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Distillers Challenge


Spirits Competition

Molly Troupe

Chief Spirits Judge

Master Distiller/Partner
Freeland Spirits – Portland, OR

Featured in Forbes’ list of “30 Under 30” in 2018, Molly received her Bachelor’s in Chemistry and Master’s in Brewing and Distilling from the legendary Heriot Watt University.

At Freeland Spirits in Portland, Oregon, she creates products ranging from gin to whiskey to canned cocktails, incorporating local ingredients and both modern and multifaceted distillation techniques. She is a past board member of the American Craft Spirits Association.

Blake Heffernan

Spirits Judge

Lead Distiller
Seven Caves Spirits – San Diego, CA

Blake got his start at Home Brew Mart, birthplace of Ballast Point. He transitioned from brewing to spirits after helping BNS Brewery add a distillery component, making whiskey, a small-batch vodka and moonshine.

Blake went on to become Lead Distiller at You & Yours Distilling Co. and was consulting distiller at Granddad Jack’s Craft Distillery in Queensland, Australia. He currently is Lead Distiller at Seven Caves Spirits in San Diego.

Ale Ochoa

Spirits Judge

Lead Distiller
La Pulga Spirits – Ft. Worth, TX

Ale is Head of Spirits at Fort Worth-based spirits brand La Pulga Spirits. She oversees the quality and new expressions of agave spirits, as well as provides education on agave spirits production.

Ale was previously the whiskey scientist and blender at TX Whiskey, where she led blending and product development.

Patrick Terwedo

Spirits Judge

Lead Distiller and Manager
You & Yours Distilling Co. – San Diego, CA

Patrick began his journey as a distiller at Few Spirits in Evanston, Ill., learning his craft from grain to glass. He moved on to become head distiller at Maplewood Brewery & Distillery in Chicago, expanding their production of whisky, gin and rum.

At You & Yours Distilling, billed as “California’s First Destination Distillery,” he oversees a range of quality craft spirits as well as canned cocktails.

Holley Voegtle

Spirits Judge

Distillery Consultant – Hawaii and California

With a Master’s in Biology and Chemistry, Holley discovered the art of beer and spirits while working in the craft beverage industry in Maui, eventually apprenticing at a small craft distillery.

Working her way up to Lead Distiller and Manager, she split her time to also work in QA/QC at Maui Brewing. In San Diego she has worked as a Yeast Lab Supervisor and continues to consult for craft distilleries.

Justin McCabe


Head Distiller
117 Degrees West Spirits – Vista, CA

With a Doctorate in Chemistry and nearly two decades of home brewing experience, Justin combines these two passions to reinterpret traditional spirits recipes.

As Head Distiller at 117 Degrees West Spirits, he makes high-quality West Coast-inspired craft spirits, from citrusy hopped rum and gin to alternative-style whiskey.

Cheryl Dine

Package Design Consulting Judge

Design Perspective

Cheryl joins the judges as a consultant on the Package Design awards. She is an award-winning designer and brand strategist, who helps clients develop brand-centered design for all media touchpoints – from print to digital to packaging.

Cheryl is an advisory board member for AIGA-San Diego, and believer in building strong communities through client work in education, health, arts, technology and sustainability.

Rich Cook

Director of Competitions

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Del Milholland

Associate Competition Director

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