What Makes BevNET Live the Leading Conference for the Beverage Industry?
Actionable Innovation and Stories from the Market Leaders and Innovators
- Our speakers are leaders in the beverage industry talking about their experiences and focused on moving the industry forward.
- Speakers deliver talks on best practices, battle scars, data insights or cases that focus on breaking through or getting to the next level and the lessons learned in the process.
Networking Opportunities to Drive New Partnerships
- We pace the event to promote conversations.
- Using the stage as a thought starter, people come to make connections and figure out how they can work together.
Your Beverage in the Hot Seat
- The New Beverage Showdown pits your beverage against the top new products in the market. This is your opportunity to pitch against the best of the best, get instant feedback from a group of industry expert judges and be crowned winner of the New Beverage Showdown.
- Past champions include: Rise Brewing Co., Health-Ade, Mother Beverage, Monfefo, MALK, Rau and Tio Gazpacho.
Get your Products and Services Noticed
- BevNET Live Expo is an intimate showcase of beverage-specific industry supplier and service companies. It delivers a more personalized experience than mega trade shows in an environment fit for in-depth conversations.
- The Sample Bars are a chance to get your products in front of potential partners and the people who know what you are up against.
Education to Get You Started
- Beverage School gives the new beverage pro a solid foundation with special access to additional networking. An added bonus for young brands looking for that edge.
CURRENT ROSTER OF SPEAKERS
Co-Founder & CEO, Vita Coco
Co-Founder & Managing Director, VMG Partners
Kara co-founded VMG Partners in 2005 and focuses on all aspects of the Fund’s investment strategy, sourcing, execution, portfolio company oversight and exit management. Since its inception, VMG has partnered with entrepreneurs and management teams to provide a breadth of value-add resources in the areas of sales, marketing, branding, finance, operations and legal support which enable its partner companies to rapidly increase brand awareness, accelerate growth and build equity value. Kara serves, or has served, on the boards of babyganics, Bare Snacks, Drunk Elephant, Health Warrior, Humm Kombucha, KIND Snacks, Pirate Brands, Pretzel Crisps, Quest Nutrition, Solid Gold Pet, Sun Bum, Waggin’ Train and Vermont Smoke & Cure, among others. Kara has been an investor in emerging, lower-middle-market branded consumer companies for the last 18 years. Prior to her private equity career, Kara was an Analyst at the investment bank of Schroders plc and received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and German from Colgate University.
President & Chief Operating Officer, Chobani
As President & Chief Operating Officer of Chobani, LLC, Tim oversees the full sprectrum of the business for America’s No.1-selling Greek Yogurt company, including the sales, marketing, legal and finance teams. Prior to Chobani, he served as Chairman, President and CEO of Nestle Waters North America Inc (NWNA) where he was responsible for the third-largest nonalcoholic beverage company in the U.S. Under Tim’s leadership, the company boasted an unrivaled portfolio of popular, quality refreshment brands with an emphasis on water as healthy hydration, with $4.3 billion in annual net sales, 8,500 employees, 29 plants and operations in more than 140 communities. After beginning his career at Procter and Gamble, Tim joined NWNA in 1988, known in its early stages as The Perrier Group of America. He spent nearly 30 years with Nestlé and was instrumental in transitioning bottled water from a niche product to the number one beverage in America. Tim serves on the boards of the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER), the Business Council of Fairfield County, the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute (GMRI). He is a former board member of Toronto’s nonprofit Harbourfront Corporation, the Food and Consumer Products Canada & Grocery Foundation, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Stamford and the ABA.
Managing Director, PepsiCo Ventures Group
Daniel leads the PepsiCo Ventures Group with the aim of identifying, securing, and nurturing PepsiCo's partnerships with emerging Food & Beverage companies. The Ventures Group mission is to champion the founders vision while also supporting PepsiCo’s transformation and long term market position. Previously, Daniel helped lead PepsiCo’s Premium Beverage/Emerging Brands division, encompassing Naked Juice, IZZE, O.N.E. Coconut Water, and KeVita. During his tenure Naked Juice became a $1B retail business for PepsiCo, while KeVita was successfully integrated into the PepsiCo family after a period of investment. Before PepsiCo, Daniel held a number of key roles with IRI, including co-leading the Strategy Growth Consulting practice with a focus on Corporate Portfolio Strategy and M&A Due Diligence. Daniel holds an M.B.A. from the University of Southern California.
