The Institute of Wines & Spirits, Visitor of the Incorporation of Maltmen, Deacon of the Incorporation of Coopers, The Benevolent Society of the Licensed Trade of Scotland and in 1999 was made a “Master” Keeper of the Quaich at Blair Castle. In 2013 Richard was inducted into the “Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame.” In 2015 Whyte & Mackay Distillers was awarded the “UK Spirits Producer of the Year”.   

Ian Wisniewski
Vodka & White Spirits

Ian Wisniewski is a freelance writer and broadcaster specialising in spirits. He has written for various publications and is the author of seven books on spirits, including Classic Vodka, Classic Tequila and Classic Malt Whisky. He is particularly interested in the production process, and visits distilleries on a regular basis. He has been involved in the International Spirits Challenge since 1997 and has been chairman of the white spirits judges for several years.

Paul Foulkes-Arellano
Design & Packaging

Paul Foulkes-Arellano has been working in design and innovation for 25 years, specialising in alcoholic beverages. He is Client Services Director at Precipice, one of the world's leading design and innovation companies.