BEVERAGE SCHOOL: LEARN THE ROPES OF THE INDUSTRYBeverage School is a special half-day “Beverages 101″ session for early-stage entrepreneurs and industry newcomers. It is held the day prior to the full conference and is free for all BevNET Live Summer 2019 attendees. If you're a young beverage brand, these are the benefits of attending Beverage School:
Get Up to Speed
Take a look at the basics of operating and growing a company in the beverage market. Beverage School is an intensive, half-day program designed for beverage startups and industry newcomers.
Identify Keys for Growth
Gain access to expert insights, successful entrepreneur case studies, and a healthy dose of networking. Expect presentations on product development, sales and marketing, supply chain management, distribution and more.
Initiate Critical Conversations
Get a head start on the conversation during a special round table Q&A session. Connect with speakers and additional experts, the ones who know what works and how to make it happen.
Past Beverage School Speakers
Founder, Verge Strategy Inc.
Vivian Rhoads is the Founder of Verge Strategy Inc., a growth-focused marketing consulting firm based in trend-setting Los Angeles. Since starting Verge Strategy in 2014, she has helped companies, large and small, identify opportunities for brand growth, develop effective marketing plans, and launch successful new products. Clients include Nestlé, The Clorox Company, Starbucks, KraftHeinz, MolsonCoors, Chicken of the Sea, Thive Olive Oil, and others. Prior to Verge, Vivian led marketing innovation and venturing at Naked Emerging Brands, where she was responsible for all of PepsiCo's venturing initiatives in the emerging healthy beverages segment. Over her 15-year career, she also held global leadership marketing roles at Wrigley/Mars, PepsiCo (Frito-Lay and Naked Juice) and Procter and Gamble, with hands-on experience working with brands like Extra, Orbit, 5 gum, Eclipse, Skittles, Starburst, Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, Gamesa, Naked Juice, Kevita, IZZE Natural Soda, Downy and Tide. Vivian has worked across multiple geographies, including in-country placements in the US, Brazil, Spain, UK, Germany and Puerto Rico. Vivian received an MBA from McCombs School of Business at University of Texas in Austin, and a BS from the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV) in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She lives in West Los Angeles with her husband and their two young children. When not supporting clients or running after her kids, she enjoys meditation and brewing kombucha and beer at home.
Chief Progress Officer, ForceBrands
Founder & CEO, BEAR BRANDS, LLC
Partner, Barnhorn Growth Advisors
Brad is deeply involved with leading growth stage companies and investors at the intersection of the consumer products and private equity/financing communities as a Board Member and Advisor to both operating companies and institutional investors. His career path as an entrepreneur, CEO, board member, and investor has cut across all critical strategic and operational dimensions of growth stage consumer company-building. Mr. Barnhorn currently serves on the Board of Directors for KeVita, Chameleon Cold Brew, Zola, Rhythm Superfoods, Health Warrior, Biena Foods, Glukos and Fishpeople -- and previously served on the Board of Krave Jerky through to its sale to Hersheys.
CEO, Rao's Specialty Foods
Eric Skae, the CEO of Rao’s Specialty Foods, is a natural leader with a passion for propelling organizations to success, a trait which has been the hallmark of his career. Before joining Rao’s Specialty Foods, Eric was the founder and Managing Partner of The Bricktown Group, a change management consulting firm providing Strategy, Finance, Sales & Marketing, and Operations consulting support to clients in the food, beverage and nutraceutical fields. Eric has a strong track record of success in meeting price, production, and quality targets while maintaining market share. With a deep understanding of financial modeling and extensive experience in Mergers and Acquisitions, Eric’s entrepreneurial mindset and hands-on approach enables him to quickly pinpoint and address financial and market vulnerabilities and opportunities. He continues to identify and capitalize on funding options that satisfy the specific needs of any project, product, or operational issue.
Co-Founder, Los Angeles Distributing Company
Founder/CEO, Mamma Chia
Partner and Creative Director, Interact Boulder
Fred Hart is Partner and Creative Director at Interact Boulder, a branding and packaging design agency obsessed and dedicated to the food & beverage industry. Despite being located in microbrewery-mecca Boulder CO, Fred’s inability to grow a beard, lack of tattoos and non-existent flannel hasn’t held him back from the beer community. Since 2016, Fred has led Interact’s redesign of iconic Dogfish Head, refreshing their beers, launching their cans and forging their off-centered spirits.
Founder, Natural Products Consulting Group
As a consultant since 1998, Bob Burke provides assistance in bringing natural, organic and specialty products to market across most classes of trade. This includes work in strategic planning, growth strategies, writing sales, marketing and business plans, budgeting, pricing, building distribution, broker selection and management, organizational development, strategic options, branding and trade spending management. He is also the co-author and co-publisher of the Natural Products Field Manual, Fourth Edition and The Sales Manager's Handbook. Prior to consulting, Bob was with Stonyfield Farm Yogurt for 11 years as Vice President, Sales & Corporate Development and Vice President, Marketing & Sales. He has held marketing positions with Colombo, Inc. and Sperry Top-Sider. He received an MBA from Babson College.