Founder & CEO, Humm Kombucha
Jamie leads Humm with endless energy, abundant optimism and a big heart; traits that have enabled her to find success at numerous startups during a career spanning more than 20 years. Previous to starting Humm she founded and served as CEO of the consulting firm JLD Enterprises before pivoting to create EON Organics, a natural products company with distribution throughout the East Coast. Using the skills and knowledge gleaned from these successes, Jamie built Humm from the ground up and is now focused on defining strategy and leading the overall execution of Humm’s rapid expansion. Her passion for healthy should taste great is rivaled only by her desire to spread joy throughout the world. As a founding board member of Kombucha Brewers International, she is a national leader driving positive advocacy for the kombucha sector. Jamie holds a B.S. in international marketing from Temple University. She is an avid traveler and spends as much time as possible outside, usually on her mountain bike.
President, Nestlé Beverage Division
As President of the Beverage Division for Nestlé USA, John leads a portfolio of some of the nation’s best-known beverage brands comprising $2.5 billion in combined annual sales, including Nescafé® Taster’s Choice®; Nescafé® Clasico™, COFFEE-MATE ®; COFFEE-MATE natural bliss ®, and Nesquik®. Under John’s leadership the division has reinvigorated its base brands to meet the needs of consumers’ changing tastes and preferences, successfully expanding into natural and plant-based territories. John has also led the expansion of the division’s coffee portfolio through recent investments in high-potential brands like Chameleon Cold-Brew and Blue Bottle Coffee, both leading providers of premium-crafted coffee. Most recently, Nestlé reached an agreement granting it the rights to market Starbucks consumer and foodservice products globally, outside of the company’s coffee shops. John will lead the commercial collaboration with the new team’s leadership to define the roadmap for the future of Nestlé’s U.S. beverage portfolio. Since he joined Nestlé in 1995, John has held multiple positions both in the U.S. and globally. Prior to his current role, he was President of Nestlé’s Pizza & Snacking Division. Under his leadership, the Pizza Division achieved market share gains while expanding margins and innovating into new territories. John’s innovative management style, for instance, enabled the company to develop internal incubator-brands, including Outsiders Pizza. John holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and an MBA from The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Co-Founder & CEO, Health-Ade Kombucha
Daina Trout co-founded Health-Ade Kombucha in 2012 alongside her husband, Justin Trout, and best friend, Vanessa Dew, in Los Angeles. Daina, who has Masters’ degrees in Nutrition and in Public Health from Tufts University, was working in corporate America when she decided to pursue her passion for “real” food and develop the best-tasting, highest quality kombucha on the market. Under her fearless leadership, Health-Ade has grown from a small production, artisanal item made in Daina’s tiny apartment and sold at local farmer’s markets into the fastest growing brand in the category that is now available in more than 12,000 stores and restaurants nationwide.
Co-Founder & Chief Organic Optimist, Stonyfield Farm
Gary Hirshberg is Co-Founder and Chief Organic Optimist of Stonyfield Farm, the world’s leading organic yogurt producer, and the author of Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the World (Hyperion, 2008). Gary frequently speaks on topics including sustainability, organic agriculture and the profitability of green business. Gary serves on several corporate and non-profit boards, including Blue Apron, Forager, Orgain, Peak Organic Brewing, and UNreal chocolates as well as Advisory Board member for Applegate. He has received 12 honorary doctorates and numerous awards for corporate and environmental leadership including a 2015 Champion for Children Award from Mount Sinai Hospital’s Children’s Environmental Health Center and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US EPA.
Sarah has over 25 years of brand building experience and is fueled by a passion for doing well and doing good. She is CEO of Boulder, CO based Bhakti, Inc, a mission-driven, natural tea company devoted to craft brewed beverages, vibrant flavors and sustainability. Prior to Bhakti, Sarah was Chief Sales and Marketing Officer for Three Twins Organic Ice Cream and before that Chief Commercial Officer for Ecologic, a sustainable packaging company. Sarah was CMO at Annie’s, Inc. from the time Annie’s was a small mac and cheese company thru its IPO and to the General Mills acquisition. Sarah began her career with marketing roles at Frito Lay, followed by Nestle and then PowerBar. Sarah recently completed 3 terms (9 years) on the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors. She is currently on the board of Just Label It, an organization focused on federal GMO labeling.
