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 Drive New Partnerships
We pace the event to promote conversations. Using the stage as a thought starter, people come to make industry connections and figure out how they can work together.
Participation Generates Industry Awareness for Your Beverage Product or Service
The New Beverage Showdown pits the hottest new beverages against each other. Sample Bars are product showcases putting cutting-edge products in front of potential partners. The BevNET Live Expo is an intimate showcase of beverage-specific industry supplier and service companies.
RESERVE A DISCOUNTED ROOM AT THE LOEWS BEFORE THEY SELL OUT
BevNET Live's winter event takes place at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Enjoy the SoCal weather, magnificent sunsets, views of the Santa Monica Pier, and superior accommodations at the famous beachfront hotel. A discounted room block will be made available for registered attendees on a first-come first-served basis. Registering now grants you access to discounted rooms. Last year the room block sold out over a month before the event, so don't delay!
THANK YOU TO OUR PLATINUM SPONSOR:
ADM, a leading supplier of ingredients for food and beverage brands, is this year's Platinum sponsor for both our Summer and Winter BevNET Live conferences. As a cornerstone of the industry, ADM provides the expertise and support needed to create a platform for future innovation and partnership.
INDUSTRY ALL-STARS HAVE SPOKEN AT BEVNET LIVE
Founder & CEO, GT’s Living Foods
GT Dave is the category creator of the Kombucha industry with his line of #1 selling products known as GT's Kombucha & Synergy. Over 20 years ago while he was barely a teenager, GT started brewing and bottling his authentic organic raw Kombucha in his parent's kitchen in Los Angeles. Since then, he has expanded his company's portfolio beyond Kombucha and has once again become a pioneer of cutting-edge wellness offerings including non-dairy kefirs, non-dairy raw coconut yogurts, probiotic shots, adaptogenic teas, and much more. GT continues to be the creative and visionary force behind all of GT's Living Foods while allowing the company to remain family-owned and operated.
In 2017, Sheryl O'Loughlin introduced her book, Killing It: An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart. She is currently the CEO of REBBL, the first super herb adaptogen beverage company. REBBL partners with Not for Sale, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating human trafficking. Sheryl was the CEO of Clif Bar and Company and co-founded and served as CEO for Plum, Inc. She has held positions in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Sonoma State University, and she currently serves the boards of Once Upon a Farm, the Harvest Summit, and Conscious Capitalism. She is a member of the Forbes San Francisco Business Council and One Step Closer to a Sustainable Community (OSC2). Sheryl earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. She lives in California with her husband, Patrick, and their two sons.
Chief Brand Cebador/Co-founder, Guayakí Yerba Mate
David Karr is the Chief Brand Cebador of Guayaki SRP, inc., a company he co-founded with Alex Pryor, his “soul brother” in 1996. As the brand steward, David is responsible for the look, feel and story of Guayaki and is committed to creating sustainable, regenerating enterprises that nourish the planet and humanity. He lives on his community farm on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada with his wife Jennifer Lloyd and two boys Alex and Rio.
DMM of Chilled Packaged Goods, Walmart
Sarah Alderson leads the refrigerated buying teams at Walmart. A 10-year veteran of the company's food business, she has worked in Private Brands and in a variety of buying roles in merchandising. She is working to create a new shopping experience in Walmart's refrigerated set and is passionate about growing American entrepreneurial companies to cultivate a new assortment to surprise and delight her customers.
Founder, Four Sigmatic
Tero Isokauppila is the founder Four Sigmatic, a nature-centric Nordic company specializing in functional superfoods, mushrooms, and adaptogens. Tero’s roots (or mycelium, if you will) are in Finland where he grew up foraging for mushrooms and other wild foods on his family’s farm. He later earned a degree in Chemistry and a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition at Cornell University. In 2012, Tero founded Four Sigmatic with the dream of bringing a little Everyday Magic to the lives of all. An expert in all things related to mushrooms and natural health, Tero is the author of two books: Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Adaptogenic Mushrooms for Whole Body Health, his first book from Avery Publishing, and this Fall’s Santa Sold Shrooms, the untold story of Saint Nicholas. Tero was chosen as one of the world's Top 50 Food Activists by the Academy of Culinary Nutrition and has appeared in Time, Forbes, BuzzFeed, Vogue, W Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, and Bon Appétit. He is also a sought-after speaker, having been featured at Summit Series, Wanderlust, Further Future, and the Culinary Nutrition Conference. In 2012 Tero bid the cold Finnish winters goodbye and now resides in sunny Southern California.
Founder & CEO, FORTO Coffee
Neel Premkumar created FORTO Coffee to fuel the next generation of coffee lovers, looking for a fast coffee energy boost. Today, FORTO is the #1 Coffee Shot and the best-selling shelf-stable Organic Bottled Coffee in the U.S., sold in over 50,000 retail stores. The company has been on Inc.500’s fastest-growing company list for multiple years, and Neel is an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist. Prior to becoming the Founder and CEO of FORTO, Neel was a marketing executive at Nestle, and beforehand, founded a boutique marketing agency called CreativeHub, with clients that included Unilever, General Mills and Samsung. Neel holds an MBA from The Wharton School of Business, a Graduate Marketing degree from The University of Chicago, and a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University. He resides with his wife and twin girls near New York City.
Principal, Gallego & Co.
