Michael Ligas (Head Judge)
Michael Ligas is a BJCP certified beer judge and a professional member of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas and the American Society of Brewing Chemists. He previously served on a technical committee for the Brewers of Canada and has won numerous national and international awards in brewing. He currently is a Food & Beverage and Biotechnology specialist at Deloitte LLP in the Global R&D and Government Incentives group. Prior to joining Deloitte he worked in the wine/beer/spirits sector, founded a specialized microbiological services company, and conducted published research in virology and molecular biology. Michael holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Molecular Biology) degree from McMaster University.
Laura Takata (Table Lead)
Laura’s passion for beer started back in the 80’s, when she started her career in the beer industry. From microbiology to flavour quality to new product development, she has developed and implemented various quality improvement initiatives, including a Taster Training and Validation program for North America’s oldest brewing company. Laura now focuses her efforts as the R&D Manager for Constellation Brands, a leading international producer and marketer of beer, wine and spirits with operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Italy.
Chris Burek is the founder of the Ontario Beverage Network and was formerly a lead organizer and National Director of Sales and Marketing for the Canadian Brewing Awards in 2014 and 2015. He is an occasional homebrewer, Cicerone Certified International Beer Server, MBAA Certified Beer Steward and part-time bartender. His career is based in pharmaceutical and biotech regulatory operations.
Jason started home brewing in 2006, and has been growing hops on two 20’ hop trellises in his suburban back yard since 2008. He runs three rotating taps, one of which always has a west coast IPA. Co-founder of the Great Ontario-Hopped Craft Beer Competition, Jason works for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and works with hop growers to improve their crop protection practices.
Louise Agius is a Risk Management Specialist with the Risk Identification and Management (RIM) Unit in OMAFRA’s Foods of Plant Origin program since 2014. In this role, she specializes in cider production and has been helping producers achieve higher levels of food safety during manufacturing. Prior to joining OMAFRA, Louise spent several years in industry as a food safety professional and quality assurance lead for both small and global food processors. She began her career in brewing where she worked in quality control for a large manufacturer for three years and became a trained sensory evaluator of beer. Having sat on numerous sensory profile panels, Louise has acquired more than a taste for beer—sampling new and innovative flavours has become a hoppy—err—happy obsession!
Louise holds an Honours B. Sc. in Biochemistry and an M.Sc. in Food Safety and Quality Assurance with Toxicology from the University of Guelph.
Luisa is a Brewmaster and Brewery Operations Management student at Niagara College (Fall 2017). She is an avid craft beer seeker and has been home brewing with local ingredients for several years. In the past she has served the food and pharmaceutical sectors as an Analytical Development Chemist and R&D Manager and holds an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Biology from Ryerson University. She is pleased to join the Great Ontario Hopped Craft Beer Competition as a Judge and is looking forward to exciting new developments of hop agriculture in Ontario.
Rick Tanton is a freelance strategist, advertising ex-pat, and the co-owner and head brewer at Aurora’s first brewery, Twisted Branch. Since learning to homebrew in 2012 Rick has parlayed a love for beer and an admiration for brewing history into a goal of resurrecting lost and misunderstood historical beers.