Founder & CEO, Presence Marketing
Bill started working in a natural food store when he was 16 and began reading books on nutrition and healthy living at a fervent pace. Paavo Airola, Norman Walker and Paul Bragg were some of the early natural food enthusiasts who influenced his lifestyle choices, along with the inimitable Dr. John R. Christopher, an early pioneer in herbal medicine. After nearly a dozen years of working in the Natural Products Industry, in varied roles within the sales and retail sectors, he launched Presence Marketing in January, 1990. He is surrounded by a dedicated cast of creative and intelligent people who carry out the mission of bringing healthy products to consumers, with great energy, passion, and resolve. With nearly 35 years of industry experience, he is uniquely qualified to lead Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence during booming as well as unstable economic times. His passion for sustainable agriculture, healthy foods and integrated medicine are key drivers behind his commitment to continue building Presence Marketing/Dynamic Presence, the only independently owned, national - natural products brokerage in the United States.
Managing Partner, AccelFoods
Jordan Gaspar is a Managing Partner of AccelFoods, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in consumer products. Jordan co-founded the fund in 2014 with the intention of offering entrepreneurs a unique perspective and approachable capital to help them build their businesses. With $40M under management and 34 portfolio companies and growing, AF operates as a hands-on partner working with entrepreneurs to bring innovative, high-quality food and beverage products to the forefront of the industry and create the next generation of enduring brands. Jordan oversees deal origination, structure and investment execution on behalf of AF, as well as heads up strategy, investor relations and general management of the fund. Prior to founding AF, Jordan was an attorney at Morrison Cohen LLP where she advised venture and private equity firms and their portfolio companies on acquisitions, sales, mergers, and financings. She also served as a Managing Director of Golden Seeds, a national angel network that invests in women-run companies. Jordan graduated from Columbia College and received her J.D. from Fordham Law School. A New York City native, Jordan currently resides there with her husband, son, and daughter. She is constantly on the hunt for unique, purse friendly snacks for her kids.
Managing Partner, Boulder Investment Group Reprise
Carole Buyers is a Managing Partner at Boulder Investment Group Reprise (BIGR) a venture fund that invests in early-stage natural and organic food & beverage companies. Carole has been involved with investments & the natural foods industry for over 20 years. As one of the first analysts to cover Whole Foods, she has had a front row seat as the story of this now powerful sector has emerged. Carole has worked with RBC Capital on the sell-side and The Boston Company on the buy-side. In 2008, she left financial services, taking a leadership role in corporate finance and investor relations with Gaiam. In 2010, Carole joined Boulder Brands, Inc., to lead Investor Relations & Business Development. At Boulder Brands, Carole was responsible for the Company’s investor relations program, managing relationships and communications with the investment community. In addition, Miss Buyers managed mergers and acquisitions for Boulder Brands and identified and led the processes to acquire Udi’s, Glutino and EVOL. These acquisitions marked the initiation of the transformation of Boulder Brands to the natural foods powerhouse it is today. Carole was also one of three Directors of the Boulder Brands Investment Group (BBIG), an incubator fund which provided minority capital and helped natural food & beverage companies accelerate sustainable growth in the natural foods channel. Carole also enjoys time with her husband and children, music, yoga, running, tennis and golf.
Paddy Spence serves as the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer at Zevia LLC. From 2005 to 2009, Mr. Spence was President at Levlad Inc. He served as the President and Chairman of SPINS, Inc. In 1995, he founded SPINS where he served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer for eight years, tracking the sales of more than 300,000 natural and organic products,before selling SPINS in 2004. Prior to founding SPINS, he served as Kashi’s first head of sales and marketing. Mr. Spence served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Kashi Company from 1992 to 1995. He has also held positions at Harvard Business School's Division of Research, the Center for Leadership and Career Studies at Emory University and United Parcel Service's International Marketing department. Mr. Spence is a Member of Advisory Board of Rippowam Partners LLC. He is a 22 year veteran of the natural/organic industry. Mr. Spence holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard College.
Founder, Sonoma Brands
Jon founded Sonoma Brands in January 2016 to invest in high-growth, emerging consumer brands and selectively incubate new concepts. Through Sonoma Brands, Jon intends to build a leading growth equity fund exclusively focused on the CPG space. As a successful entrepreneur with experience in building multiple brands, Jon understands a founder’s need to look beyond capital and select a partner with value-add capabilities around sales, marketing, supply chain operations, and R&D. Jon oversees current and prospective portfolio investments and leads the firm’s investment and operation teams. Jon began his career steering the sales & marketing for Viansa, his family’s winery, and eventually leading the business as President, becoming one of the most successful destination wineries in the Napa and Sonoma valleys. After helping drive the M&A process leading up to Viansa’s sale, Jon served as Managing Director of wine.com, assisting in the turnaround toward its first profitable quarter. As an avid runner training for the New York City Marathon in 2009, Jon realized the opportunity to turn jerky, a commonly used training food, into something truly special. Influenced by his wine background, Jon founded KRAVE Pure Foods (“KRAVE”) to create a differentiated jerky brand with culinary-inspired flavor profiles and all-natural ingredients. As the Founder and CEO of KRAVE, Jon led one of the most disruptive, fastest growing CPG brands in the industry, culminating in the company’s acquisition by The Hershey Company in 2015.