Managing Partner, Whipstitch Capital
Michael Burgmaier is a Co-Founder and Managing Director with Whipstitch Capital, an investment bank that provides private placement and buy-side / sell-side mergers & acquisitions advisory services for leading consumer products companies in the healthy, organic, natural and/or functional food, beverage, supplements, personal care and related retail companies. He has helped complete over 50 transactions for clients such as KeVita, Uncle Matt’s Organics, Essentia Water, Spindrift, The Switch, Redd Bar, Peeled Snacks, Blake’s All Natural Foods and Otter Creek Brewing Company. Mike has been active in the M&A and private equity/VC consumer space since early 2004; previously he was a Consultant with Bain & Co. In 2008, Burgmaier was named as a "40 Under 40" leader in the Natural Products Industry by Natural Foods Merchandiser. Mike has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, an MPP from Duke University and a BA in Economics from Boston College.
Founder, McGinn eCommConsulting
McGinn eCommConsulting provides expertise in eCommerce strategy for CPG companies ranging from launch stage to $3 billion in sales. With over 11 years of experience with Amazon.com and other strategic eCommerce partners, Betsy works with clients on launch and business optimization strategy, product and pack develop, problem resolution and ongoing management of their eCommerce business. With eight years of eCommerce leadership at Seventh Generation, Betsy provides a unique perspective through the brand lens to guide clients in this complex channel. Additional multi- channel experience in both the US and Canada enhances the development of eCommerce strategy that balances the interests of all sales channels in order to manage channel conflict.
NextFoods CEO Alan Murray has worked with the beverage industry for more than 20 years, having held various international marketing and general management roles within packaging giant Tetra Pak. As CEO in North America, he worked closely with many leading beverage brands and played a key role in bringing new packaging formats to the U.S. In 2010 he decided to step into the startup world by taking on the CEO role at NextFoods, makers of probiotic juice, GoodBelly. Murray was instrumental in licensing the brand’s patented probiotic technology from Sweden and participated in early activities such as brand creation and pitching to investors. Murray is also Vice Chairman of the publicly listed company SunOpta, a $1 billion global provider of natural and organic foods ingredients. His experience includes board work for private equity and venture backed companies in the packaging and food industries. He has worked closely with CEO’s as coach and sounding board in companies ranging in size from pre-revenue all the way to $1billion. He was the founder of the North American Carton Council, an industry body that serves to promote the recycling of cartons in the US. A graduate of the University of Cape Town, South Africa with a degree in Biochemistry and Applied Statistics, Murray participated in the Unilever Management Development Program and has attended various courses at the Business School IMD in Lausanne Switzerland. He is a Guest Speaker at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and has taught case studies of his work at London’s Ashridge Business School.
Accounting & Advisory Partner, Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP
Gregory Wank, CPA, CGMA, is an accounting and advisory partner at Anchin, Block & Anchin LLP and a member of the Firm's Executive Committee. Greg is the Practice Leader of the Firm's Food and Beverage Industry Group, providing accounting, business, and tax planning services to privately held companies throughout the industry, including many emerging brands, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. In addition to his keen focus on food and beverage companies, he retains some other consumer product companies including manufacturers and distributors of jewelry, apparel and textile, and furniture. As one of the metropolitan areas' foremost thought leaders in the food and beverage industry, Greg is often sought after as an expert panelist at industry events. He assists the growth of emerging brands as a strategic partner with AccelFoods.
CEO, SAS Sales and Marketing
After years of helping to grow his family's restaurant and catering business in New York and Florida, Andrew Stallone co-founded Boca Beverage Corp., a start-up distribution company which became the first and ultimately exclusive distributor of Arizona Iced Tea in the state of Florida. Over the next few years the company grew into a statewide distributorship with master distribution rights for Florida as well as Georgia and Alabama, and launched many emerging brands including Nantucket Nectars, Fiji Water, Hansen's Natural and Red Bull. Stallone worked hand in hand with the owners of these young brands; he felt an obligation for their success, and there was a true partnership building these companies. This is how he work with his current clients. Since selling Boca Beverage Corp., Stallone have been involved in the successful launch and expansion of several beverage brands including Odwalla and Monster Energy. Andrew’s experience on both the distributor as well as the supplier side of the business allows him to bring unique perspective, and has proven to be an invaluable asset to his clients. Andrew currently live in Florida with his wife of 25 years and two daughters, and he is an avid golf and tennis player.
Managing Director, McLean Design
VP Strategy and Brand Development, Essentia Water
Creative, dynamic and passionate leader in the beverage and food category. Best known as one of the leaders that turned around Snapple after its decline under Quaker, Neil is an acknowledged expert in the development of new beverages, writing for Bevnet and speaking at industry events. In 2013 Neil became VP of Strategy and Market Development for the fast growing Essentia Water, but still is an advisor to Runa and with Accel Foods.
When: 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 11th
Where: TBD in New York, NY
Registration: Registration is free, but all Beverage School attendees must be registered for the BevNET Live conference. Seating is limited to 60 attendees.
Topics: Product design, introduction to sales channels, legal keys for beverage startups, the importance of branding, funding, and best business practices.
Format: 3.5 hours of presentations, followed by round table discussions with speakers and additional experts.