June 19 & 20, 2015 | Moody Gardens | Galveston, Texas

Margarita Grand Tasting Presented by Casa Sauza

Saturday | June 14, 2014 | 3 PM – 6 PM | Moody Gardens Expo A/B

2014 Winners

margarita-competition     The 2014 Texas Tequila and Margarita Festival is the destination to kick off summer fun at the beautiful Moody Gardens Hotel & Convention Center! The event delivers to its patrons a gateway to the world’s finest tequila, mouth watering margaritas, gorgeous views of the bay and the sounds of great live music. Located in the spacious Moody Gardens Convention Center, Saturday afternoon the public will have the opportunity to sample a host of margaritas where local restaurants/bar and individuals vie for the title of Best Margarita and ultimate bragging rights! There will be cash prizes, celebrity judges and a “People’s Choice Award”.

     Cash awards for 1st ($1000), 2nd ($500) and 3rd ($250) place will be presented for Best Restaurant/Bar Margarita and 1st ($1000), 2nd ($500) and 3rd ($250) for Best Individual (Non-Restaurant/Bar) Margarita. A “People’s Choice” award will be given to the restaurant or individual that receives the most votes cast by visitors at the event. During the “People’s Choice”, visitors will be able to vote with their dollar and 100% of the money collected will go directly to Friday Harbour charity.

casa-sauza      Friday-Harbour-Logo2

Participants (Check back as we announce more great entries leading up to the event):


the-spot   the-squeeze   LogoDoneraki-chile rudys chuysteotihuacan  gmkneonlogo_redBG_4x2 Tortuga_logo_green iguanas-ranas-cantina image laredos Lowbrow_logo-01  Lupe Logo Round Pantone fishbowlsotos-cantina

Individuals & Businesses (Non-Restaurants/Bars)

margaritatexaslogoTeqavaAvery Print from the Web, v5 DocumentSkimpy-Mixers ptologoTexas Margarita Masters tequilada 

These plus several other individual entries!

Tickets $30 | Includes full access to Expo A/B (3pm – 6pm) to sample margaritas being entered into competition. Ticket also includes access to Casa Sauza Outdoor Margarita Festival (General Admission) with live music (12PM – 10PM). This event is for ages 21 and over only. Tickets are $40 at the gate.

Restaurants/Bars & Individuals Sign-up to compete *** Limited Space, Sign-up Today *** Registration Form

Guest Judges (Many more to be revealed):

 Levi Goode – President Goode Company Restaurants – “Culinary arts” is probably the last thing you’d think when you come across Levi Goode. A fifth-generation Texan, you’d sooner expect to find him catching redfish than catching airtime. But there he stands in an interview—weathered cowboy hat, easy confidence— sharing between swigs of an ice-cold longneck what he does for a living…and what his living does for him.

As the current-day curator of all things Texas, food isn’t just what Levi does; it’s who he is. Growing up with boots on both sides of the border quickly taught him that cooking is about sharing a way of life—and a way of doing things—much more than it is just combining ingredients. Which is why there’s a story in everything Levi does, whether it’s behind the dishes he serves or the décor he displays. Leather relics, vintage ranch regalia, faded prints of times past—each piece of memorabilia that lines the walls of his restaurants is a testament to his travels, his traditions, and his taste for the authentic.

James Nelson – Master Chef Season 4 Contestant. Owner of Bravado Spice.

Cathy Baron – Born in San Antonio, Texas is an actress, dancer, and painter.   She plays the role of Teri in FX’s “Justified” (TV Guide’s voted #1 primetime’s top Drama). Cathy’s past credits include: Justin Timberlake’s film In Time, / Greek (ABC Family TV series) /  iCarly (Nickelodeon TV series) / Valley Peaks (TV series) Dead Stop (feature film) among others.   An advocate of giving back, she is actively involved with  Leukemia & Lyphoma Society, EQ/CA, Peta, and The Gentle Barn in Los Angeles, CA where she resides.  Oh, and she loves a good margarita! 

Shanna Jones & Felice Sloan – Urban Swank is a Houston based lifestyle blog dedicated to bringing a wealth of information and a different perspective on all things related to food, fashion, beauty, travel, and entertainment! Founders Shanna “Urban Girl” Jones and Felice “Swanky Girl” Sloan are the Urban Swank girls! Urban Swank was founded in September 2011 and was created as a result of their pure and true passion for life’s experiences. They will write about it, travel for it, attend events around it, and talk to the experts regarding it. Shanna’s passions are centered around her love for exploring new destinations, restaurants, and being ahead of the “know”. Shanna is a true foodie at heart and a travel expert by trade. If you look up the word “swanky”, Felice’s picture would be right next to it! Many consider Felice a maven in many areas and her love of food, and passion for all things fashion, tops the list. They want everyone to experience something new; something they may not have been exposed to before.