CEO and Founder, Essentia Water
Partner, Stripes Group
Karen is a Partner at Stripes Group and has been an investor and operator in the consumer growth space for more than 12 years. Stripes, a leading growth equity firm based in New York City, brings a unique, entrepreneurial culture and perspective to investing in Branded Consumer Products, Internet, and Software businesses around the world. For over a decade, Stripes has been partnering to support high growth market-leading companies with their core business needs across talent, technology, operations and infrastructure. Stripes provides entrepreneurs with a unique perspective, leveraging its investments in digital marketing, social media and ecommerce partners to build brands across traditional brick and mortar and online channels. Karen has been at Stripes since its inception. She is currently on the Board of, and/or is actively involved with, Stripes Group current and past portfolio companies’ Califia Farms, On Running, Stella & Chewy's, Snooze Eatery, Blue Apron, Turtle Beach, Ketra Lighting, Audio Network and Seamless/Grubhub, among others. Prior to Stripes, Karen was a management consultant at Bain and Company. She is in a Canada native, and now lives in Tribeca, New York with her husband and two daughters, Katie and Anna. Karen holds an M.B.A. from the Stanford Business School and a B.A. in Biomedical Engineering and Economics from Yale University.
Head of Soft Drinks Research, Euromonitor International
Howard Telford is the Head of Soft Drinks Research at Euromonitor International, a world leader in strategic research solutions and business intelligence. He has been with since 2010. In his role at Euromonitor, he provides insights on consumer trends and market performance in the drinks industry across 100 markets. Howard’s insights are regularly cited in a variety of national programs and publications including CNBC News, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and Fortune magazine. For more insight on Euromonitor International, visit http://www.euromonitor.com/.
Partner, Hiller, PC
Founder & CEO, Revive Kombucha
Sean Lovett is the Founder and CEO of Revive Kombucha, a kombucha brewery based in Petaluma, CA, where he lives with his wife, Rebekah, and their two daughters. Originally from Chicago, where Sean honed his entrepreneurial skills, he moved to Sonoma County in 2009 to explore Northern California’s rich winemaking and brewing resources. A serious soda habit drove him to seek a healthy alternative in kombucha, with the expressed goal of making something as refreshing and drinkable as his favorite soft drink. Eight years later, his efforts have grown into Revive, an employee-owned company with a line of top-selling, locally produced, organic and healthy kombuchas that are distributed nationwide. A committed environmentalist, Sean has experimented with the possibilities of environmentally conscious production and business practices, including the use of biofuels, an award-winning bottle exchange program and water conservation efforts that drastically reduce the water usage in his brewery.
Managing Partner, The Giannuzzi Group, LLP
From Harvard University to New York University School of Law to a chic business residence in the Meatpacking District of NYC, Nicholas Giannuzzi is a partner and founder of The Giannuzzi Group, LLP. Started in 2011, the “Giannuzzi Group” has since become the leading law firm for nearly 500 high-growth consumer brand companies in the natural, better for you food and beverage industry. Among the firm's many clients – both present and historic – are some of the industry’s most successful and fastest growing companies such as Glaceau (creator of VitaminWater and SmartWater), Pirate’s Booty, Pretzel Crisps, Vita Coco, Siggi’s, WTRMLN WTR, Mamma Chia, Sir Kensington’s, Hint, Califia Farms, Krave, HappyBaby, Chameleon Cold Brew, Essentia, Rhythm Superfoods, Peeled, Runa, Oatmega, Sugarfina, Juice Press and many more. In addition to day-to-day legal services, advice and guidance the Giannuzzi Group has assisted its clients in over 500 financing transaction and in nearly 50 exits to strategics and PE funds, including but not limited to sales to Coke, Pepsi, General Mills, Group Danone, Hersheys, Hain Celestial, Amplify, Bacardi, White Wave and many other multi-national companies and some of the largest PE funds. In the last year, the firm has overseen the sale of KRAVE Jerky to The Hershey Company, the partial sale of Suja Juice to The Coca-Cola Company, the acquisition of Wallaby Yogurt by WhiteWave Foods, the sale of YummyEarth to the Riverside Company and the firm is currently working on multiple sales transactions in the 100s of millions of dollars for its other food and beverage clients. The Giannuzzi Group has an un-paralleled understanding of the industry and works tirelessly to serve its clients and to create positive relationships with all of the investors, co-packers, distributors, brokers, acquirers, service providers and difference makers throughout the industry so that we can shares these relationships with our clients.
