Bevnet Live: The Day We Connected

I WRITE TODAY about a seminal event that crystallized why I love what I do.

In May, our BevNET/ Beverage Spectrum team hosted a terrific conference at the Essex House in New York City. Our meeting, the BevNET Live Entrepreneur and Innovation Forum, brought together some of the most talented, articulate and passionate marketers, distributors, ingredient and packaging suppliers, along with the investment community to talk about beverages. Our speaker roster was outstanding. In a down economy, more than 200 people strong spent an insightful day discussing every aspect that goes into the marketing of the brands.

You’ll have the opportunity to read, see, hear, and discuss the event in our pages and on BevNET.com in this issue and in the coming weeks. But I wanted to give my own thoughts.

Our industry is an exciting, dynamic one. The creativity of the people involved and the innovative nature of many of the products we sell are among the chief components that make the beverage industry an enjoyable place to spend a career. The personalities of the players in the marketplace hold a special place in my heart. I consider myself lucky to be able to write about this great profession.

We went deep: we covered how a distributor makes their decision on which brands to take on, and they didn’t hold back when critiquing brands or describing their process. We addressed the concept and formulation of launches, what works, and why. It was very interesting to hear how the investment community determines their support of a potential or fledging brand. We heard retail perspectives, as well. The growing importance of function and efficacy on the brands we launch and the impact of government regulation on the industry were consistent topics that bridged many of the sessions.

But what I heard the most through all of these procedural panels and speakers was a determination to forge ahead through these tough economic times. It was a constant, inspirational theme for me. And the character of the industry – its attractiveness to creative, resilient people came clear in a session on exit strategies of founders of brands that have been acquired. It was fascinating, candid and quite humorous.

I could go on and on about the content of the day. But my most important takeaway, again, stems from the friendship and kinship that all the attendees shared for each other. It was a great day to re-connect with old buddies and make new connections and relationships.

Our industry is a special one. Events like this bring out the best in beverage marketing. We were glad to be a conduit for bringing the industry together – and we look forward to hosting future events to keep contributing to that togetherness.