Meet The Team
Founder, Master Catador
Alex Perez - Los Angeles, CA
Alex Perez founded Tequila Aficionado in 1999 driven by a passion for, what was, at that time, the under-appreciated spirits of Mexico, and the desire to educate the public on the fine products being made there. With extensive experience in the wine, beer, and spirits industry as a mixologist and brand ambassador, Alex now helms the Liquid Collaborative, bringing craft cocktail creations and education to the masses.
Master Catador & Content Editor
Mike Morales - Los Angeles, CA
The face of Tequila Aficionado's "Sipping Off the Cuff" review series, and the Tequila Aficionado podcast, Mike Morales is the Master Catador and Content Director for Tequila Aficionado Media. Relying on nearly three decades of agave spirits experience,
Mike leads the Tequila Aficionado tasting team and is the head judge of our annual Brands of Promise competition.
Managing Editor, Senior Catador
Jim Johnston - Youngstown, OH
Jim Johnston has spent nearly a decade as a bartender, mixologist, and consultant. He strayed from his Irish heritage of whiskey and stouts during a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he experienced tequila in all of its glory at Maria's New Mexican Kitchen. Jim joined Tequila Aficionado in the midst of a fifteen year career in public relations, marketing, and digital media strategy. He remains a Senior Catador at Tequila Aficionado, while also running the day-to-day operations of the magazine and online platforms.
Dave Dinius - Reno, NV
Dave Dinius is Tequila Aficionado's "Man on the Move." Whether it's bars, restaurants, tasting events, spirits festivals, or even distillery visits, Dave appreciates the craft that goes into a well made agave spirit and he's willing to travel for it! With a discerning palate and over 6 years of professional tasting and judging experience, Dave is a student of all of the spirits of Mexico, appreciating dedication to tradition while being open to innovation in the agave spirits industry.
Matt Metras - Rochester, NY
Matt Metras has experienced the joy of agave spirits from absolutely every level, from harvesting agave pinas in the town of Tequila, to blending extra anejo barrels, to working the bar and hosting tequila tasting classes at his local cantina, Salena's Mexican Restaurant. He has seen all facets of what it takes to make exceptional agave spirits and he brings this appreciation of the craft to all of his tasting adventures with Tequila Aficionado.
Jason Silverman - Tempe, AZ
Jason Silverman is a former five star and five diamond chef, who also conceptualized and managed some of the most innovative agave spirits bars in Manhattan. Jason's expertise on agave spirits has been featured in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News, and he has judged for the New York International Spirits Competition and the IWSC's Spirits of Mexico competition. Jason serves as senior catador and resident mixologist for Tequila Aficionado.
Felipe Herida - Essex, England
Felipe Herida, of Romford, England, was an early disciple of tequila but, had to rely on his guitar to expand his palate. Playing at various bars around England, he was able to sample a wider variety and higher quality of tequila than what he was exposed to at home. He has played for martinis in Bangkok and mezcal in Cancun, but, when not holding his guitar and playing for his band, Herida, he is usually reaching for a good cigar and a fine tequila.
Eric Zandona - Crestview, FL
Eric Zandona is Tequila Aficionado's Professor of Spirits. He is the founder of EZDrinking, a spirits blog and consultancy that he runs with his wife, Tia, as well as an author, presenter, spirits judge, and the Director of the American Distilling Institute's International Spirits Competition. The author of the Bourbon Bible and the Tequila Dictionary, he has over a decade of experience in the craft spirits industry and possesses one the finest and most experienced palates at Tequila Aficionado.
Bryce Taylor - Austin, TX
Bryce Taylor is a lifelong Texan and a well traveled Tequila Aficionado. Beginning in 2015, Bryce has been a student of all things tequila, with several trips to distilleries in Jalisco. He is a graduate of Tequila Aficionado's Consumer Catador Course and is Certified Level 1 by the International Tequila Academy. Bryce is a spirits judge and tequila evangelist, sharing good bottles (neat & at room temperature) with family and friends. He and his wife are passionate about tequila and rescuing senior dogs.
Araceli Sharp - San Antonio, TX
Araceli Sharp has enjoyed tequila for over 30 years, but, it was the influence of her Mexican born father that moved her from cheap mixtos to 100% agave spirits. After 20 plus years of enjoying tequila spirits, Araceli completed Tequila Aficionado's Consumer Catador Course and became TA's first catadora. Her passion for tequila resonates in her constant search for new expressions and she shares that passion with others via tequila tasting classes throughout her home state of Texas.
Skip Falconer - Los Angeles, CA
Skip Falconer is the first Catador to come to Tequila Aficionado directly from the Consumer Catador Course, after being turned on to the program by his daughter in 2020. A tequila fan since 2003, Skip has become increasingly interested in all aspects of the production of Mexican craft spirits, with a true appreciation of what it takes to get these expressions from the field to the glass.