Get your entries ready for 2024


about the judges

The Bar & Beverage Awards will be judged by a diverse industry panel. Seniority within the bar industry is not a prerequisite to judging, but familiarity with the national landscape – and integrity – is.

Judges are eligible for awards, but they’ll be recused from judging any category they’re nominated in.

 This preclusion extends to any bars, brands, businesses or organisations that judges have a direct affiliation with, to avoid a conflict of interest.

head judge

Leah van Deventer

Independent Drinks Writer, Educator & Consultant
Leah van Deventer is a distinguished drinks writer, educator and
consultant based in Cape Town. She sits on numerous global
panels, most notably as an Academy Chair for the World’s 50 Best
Bars, Committee Member for Tales of the Cocktail and blind taster
for both the San Francisco World Spirits and International Wine &
Spirits competitions.

Leah’s received several accolades for her work, including winning
Bar Communicator of the Year three times in her home country of
South Africa, and Top 4 Spirits Communicator of the Year

Additionally, her commitment to effecting positive change has
twice earned her a place among the Bar World 100 as one of the
most influential figures in the global bar industry. She continues
to give back to her community though her sorority, the Sisterhood
for Industry Support (SIS). Find her at

Judging Panel

For 2024, our dynamic and diverse judging panel comprises 46 industry aficionados, handpicked for their passion and expertise. Breaking barriers, this diverse ensemble features 23 talented women and 23 equally impressive men from macros the national landscape.

Each judge brings a unique perspective and unwavering commitment to fairness, having disclosed any potential conflicts of interest. Together, they stand united in their mission to ensure every category receives the equitable consideration it deserves.

All judges are eligible for awards but will be recused from voting where necessary.

Aimee May Donofrio | Owner/Head Bartender at Smoking Kills, Site Manager at Battalion

AJ Durow | Bar & Beverage Consultant – Self-Employed

Albre Marais | Bar Owner at Insurgince

Alecs Maai’ke Besier | Bartender at Rikku, Owner of SERV’D Apparel, MIXO instructor at EBS

Alex Farnell | Prestige Director – Pernod Ricard South Africa

Alexander Fahrenheim | Director at Just Short

Ania Odyniecka | National Sales & Marketing Manager at Sanpellegrino & Acqua Panna

Ayanda Sithole | Bartender at Thirst Bar Services

Bojena Saunders | Brand Advocacy Manager

Burdett Geiling | Production Manager/Logistics at Just Short

Cameron Hawkins | SUBSA Head Advocacy and ORD’s at Bicardi

Cassandra Eichhoff | Director at the European Bartender School in Cape Town

Chantelle Horn | Herder of cats, Filmmaker and Luxury Drink Consultant at Crave Concepts

Charné van Heerden | Self-Employed

Christopher Pheiffer | Owner/GM

Dalu Dube | Head/Master Mixologist and Bar Manager at Burger & Lobster, Nikkei, Hacienda, Scala and Iron Steak and Bar

Daniel Knodl | Director at Just Short

David Donde | CEO of Truth Coffee, Rapt and The Art of Duplicity

Eutécia Name | General Manager at Sin Tax Bar

Evert de Jong | Director at Just Short and Sin Tax Bar

Gary Knoetze | Director at Beverage Chefs

Hester Bergh | Brewery Owner at Beerworks

Jan-Hendrik Venter | Group Beverage Manager for the Slick Restaurant Group (Belthazar, Gibsons and Balducci)

Josh Sarembock | Owner at Fable & Vue Shortmarket

Kholofelo Amanda Seopela | General Manager at Neighbarhood Listening Bar

Lauren Penny | Global Brand Ambassador for Inverroche Gin

Leah Van Deventer | Independent Drinks Writer, Educator & Consultant & Head Judge of the Bar & Beverage Awards

Lee-Ann Singer | FEDHASA Cape Chair and Singer Group Director

Liam Jukes | Bar Manager

Lucinda V Zinyemba | Business Development Consultant t Blacktaxconsulting and Founder of Lucy’s Magique Cocktails

Lucy Beard | Co-Owner at Hope Distillery

Luke Knox | Former Bacardi Brand Ambassador, Industry Mentor and Sales Manager

Marson Strydom | Advocacy Manager at Campari SA

Maynard Booyzen | Head Bartender at A Streetbar Named Desire

Paula Lorang | Founder at PAON Studio

Pieter Oosthuizen | Head of Product at Kegtails 

Richie Nahkala | General Manager at Alchemy

Roxanne Read | Head Trainer at EBS

Ryan Duvenage | Diageo Bar Academy Regional Head Trainer: Africa

Sabrina Traubner | Operations Manager for Gubo Consulting

Sheldon van Vuuren | Bar Manager/Benchwarmers Sport Bar

Stephanie Bronwin Oosthuizen | Owner of Socks Premium Syrups and Socks Flair Club

Steven Zylstra | Self-Employed

Tanealé Juanita van der Merwe | National Prestige Brand Ambassador at Pernod Ricard

Alessandro Galassi | Co-Owner of Talking to Strangers

Alex Lepelley | Co-Owner and Founder of Galactic Spirits Distillery and Liquor Logic Software

Bradly Howland | CEO of Alkemi Collective Marketing Agency

Caroline Smith | Head of PR at Flow Communications