New Beverage Showdown: Your Beverage in the Hot Seat
The New Beverage Showdown, presented by VEB, pits beverage brands against the top new products in the market. This is an opportunity for new beverage companies 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. Semi-Finalists will pitch their beverage brand on the BevNET Live stage to an audience of beverage companies, investors, consultants, brokers, suppliers, and more.
The application is now closed. Please contact us with any questions.
Past New Beverage Showdown Winners
New Beverage Showdown 14 Judges
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.
President and General Manager, Zico
Tom Larsen has been president and general manager of ZICO since 2014. ZICO is part of the Venturing & Emerging Brands unit of Coca-Cola. Prior to joining ZICO, Larsen served as general manager of illy, a ready-to-drink coffee business, which is also part of VEB. Larsen spent five years leading the illy venture. Larsen is a Coca-Cola veteran whose previous roles include serving as vice president of Minute Maid Europe Operations, where he led the development of a holistic juice beverage strategy and capability across 45 countries. He also served as manager director of Caribbean/Export Minute Maid International, where he was responsible for leading sales and marketing for Minute Maid Caribbean, Export, South Africa and business development. Larsen, who is based at ZICO’s headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., is a graduate of Arizona State University.
Managing Partner, AccelFoods
Jordan Gaspar is a Managing Partner of AccelFoods, an investor in disruptive food and beverage companies. AccelFoods has invested in over 30 portfolio companies across a broad range of categories and works with founders to bridge the gap between their innovative thinking and the resources needed to scale to the highest levels of growth. Jordan oversees deal origination, structure and investment execution on behalf of AccelFoods, as well as heads up strategy, investor relations and general management of the fund. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Element Snacks and Four Sigmatic, as a board observer to KidFresh, Koia, and SkinnyDipped, and sits on the AccelFoods Investment Committee. Prior to founding AccelFoods, Jordan was an attorney at Morrison Cohen LLP. She graduated from Columbia College and received her J.D. from Fordham Law School. Jordan resides in New York City with her husband and two children, ages 7 and 4. She is constantly on the hunt for unique, purse friendly snacks for her kids.
Director of Business Ventures, Albertsons
Karen Ivanis-Rogers is the Director of Business Ventures at Albertsons. In her over 20-year career in CPG, Karen has held roles with Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Clorox and Del Monte. She has been on the retailer side two years in her current role with Albertsons working with emerging food and beverage brands. She’s intrigued by the pace and diversity of innovation in beverage but admits to Diet Dr Pepper as a guilty pleasure. Karen graduated from Gonzaga University and received an MBA from UC Irvine. She lives in the Oakland Hills.
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.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Powerplant Ventures
Mark was the Founder and CEO of ZICO Beverages, a trailblazer of the $8B global coconut water category and one of the fastest growing beverage brands in the world when the brand was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company in 2013. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Powerplant Ventures, a fund that aims to remake the global food system to deliver better nutrition in more sustainable and ethical ways. He is the also the author of "High Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will" and speaks around the world on entrepreneurship, the global food system and social impact investing. Mark currently serves as CEO for Beanfields Snacks, an LA-based social impact food company. Mark began his career as a Peace Corps Volunteer and has a BA in business from Marquette University, and an MBA and Masters in Environmental Management from Duke University. He lives with his wife and daughters in Redondo Beach, California.
Sr. Beverage Advisor, Verlinvest
Ken Sadowsky is known by insiders in the beverage business as “the beverage whisperer” for having an incredible track record of investing in and advising many of the fastest-growing and most successful new beverages over the last 20 years, including Glaceau/VitaminWater, VitaCoco, and Bai. Prior to becoming a prominent investor and advisor in the industry, Ken was a principal of Atlas Distributing Inc., overseeing the non-alcoholic beverage division that he developed. The division was founded in 1988 and sales were $50k that year. In 2007, sales were over $16 million and the total company sales were in excess of $75 million.
Emerging Brands & Incubation, VEB
As VP Emerging Brands Incubation for Venturing & Emerging Brands, Matt Hughes leads emerging brand commercial strategies across channels and routes to market, and drives emerging brand sales in the Natural channel. He's been in the industry for over 30 years, and launched three entrepreneurial beverage brands prior to joining The Coca-Cola Company. He has served as COO of a mid-sized beverage company and led a regional bottling company as Division President. With a keen knowledge and awareness of business opportunity, Matt is able to identify niche markets, develop relevant strategy and implement to success. Matt's entrepreneurial background makes him a keen observer who's on the leading edge of trends.
Director of Business Ventures, Albertsons
What Past Winners Are Saying
"The New Beverage showdown was a great experience. It provided insightful feedback from industry experts, and helped open doors to vital resources to help us continue to grow our brand. Most importantly, we had a blast!" - Stephen Ellsworth, Co-Founder, Mother Beverage, New Beverage Showdown 12 Winner
"Being a part of the BevNET Live 2015: New Beverage Showdown helped create brand awareness for MALK within the beverage industry. Many doors opened from raw materials to distribution after our participation. For any new beverage business looking to make the right connections, I would highly recommend participating in this amazing event!" - August Vega, CEO, MALK, New Beverage Showdown 10 Winner
"Winning Bevnet's New Beverage Showdown has given RAU the highlighted exposure necessary to develop strong supply chain, distribution and national marketing relationships." - Daren Meyers, Co-Founder, RAU, New Beverage Showdown 9 Winner
"We approached the BevNET New Beverage Showdown with the sole intent of winning it all. That caused us to sharpen up in every way and to really question all aspects of the business, because we’d have to ace live presentations to industry experts. That self-evaluation truly helped us on our path to understanding the “what,” “how,” and “why” behind Health-Ade at a critical time in our growth." - Justin Trout, Co-Founder & COO, Health-Ade Kombucha, New Beverage Showdown 6 Winner
PrizeBesides the distinction of being the New Beverage Showdown 14 Winner, the winner will be awarded a cash price of $5,000 and a $5,000 ad package from BevNET.
Selected Semifinalists and given the chance to present to the Semifinal Judging Panel on Monday, December 5. Each presentation will be 2 minutes long with only a single slide as a visual aide. Feedback from the judges will follow each individual presentation. After presentations are completed, the Semifinal Judging Panel will select five brands as Finalists. The audience vote will select the sixth Finalist.
The six Finalists will present again on Tuesday, December 6, this time for a longer 5 minute presentation, where multiple slides and other audio/video elements are allowed. A direct Q&A with the Finalist Judging Panel will follow each individual presentation. The Finalist Judging Panel will deliberate and announce a single winner at the end of the conference.
Selection ProcessBevNET staff members will select Finalists based on the strength of their applications. Finalists will not be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Decisions by the selection committee are final. Application deadline is Friday, November 10th.
Companies must meet the following criteria to be considered:
- Brand must be either pre-launch or has been on the market for less than a year.
- Brand revenue of $2 million or less.
- Company funding of $1 million or less.
- Company must be in good legal and financial standing (e.g. not in bankruptcy protection).
- Company must be based in the US or Canada with the US as it's primary target market.
- Brand must be non-alcoholic and delivered in a ready-to-drink format (shot, bottle, can, etc) or tablet/powder. Bag-in-box, pre-mix, leaf tea or coffee beans are not eligible at this time.
- Presenting Finalist(s) must be registered to attend BevNET Live Winter 2017