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

Margarita Grand Tasting Presented by Casa Sauza


Saturday | June 20, 2015 | 1 PM to 5 PM | Moody Gardens Expo A/B/C  

Tickets $35 – Includes access to Outdoor Festival (Margarita Grand Tasting is for ages 21 and older)   

Download 2015 Participant Registration Form | Winners : 20152014

grandtastingThe 2015 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 charity.






Number 13 Logo

logo-325 Tortuga_logo_green

Lupe Logo Round Pantone

Cyclones logo



RepublicTequila Logo Texas Margarita Masters


 casa-noble Slim Ritas
 iburn cat-tequila

Bloody Maria’s Presented By




James Nelson – Co-owner and founder of Bravado Spice, Houston’s premier hot sauce company. They’re known for creating highly flavored and delicious products.

Hank Lewis is a father of two pre-teens, a Houstonian since 1991, an Economics professor at Lone Star College-University Park and the owner/publisher of HankOnFood.com.

Hank’s motto is always great local food, made and served by great folks, in the Greater Houston area and beyond.  Hank grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and spend his college years in Austin and Waco before moving to Houston.  Hank has lived most of his live in the Greater Houston area and said Houston is Home for him

Shannon Yanes (Cruz)
Granddaughter of Santos Cruz. There is a tale that Cruz created the margarita at the legendary Balinese Room in Galveston, Texas. In 1948, as the head bartender, Cruz created the margarita for singer Peggy (Margaret) Lee. He supposedly named it after the Spanish version of her name, Margarita.


Greg Morago is the food editor of the Houston Chronicle, writing about food trends, restaurants, and spirits. He is a founding member of Foodways Texas,  member of Association of Food Journalists, and Southern Foodways Alliance. A former restaurant critic, he also has been a longtime restaurant judge for the James Beard Foundation awards.

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”.


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.



Cathy Baron – Born in San Antonio, Texas is an actress, dancer, and painter.   She played 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! 


Kim Padgett serves as the President of The Padgett Group, a strategic marketing and public relations consulting firm based in Houston and brings more than 20 years of experience in public relations and marketing communications to her clients. The Padgett Group represents organizations and businesses in the technology, retail, restaurant, hospitality, energy, banking & finance, legal and real estate industries. She received her BA in Journalism and Foreign Studies and MA in International Journalism from Baylor University. Kim was named by the Public Relations Society of America the inaugural “Media Relations Professional of the Year”, an award nominated and voted on by media representatives from the Greater Houston area. She is a frequent speaker at public relations and marketing industry events as well as a contributing author to multiple professional, business, and lifestyle publications. 


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.



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.

Laura Romero


Jon Denman, a native Houstonian, life changed in the mid 90s when he discovered craft beer. This passion led him to home brewing and eventually opening Backyard Home Brewers and Education Center, December 2011, with a close friend in Humble, TX. The main focus of the homebrew shop, with the free classes, is to teach people to make great beer.  Jon’s love of craft beer, home brewing and live music also led him to create the only radio show of its kind on planet Earth. Drink of Ages is a show that is about craft beer, home brewing, spirits, ciders, meads, wine and features interviews with the major players in the industry. Jon also promotes his favorite taverns, pubs, craft bars and restaurants on the show while talking to the owners and chefs. For his love of live music, Jon brings in local and national recording artist to perform live in the studio on every show

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.


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

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