Ray Latif

Ray Latif

Managing Editor

Ray has been with BevNET since March, 2011. As managing editor, Ray oversees content production on BevNET.com and in BevNET Magazine.

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Posts by Ray Latif

BevNET Podcast Ep. 59: Margaritas, Mezcal and Money

In this episode, we sat down with Mark Mahoney, the co-founder of premium cocktail mixer brand Powell & Mahoney, who discussed his background as a beverage entrepreneur and the rapid development of the mixer space. We also examined recent investment deals in food and beverage, including a funding round for snack brand Hippeas, one that included Leonardo DiCaprio.

First Beverage Invests in Mezcal Brand

First Beverage Ventures, the private equity arm of First Beverage Group, today announced an investment in mezcal brand Gem&Bolt, marking the first time that the firm has invested in a distilled spirits company.

Draft Latte Powers La Colombe in 2017

La Colombe’s canned Draft Latte has been on the market for just over a year, but the innovative beverage is now the fastest growing RTD coffee in the U.S., according to the premium coffee manufacturer and retailer, which cited recent sales data from market research firm IRI.

BevNET Podcast Ep. 58: Why Juice Press is “Constantly Reinventing the Wheel”

In this episode of the BevNET Podcast, Marcus Antebi, who launched cold-pressed juice chain Juice Press in 2010 and now presides over a chain of 62 stores across the Northeast, explained his belief that “common innovation is complete” and that it’s incumbent upon food and beverage manufacturers to up the ante with nutrient-dense ingredients and formulations.

Lumi Juice Moves HQ to Philly Area

Cold-pressed juice brand Lumi Juice is moving its headquarters to the Philadelphia area as it seeks to reduce overhead costs and expand its distribution footprint. The company, recently signed a deal with Universal Pasteurization, a provider of cold storage and HPP services to food and beverage manufacturers, to lease a 6,000 sq. ft space within its Malvern, Penn. facility.

Nakasone at the Helm of Purity Organic as Minnick, Guard Depart

Organic beverage maker Purity Organic is looking to fill two key positions in its executive ranks following the recent departures of its president, Dave Minnick, and vice president of operations Andrew Guard. Bob Nakasone, a managing director with First Beverage Ventures, a stakeholder in Purity Organic, has taken the reins of the company on an interim basis.

BevNET Podcast Ep. 57: Whole Foods Fights to Remain Relevant

In this episode of the BevNET Podcast, Sperry, along with Carol Ortenberg, the editor of BevNET sister site Project NOSH, discussed Whole Foods’ efforts to revitalize its brand and assuage key investors in light of its announcement of changes to its board of directors, category management, and the launch of a loyalty program.

Icelandic Glacial Expands Distribution

Premium bottled water brand Icelandic Glacial yesterday announced a major distribution expansion at grocery, foodservice and convenience stores. The news comes after double-digit growth in sales of the brand over the past year.

BevNET Podcast Ep. 56: Going Next Level With FoodFutureCo

In this edition, we sat down with Gigi Lee Chang, the managing director of cause-oriented food business accelerator FoodFutureCo. Chang, who also founded baby food brand Plum Organics, explained FoodFutureCo’s work in advising and supporting early- and mid-stage food and beverage companies that are providing unique products and solutions for the food system.

BevNET Podcast Ep. 55: Juicero Jeopardy, Sour Soylent

In this episode of the podcast, we discuss some of the big stories in the food and beverage business, including tough press for Juicero, operational issues for brands like Soylent and Reed’s, and the ways the largest, publicly-traded food and beverage companies are attempting to refresh their lineups through transactions -- and through change at the top.

PepsiCo Pulls Stubborn Soda and Caleb’s Kola Because of Sugar Mixup

Last week PepsiCo removed bottled Stubborn Soda and Caleb’s Kola products from the market after discovering recent batches were inadvertently made with beet sugar. The craft sodas are normally formulated with Fair Trade Certified cane sugar and the gaffe was the result of a supplier error, according to the company.

BevNET Podcast Ep. 53: “Artificial Intelligence Will Automate The Simple”

Last week BevNET sat down with IRI CEO and president Andrew Appel who discussed the global market research firm efforts to detangle and optimize an ever-evolving and complex web of sales and consumer data, why he believes that “voice is the next platform” for data collection and how IRI is expanding its use of artificial intelligence to "automate away the simple."