Sam Pink has a love for the arts, largely from his grandmother, Melbony Pink, who taught him to play the piano at a early age,  And, moreover, she is the name sake of the menu idea “Big Mama’s Gumbo” which he watched her cook growing up. The Red Cat Jazz Cafe opened in downtown Houston, Texas, in March 2001, and  in June 2003, Sam Pink took control of what has become a landmark and destination spot in the world of Jazz. Gracing the cover of and written in Sam Pink — Appointed has a director/secretary on the Main Street/downtown redevelopment authority in 2004-2010, Essence Festival advisory committee, Accomplishments–Successfully putting Houston on the map as a premier city on the national and international jazz club and festival scene. Graced the covers of the Houston Visitor guide and Greater Houston Partnership Publications, as well as, a write-up in the National Geographic Traveler.

Tequila Headshot
The Queen of Tequila is the first American individual awarded a diploma from the prestigious entity ruling tequila, the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT). She is also the first American woman to receive a Tequila Connoisseur certification from the World Tequila Conference. In addition, The Queen of Tequila holds multiple certifications awarded from professional catadores throughout different tequila regions in Mexico. In her role as a specialist, she has judged multiple tequila competitions throughout the United States. Once Upon a Time…in the center of Guadalajara, during a spectacular September 16th Celebration, her tequila comrades crowned her as the “Tequila Queen.” From that moment forward The Queen of Tequila has continued to represent that spirit of Mexico to the world!

John Ennis is a magazine publisher, brewery president, doting father, love-struck husband, book author, internet startup survivor, art director of an internationally-distributed travel magazine, aviation enthusiast, former sports writer and recent reality-TV pilot co-star who is blessed to work, live and play in the dynamic waterfront communities that make up Houston’s Bay Area.  Ennis is best known for working with his beautiful wife Betsey and the world’s best clients as co-founder and publisher of The SCENE Magazine (www.thescenemagazine.com) since 2002. Believing no work load is too large, Ennis co-founded and serves as President of Galveston County’s Oldest Craft Brewery, Galactic Coast Brewing Company (www.galacticcoastbrewing.com), and as Art Director of Hispanic Meetings & Travel (www.hispanicmeetingstravel.com).  Last year Ennis published the book, Guitar Strings & Sailboat Things, under his Texas Indie Press brand and co-starred as himself in The Discovery Channel reality-TV pilot King of the Grill, which is still getting airtime on both the Discovery Channel and Destination America Networks. In what seems like a lifetime ago, Ennis started his professional career as a sports writer covering sports for USA Today, Cox Newspapers and the Sports Network. Ennis has developed brands, websites and marketing plans for businesses ranging from publicly-traded technology companies to family-held single-location Mexican restaurants and never lacks an excuse to enjoy a good margarita.

Greg Morago is the food editor at the Houston Chronicle where he writes about Houston chefs and restaurants, Texas dining culture, and spirits. He is a longtime member of the James Beard Foundation and has served many years for the organization as a restaurant judge. He is also a member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Association of Food Journalists, and a founding member of Foodways Texas.

Erin R. Spencer
Erin R. Spencer is a Houston based tequila aficionado and horticulturist.   She is currently developing a winery and distillery in the Texas Hill Country for producing a boutique blue agave spirit.  Development plans include every aspect of production from growing to distillation.  Testing is being undertaken with   blue agave plants imported from Mexico, planted to test for climatic and soil compatibility.  Her motto “Life is too short to drink bad Tequila”.


Lori Freese got her start in media and communications in college. After a 3 month news internship at KORA she has hired as the Assistant News Director at WTAW, KAGG and KGSR while also doing voiceovers for national commercials. She went on to television news, producing the number one ABC newscast in the country out of KTUL in Tulsa, OK. With that massive success under her belt Freese moved to Austin, TX to produce for KTBC the Fox affiliate. There she produced the first hour long 9 pm newscast for Fox. It was so successful FOX implemented it nationwide. Wanting to take a break from daily news she went on to produce national shows. American Idol, Wifeswap, Bridezillas and casted for Last Comic Standing are just a few in her arsenal.

Freese hosted and produced her own state wide show that ran for 3 seasons on PBS called “Sounds Like Texas” while simultaneously working as an on air talent on all 8 Clear Channel stations in Houston, Texas.

Being a natural entrepreneur, she created Houston’s very first online media outlet in 2008 called Dish-Houston.com. She now owns and runs Dish-Houston, DishAustin and DishDallas which average more than a quarter of a million hits and FreeseMediaGroup a specialty PR boutique.


Kelly Railean – Armed with a fascination for pirate lore and a passion for rum, founder Kelly Railean is a pioneer in the American Craft Rum Revolution, producing four unique styles of American Rum including an un-aged White Rum, barrel aged blended Reserve XO Rum, single barrel Small Cask Rum, and a Spiced Rum.  Kelly ferments, distills and blends every product in small batches before aging all but her White Rum in new, petite, double-charred American Oak barrels.  In addition to rum, Kelly also makes RAILEAN “El Perico” 100% Blue Agave Spirits and Vodka.  Railean El Perico (the parakeet) is available in both an un-aged Silver and a barrel aged Reposado, with a Railean Blue Agave Anejo to be released later this year.  Railean Blue Agave Spirits are the only Agave Spirits made in the great State of Texas, they are also Certified “Made in USA” and the only Certified “Made in USA” Blue Agave Spirits in the entire United States of America.

