Ray Latif

Ray Latif

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Ray is the founder, executive producer and head writer of French Oak, an online television show that gives viewers comprehensive insight into the beer, wine and spirits scene in the Boston area. A graduate of Boston University’s School of Management, Ray has also run a consulting practice on behalf of private scholarship foundations in Greater Boston for nearly a decade.

Posts by Ray Latif

Nawgan Marketer Adds ON Powered Refreshment; Kirin Ups Investment

With a new round of funding in hand, the company behind brain-boosting beverage Nawgan has launched a new brand of functional drinks intended broaden its reach to a wider range of consumers. Launched today, ON Powered Refreshment is a line of energy/refreshment beverages that are formulated with a blend of tea leaf-sourced caffeine and ornithine, an amino acid said to have several health benefits.

Juice Suits: Suja Accused of “Raw” Deception, Blueprint Complaint Dismissed

Fast-growing cold-pressed juice brand Suja is facing the potential of a class-action lawsuit that includes claims that the company has misled consumers by labeling its products, which are high pressure processed, as “raw.” Meanwhile, it appears that rival Blueprint, which was hit with a similar false advertising lawsuit last year, has dodged the legal bullet — at least for now.

Coke Acquires 10 Percent Stake in Green Mountain Coffee; Will Launch Pod-Based Product Line in 2015

The Coca-Cola Co. has agreed to acquire a 10 percent minority stake in Green Mountain Roasters, maker of the popular Keurig Single Cup brewing system, for $1.25 billion, according to a joint statement. As part of the deal, Coke and Green Mountain have signed a 10-year exclusive arrangement in which the cola giant will launch a Coke-branded line of pod-based, single-serve beverages for use in the Green Mountain’s forthcoming Keurig Cold at-home beverage system.

Starbucks Shuffles Executive Team; CEO Schultz to Focus on Digital, Mobile

Starbucks yesterday announced significant changes to its executive leadership team, including an expanded role for CEO Howard Schultz in the company’s “next generation retailing and payments initiatives,” according to a statement. Starbucks CFO Troy Alstead has been promoted to chief operating officer, a newly created role in which he will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company.

Bullseye: Life Juice Stays the Course, Lands National Deal with Target

Earlier this month, Life Juice founder Ety Salamone landed her biggest and — for cold-pressed juice — one of the most noteworthy retailers to date: Target. The brand is now distributed within the retailer’s 390+ PFresh concept stores, where Target sells refrigerated products and fresh produce. It’s a placement that, if successful, may have a significant impact on how Target and other mass retailers view the nascent category and its potential in that channel.

Essentia Raises $3.2 Million in Convertible Debt; Projects $22-23 Million in 2014 Sales

Having recently announced its tenth consecutive year of growth, eight of which reached double-digits, Essentia is positioning itself for a booming 2014 — and well beyond. Earlier this year, Essentia, the top-selling enhanced water brand in the natural channel, raised $3.2 million in convertible debt and is perhaps prepping for a much larger round of funding later this year.

BevForce Founders Launch FoodForce

Extending its platform of full-service recruiting for the beverage industry to the food world, Force Brands has announced its official launch of Food Force, a new division designed to specialize “in hiring strategies and organizational design for food companies,” according to a statement from the company.

Video: Q Drinks Targets New Can Package for Growth

For the past six years, Q Drinks’ founder Jordan Silbert has taken a slow and careful approach to line extensions, gradually evolving from a single-SKU tonic water to its current lineup, which includes a number of sodas and sparkling fruit drinks, all of which are packaged in glass bottles. Yet, when as massive a retailer as Target comes calling — and is asking for cans — Silbert knew that had to make a move and do it fast.