I HAVE WORN MANY HATS IN MY now-19 years chronicling the beverage industry, but one of my favorites is when I get to help entrepreneurs in a hands-on way. I’ve been a sounding board and confidant to beverage marketers as they put their visions into practice. I have been a guinea pig for new products that haven’t seen the light of day. (Very often, it’s with good reason).
I always try to be as objective as I can, with my palate being the arbiter. I’ve critiqued business plans, packaging concepts, graphic designs and the like. I truly enjoy the creative process that these star-struck beverage aspirants go through to achieve their dream.
In my role, I discuss the latest trends and categories with retailers, distributors and beer wholesalers. I always enjoy my pithy conversations with the analysts who cover the beverage sector. We can wax poetic forever without ever having to put in our dime. A beverage life is truly fun.
I love every aspect of my multi-dimensional role in the industry. Now, there is a newer role and dynamic, and I’m taking it seriously. No one’s hired me for it, but here goes: I’m now the unofficial pitchman to the financial sector at the behest of beverage marketers looking for capital.
We’re all attuned to the realities of making a go of it. You need capital, in all different denominations. Marketers have to spend too much of their time trying to raise money to fund their operations. That is a reality of the business. Often, I am called upon to give an overview of the industry and a particular segment when a company wants an investor to consider their brand. It is a part of my job I embrace.
In my many conversations with the investment community, there is one constant: They love and admire the beverage industry. They like the bells and whistles, the prestige and the cool factor. They think it’s a sexy marketplace and are excited about becoming involved in it.
With that being said, why are we not seeing more investment? There are so many terrific brands and concepts out there, ripe for seed money and beyond. Yet, there are so many marketers wanting. Now is the time for the financial companies to step up and put words into action. I know it is easy to give all the reasons not to invest, but there are so many more reasons for them to put their resources in.
I know there are many places you can put your money, but beverages should be at the top of your list. There is so much creativity and innovation happening, and you should become a part of it. Open up your assets to the best industry on earth. It’ll be an investment well made.