The centerpiece of the Eagle Point Distillery in San Leon is a single batch distillation, copper & stainless steel column reflux still which Kelly operates on a daily basis to handcraft RAILEAN spirits.

Kelly Railean has 20 years of experience in the Wine & Spirits industry, she is certified Level 1 in the Court of Master Sommeliers, and she has been distilling spirits for more than 7 years.  RAILEAN was one of the first distilleries to open in Texas, Kelly is one of just a few female Master Distillers in the country, she was the first person to make aged spirits in Texas, and she is the first and only distiller to make Blue Agave Spirits in Texas.  Thanks to RAILEAN Distillers, Americans now have a choice between imported mass produced Rum / Tequila and higher quality American Rum and Agave Spirits made in the USA.

Hector Villarreal
Owner of LUCHO in Uptown Park.


Susie Louks is a native Houstonian and has been a well-known on-air personality for over 24 years.  Currently, you can listen to Susie on KPRC 950 AM co-hosting the Home Cents Lifestyle Show on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  In the past, Susie reported traffic, news and weather at Metro Traffic Control for over 16 years and was heard on Sunny 99.1, Rock 101 KLOL, Mix 96.5, and KILT FM and on-camera on KHOU Channel 11 and KPRC Channel 2.   Today, she keeps busy as a PR assistant and student recruiter at Houston Community College Southwest, and has a successful career as a voice over artist and actress.

Susie practices yoga, weight training, loves her cat, Bushes, is an accomplished cook and adores mind-numbing reality TV!

Christine Johnson

Christine Johnson - Chairman of Uncorked at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Director of Marketing Better Home & Gardens Gary Greene


Debbie Weatherford is an entrepreneur from Katy, Tx. She owns and operates several Massage Heights locations in the Houston area. Her passion is educating the public on the importance of focusing upon the four pillars of a healthy lifestyle – exercise, diet, MASSAGE, and rest. She loves meeting new people and always feels a need to help someone.

Debbie feels she has been truly blessed in her life in many ways, her family being the #1 blessing. Her 3-yr old grandson reminds her daily just how precious life is, and how fast time flies. She believes you should give a person you love, or a complete stranger, a sincere compliment everyday. Surround yourself with only positive and uplifting people and your heart will explode with happiness. Be thankful.

Randy Lemmon

Tony Bloomfield is a Houston native who has been in the restaurant business for the past 25 years and has operated the Texas Roadhouse in Friendswood for the past 13 of those years. The Friendswood location of Texas Roadhouse has enjoyed much success through the years and garnered recognition and awards within the Texas Roadhouse family.

Tony is also passionate about raising funds for the Navy SEAL Foundation and has partnered with the other Texas Roadhouses in the market to support the Danny Dietz Memorial Team Roping and Team Never Quit which is a foundation started by Marcus Luttrell. Marcus was the inspiration for the book and movie Lone Survivor.
Tony is also an avid outdoors man who is constantly looking for an adventure. He enjoys climbing 14ers in Colorado, competing in extreme events like the Tough Mudder and traveling across the country with his family.


Ms. Gina Spagnola is currently President of The Galveston Chamber of Commerce and has served in that capacity since 2003. In her role at the Chamber, representative of over 800 businesses, she is committed to its mission to Promote and Advocate FOR Business.  This year marks the 167th anniversary of the Galveston Chamber of Commerce: Texas’ first Chamber. It is her vision, her leadership, her commitment to Galveston and the entire Houston region that has resulted in positioning the Galveston Chamber of Commerce as the leading business organization in this area.


Maya Fasthoff

A native of Cali, Colombia, Maya moved with her family to the United States in 1988 and graduated from The Art Institute of Houston with a degree in graphic design. She publishes the food blog Restaurant Traveler,which was featured monthly on Fox 26 News’ Blogger Reports. Maya is currently a real estate agent with Martha Turner Sotheby’s International. Prior her career in residential real estate, Maya  was a recruiter for an educational company and a staffing firm, an on-air personality and interviewer with Salsa TV, a public speaker, and a modeling instructor. She lives in Houston with her husband and elementary school-age son, and her daughter attends The University of Texas at Austin.


Texas Tequila and Margarita Festival
June 19 & 20, 2015
Moody Gardens | Galveston, Texas

Follow Us


Want to be updated with the latest news from the Texas Tequila & Margarita Festival? Sign-up for our newsletter.


7TexasMargarita2014 14TexasMargarita2014 38TexasMargarita2014 2TexasMargarita2014 Murraj59 Murraj6 Murraj23 IMG_2815 IMG_2830 IMG_2883 IMG_2936 IMG_2991