Bryan Crowley was named CEO of Soylent in December of 2017 after joining the company as President earlier that year. Crowley leads Soylent’s executive team, in addition to overseeing all day-to-day operations shepherding the company in its mission to leverage science and technology to provide complete, convenient, sustainable nutrition to the world. Crowley began his career in sales at Anheuser Busch and later worked at Con Agra Foods, Mars Inc., Pabst Brewing Company, and VeeV Spirits. Beginning as a part-time consultant, Crowley joined KeVita, a leading artisan of fermented probiotic and kombucha beverages. He quickly made an impact on the brand’s business and marketing strategies at a turning point in KeVita’s growth and was named Chief Strategy Officer. As CSO, Crowley was charged with taking the organization to the next level by leading business strategy, marketing, human resources, product development, and innovation. After only eight months, he led KeVita through a successful acquisition by PepsiCo in November of 2016.
President, American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp
Starting in 2010, Mr. Knutson began working with a number of licensed medical marijuana organizations to establish compliant operating procedures. Since that time he has helped shape industry standards surrounding super-critical CO2 extraction techniques and oral liquid medical marijuana delivery systems. Since August 2014, Mr. Knutson has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of CanCore Concepts, Inc. In 2013, Mr. Knutson also co-founded Denver Packaging Company (“DPAC”), a licensed Colorado Medical and Adult-Retail Cannabis Manufacturing company. Additionally, he is a co-founder, Board Member and President of the American Trade Association for Cannabis and Hemp (“ATACH”). In 2012, Kelly and Erik Knutson (brothers) founded Isolate Extraction Systems, Inc. (IES). Since then IES has sold over 50 commercial extraction machines into the regulated Cannabis space. Many of these machines went to start-up businesses in burgeoning medical marijuana states. Together, IES and CCC have assisted dozens of companies in Canada, Puerto Rico, California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Colorado and New York with processing/ extraction operations. Mr. Knutson received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Colorado in 2009.
CEO & Founder, BevNET
As founder and CEO of BevNET, John Craven is a widely-recognized authority on the beverage industry and he is frequently cited in mainstream media. His vision shapes the editorial, publishing, and positioning of all of BevNET's properties, including BevNET.com, BevNET Magazine, Brewbound.com, BevNET FBU and their associated conferences. John is a graduate of Boston College with a BS in Marketing and Computer Science.
As Editor-in-Chief of BevNET, Jeffrey Klineman oversees the organization's reporting across all of its web sites, as well as BevNET Magazine. Jeffrey is also responsible for developing the content for conferences like BevNET Live and Food and Beverage University (FBU). Jeffrey previously worked as a newspaper reporter for the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, the Boston TAB and the Metrowest Daily News, and has freelanced for publications like Slate, Boston Magazine, Self, George, Commonwealth, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Jeffrey is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. A frequently-cited expert on the beverage industry, Jeffrey has also been named in Forbes as one of the 25 Most Influential Kingmakers in Consumer and Retail Companies. He is still trying to live that one down.
Mike Schneider is a seasoned executive who lives at the collision of brand, experience and product. He has deep roots in branding, mobile, content and events. Prior to BevNET, Schneider lead major rebranding efforts for Skyhook and GasBuddy and was the CMO of Apptopia. He also spent over 8 years in big Boston ad agencies Hill, Holliday and allen and gerritsen leading content, digital innovation and analytics teams. A long-time blogger and thought-leader, Schneider got his start drinking and evaluating craft beer and co-wrote Location Based Marketing for Dummies.
Managing Editor, BevNET
NEW BEVERAGE SHOWDOWN 15: YOUR BEVERAGE IN THE HOT SEAT
Catapult you and your company into the spotlight. New Beverage Showdown participants are the celebrities of BevNET Live. Be the center of attention among hundreds of industry executives and gatekeepers, receive instant feedback from an expert panel of judges, and compete for a prize valued at $10,000.