Ray Latif

Ray Latif

Managing Editor/Producer

Ray has been with BevNET since March, 2011. As managing editor/producer, Ray oversees strategic planning and content management for BevNET's Taste Radio podcast, BevNET Magazine, and video on BevNET.com.

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Posts by Ray Latif

Taste Radio Ep. 71: Why Intelligentsia’s Doug Zell Will Never Be Satisfied; Runa’s Gage Is “Fully Alive”

Ep. 71 of the podcast includes an interview with Doug Zell, co-founder, Intelligentsia Coffee. Zell discussed how Intelligentsia’s relentless pursuit for improvement permeates its retail and packaged coffee business and why “quality will always find an audience." We also spoke with Tyler Gage, who co-founded guayusa beverage brand Runa and is the author of a new book called “Fully Alive," which chronicles his immersion in Amazonian indigenous spirituality and its life-changing impact on him and his company.

Taste Radio Ep. 70: Suja CEO: Here’s How To Make Your Own Luck; Kefir’s Moment

This week's episode spotlights a recent conversation with Jeff Church, the co-founder and CEO of Suja, who opined on the role of luck in business, why a thorough understanding of consumer demand is critical to success, and explained how “the rule of twos” helped steer the company through its growth and development. Also included in this episode: an examination of the emerging market for kefir and the latest edition of Elevator Talk with Bronya Shillo, the founder of Fishers Island Lemonade.

Koa Ceases Operations, Founder Joins Dirty Lemon as COO

Unable to secure the necessary funding to continue production of its uniquely formulated beverages, Koa has shut down. Launched in 2009, the company developed a proprietary process to extract sugar and calories from a blend of fruit and vegetable juices, resulting in a clear, nutrient-rich drink that Koa marketed as “olakino.” Founder and president Adam Louras has moved to Dirty Lemon Beverages, a maker of detox and wellness drinks sold direct-to-consumer, as its COO.

Taste Radio Ep. 69: Jon Sebastiani Is Kraving The Next Big Thing

This week’s episode of Taste Radio features a wide-ranging conversation with Krave Jerky and Sonoma Brands founder Jon Sebastiani. Recorded at the 2017 Summer Fancy Food Show, Sebastiani delved into his background in the food and beverage industry as an heir to a legacy wine family and talked about what spurred him to strike out on his own with Krave.

Drake Invests in MatchaBar, Whole Foods Picks Up RTD Line Nationwide

Matcha beverage maker and retailer MatchaBar is nearing completion of a new Series A funding round that includes rap icon Drake as an investor. The $2.5 million round is expected to close within the next few weeks and comes on the heels of a new national distribution deal with Whole Foods.

Taste Radio Ep. 68: Talking Innovative Ventures and Investments with Owl’s Brew and 301INC

Episode 68 of the Taste Radio podcast features interviews with Jennie Ripps, the CEO and co-founder of tea-based cocktail mixer and beer brand Owl’s Brew, Pete Speranza, who is a New Business Development Principal with General Mills’ business development and venture capital arm 301INC, and the latest edition of Elevator Talk with Jason Petrou, the founder of Clean Energy Organics.

Protein2o Adds Gatorade Vets, $4 Million in New Funding

Protein-infused water brand Protein2O has added two beverage industry veterans to its leadership team and raised $4 million in new funding as it seeks to establish a leadership position in the segment of low-calorie protein beverages.

Distribution Roundup: Roar, L.A. Libations Partner

Sports drink brand Roar Beverages announced a partnership with incubator L.A. Libations; Blossom Water picked up new placement in 750 grocery stores; Big Easy Bucha lands new distribution at Publix; Icelandic Glacial signs deal for distribution in China.

Distribution Roundup: Dora’s Picks Up Vita Coco Coconutmilk

Dora’s Naturals named exclusive distributor of Vita Coco Coconutmilk in NYC; Veggemo enters 1,500 U.S. retailers; PhURE Water hits Idaho; KeHE to distribute organic kids’ water Wonder+Well; maker of Wild Tonic Kombucha partners With Quail Distributing.