Introducing the Expert Judging Panel for the BMA’s 2025!

Ross Carter

Ross Carter has worked in roles across the drinks industry for over 16 years, including procurement, winemaking, quality assurance and promotional roles.

Since 2019, Carter has been at The Drinks Trust as CEO. During his tenure, the charity rebranded from The Benevolent to The Drinks Trust, introduced new services and content, and significantly increased the volume of industry beneficiaries it helps on an annual basis. Since 2019, the Trust has delivered a new well-being service, Restore, a new educational and training programme, Develop, and the core financial support, Assist, which has been refined to provide more significant support to the Trust’s beneficiaries.

Claudia Carrozzi

Claudia is the first UKBG female president and beverage development manager for the Cunard fleet, a luxury cruise liner company. As well as day-to-day beverage product management for a global team, she is responsible for developing the cruise line’s beverage concepts and the White Star Service bar training program.

From her Tuscan Italian roots, she has spent a career spanning just over two decades and multiple countries, working in both independent and corporate hospitality. She is a WSET Spirits Educator and former associate educator at the Shaker Bar School, and has worked as a beverage consultant in London collaborating with unique and diverse spirits brands. Claudia has extensive involvement in judging national and global cocktail competitions including the IBA World Cocktail Championship and Mattoni International Cocktail Competition, as well as spirits competitions.

Chris Welham

With over 27 years of experience in the hospitality sector across various senior operational, executive and board-level roles, in listed, private, not-for-profit and family businesses, Chris joined the LTC in March 2024 as Chief Executive Officer. He is passionate about supporting people working in pubs, bars and breweries and is committed to further developing the initiatives of the Licensed Trade Charity. Chris is dedicated to enhancing the welfare of those working in our industry, ensuring they have the resources and support necessary to thrive.

Tea Colaianni

Tea Colaianni is the Founder and Chair of WiHTL & Diversity in Retail, the only EDI Collaboration Community across Hospitality, Travel, Leisure and Retail, counting over 115 of the most recognisable brands in the sectors as members, and with a mission to create diverse and inclusive working environments to positively impact 5 million employees globally by 2030. The Community is dedicated to fostering cross-industry collaboration and setting a new standard for culture and leadership through award-winning Leadership Development Programmes and insightful, actionable resources in the diversity and inclusion space. Over 1,300 delegates have successfully graduated from their programmes and continue to advance both their own careers and also the exponential growth of EDI advocacy within their organisations, benefitting colleagues and the societies they live in.

Lorraine Copes

Lorraine is a multi-award-winning social entrepreneur, board member, consultant, writer and coach. Having spent two decades as an executive director for brands including Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and Corbin & King, Lorraine felt compelled to form Be Inclusive Hospitality CIC in 2020, due to the consistent lack of representation of people of colour in positions of influence and the supply chain.

In 2022, Lorraine was named the GQ Food & Drink Innovator of the Year winner; she received a special award in the Code Hospitality 100 Most Influential Women in Hospitality list and won Entrepreneur of the Year at the Precious Awards. In 2023, Lorraine was named among NatWest and Pioneers Post’s WISE100: Top Women in Social Enterprise.

Be Inclusive Hospitality was recognised by NatWest’s SE100 for two consecutive years as one of the UK’s most impressive social enterprises.

Kat Stanley-Whyte

Kat is an agave spirits enthusiast with over 13 years’ experience in the hospitality industry. From working in some of the UK’s most prestigious venues, including American Bar at The Savoy, Kat’s expertise is abundant, and currently she finds herself at the newest Latin American-inspired hotspot, Viajante87. Alongside her role in the well-loved Notting Hill bar, Kat is a prominent figure in the world of spirits communication, and finds herself travelling the globe for a plethora of bar shifts and brand activations.

Kat is currently signed to Coastline Creatives Ltd for social media and marketing concepts, in addition to curating a multitude of spirits and soft drink signature menus and promotions for a wide variety of brands globally. An avid public speaker and advocate for women in the industry, Kat has a true passion for showcasing the multitude of pathways within the hospitality sector.

Louise Agostini

Louise has worked for The Access Group for nine years, directly with DesignMyNight for five of those.

Known for her openness and support, with the ability to navigate complex challenges with creativity and innovation, Louise’s 20+ years in leadership, and her collaborative approach, enables her to work effectively with diverse teams and stakeholders, fostering a culture of excellence and achievement within the industry.

Louise is a true customer advocate and remains committed to staying at the forefront of hospitality trends and best practices, continuously seeking opportunities for professional development and growth.

Amy Searle

With over 14 years retail trade, foodservice, wholesale and B2B experience, Amy displays a rounded expertise, garnered from a previous life at the Association of Convenience Stores and client-side roles. Amy is passionate about delivering commercial and reputational gains for her clients, and applies curiosity and creativity when responding to briefs, all of which has resulted in a number of award-winning campaigns. Amy frequently applies fresh thinking to help brands on their journey to drive distribution, grow trade relationships or engage the trade with new category, product and marketing propositions – providing tangible results for her clients.

Frankie Mercieca

Returning BMA judge, Frankie, has over 18 years of experience in PR and Comms, specialising in Food & Drink within hospitality, grocery and convenience. She has a proven track record of growing brand awareness and consideration, and an industry network that’s second to none. Mercieca is an award-winning integrated agency, with an enviable client roster of some of the world’s leading Food & Drink, Sport and Lifestyle brands, including Accolade Wines, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, MONIN, General Mills and Perfetti Van Melle.

Susan Chappell

As a Divisional Director for Mitchells & Butlers Executive Committee, Susan is responsible for looking after a collection of well-loved restaurants, bars and pubs, including All Bar One and Browns, the Nicholson’s collection of iconic pubs and our premium independent pubs known as Castle, all of which total an annual sales turnover of £500 million. She leads and inspires over 6000 employees and oversees the strategy of these well-loved high-profile brands and pub collections.

Having been part of the Mitchells & Butlers team for over 20 years since graduating with a BSC Hons in Hotel and Business Management from the University of Wales, Louise has worked across a number of the group’s brands, including Miller and Carter, and a number of marketing roles and food development roles.