Arthur Gallego runs Gallego & Co., a marketing consulting firm specializing in natural and emerging food & beverage brands. Gallego is a familiar name if you drink coconut water: he helped launch Vita Coco in 2004 and has worked with the brand ever since. He also works with Bulletproof 360; UGLY Drinks; LIFEAID Beverage Co. and Chomps meat snacks. Gallego is a well-regarded marketing strategist, branding and communications expert and has been a regular guest on MSNBC and been quoted by CBS News, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
Co-Founder & Managing Partner, BIGR Ventures
Duane began his career in natural foods nearly two decades ago. In that time he has served in management positions for several prominent natural foods companies, including Frontier Natural Products Co-op and WhiteWave. In 2004 Duane co-founded Pixie Mate, a specialty tea business, and from 2007 to 2015 he held several senior management positions for Boulder Brands, ultimately serving as the Executive Vice President of the Balance segment for Boulder Brands, responsible for 3 of the 6 businesses in the portfolio. Concurrent to this, Duane was the Managing Director of the Boulder Brands Investment Group from 2013 to 2015. Duane’s general business management and entrepreneurial experience make him particularly well-suited to assist portfolio companies in their business operations, strategic planning and marketing and sales initiatives. Duane currently sits or has sat on the Board of Directors of Suja Juice, EPIC, Temple Turmeric, Primizie, Live Soda, Bonafide Provisions, Rebbl, Bobo’s Oat Bars, High Brew Coffee and Thorne Nature Experience, a Boulder-based environmental education non-profit.
Founder & CEO, Spindrift
Bill Creelman is the Founder of Spindrift Beverage Co., Inc. and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to Spindrift, Bill co-founded Stirrings which sold to Diageo in 2009. Bill grew up on a farm in Western Massachusetts where all the food was unprocessed, seasonal, and fresh. In 2010, he began making his own sparkling beverages to help him kick his fiendish Diet Coke habit. He wanted something refreshing with real ingredients he could pronounce and enjoy with his young family. After much trial and error, he achieved this by combining 2 simple ingredients: fresh fruit and triple-filtered sparkling water. He named it Spindrift. Today, Spindrift is made up of 75 passionate employees dedicated to changing the sparkling beverages. Spindrift is leading beverage into a new age of transparency and ingredient simplicity by offering no artificial sweeteners, no natural flavorings, and no essences. Spindrift was recently named to Inc. Magazine 500 fasting growing companies and 2 time recipient of Bevnet Product of the Year awards. Bill lives outside of Boston with his wife, Harley, and 4 kids.
Senior VP, Brand Growth Solutions, SPINS
Andrew joined SPINS in 2015 to help the most innovative health & wellness brands in the industry grow even faster. The Brand Growth Solutions team now advises a broad portfolio of high-performing brands and investors on marketing, sales, innovation, and M&A. The team leverages SPINS’ industry- leading market data in combination with robust consumer information, analytics, and strategic analyses to generate powerful insights and develop profitable growth solutions for our clients. Andrew brings a passion for the Natural and Specialty Products Industry, plus over twenty years of consumer brand experience in strategy, marketing, and innovation leadership roles at McKinsey, Kraft, and PepsiCo.
Founder & CEO, Dry Soda
As the visionary behind DRY Soda Company, Sharelle Klaus has always had a passion for the culinary world and celebrating each part of a meal – including the beverage. After having four children, she didn’t want to let a lack of wine or cocktails stop her from creating a great pairing. Klaus recognized an absence of refreshing, clean, non-alcoholic options in the market, and became determined to create the first line of less-sweet sodas that was worthy of meal pairing and premium mixology. She believed savory and sweet flavors more commonly used in cuisine could offer exciting compliments to her favorite meals. In 2005, Klaus crafted the first batches of DRY Sparkling soda in her home kitchen and officially launched DRY Soda Co. a few months later. In 2018, she launched DRY Soda Co.’s second brand – DRY Zero Sugar organic sodas – to bring that same elevated experience to consumers seeking a better sugar-free soda option. Klaus brings nearly two decades of entrepreneurial, financial and technology industry experience to her role as CEO at DRY, and oversees all marketing, strategic planning and innovation for the brand. With guidance from some of the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs and a savvy corporate team, Klaus pioneered a new category of sparkling beverages, fearlessly leading DRY’s aggressive growth in a male dominated industry. Prior to founding DRY, Klaus worked as a consultant for Infrastructure Management Group and Price Waterhouse. She also served as president of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, where she drove strategic development of programs, events and fundraising for the organization’s 250+ Seattle-area members. Klaus has been featured by ParentMap, Huffpost, Forbes, BevNET, Seattle Magazine, Imbibe, and was honored by Seattle Business Magazine as one of its 2018 CEOs of the year. With a keen appreciation for humor and wit, Klaus is an avid supporter of entrepreneurship and frequently speaks at professional conferences, workshops, and the University of Washington Business School, where she also participates as a judge for the Michael G. Foster’s School’s well-known business plan competitions. She has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Seattle Pacific University Business School, the Board of Directors at the Seattle Chamber of Commerce and the Board of the Seattle Lung Force. Klaus graduated from Seattle Pacific University with an undergraduate degree in political science, and currently resides in Seattle, Wash.
Vice President Sales, Beyond Beer Portfolio, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Randy Ornstein is the Vice President of Beyond Beer Sales at Anheuser-Busch, responsible for all aspects of A-B’s growing non-alcohol (NA) business and the distribution of our non-beer alcohol brands. Previously, Randy led A-B’s NA team and was its first member in 2016 as General Manager of Teavana Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Craft Iced Teas, leading the partnership with Starbucks. Randy joined A-B in 2005 and spent six years living in Bentonville, AR working as Walmart's Beer Category Advisor. He was responsible for managing 12 national store-level resets, as well as advising Walmart on growing beer category dollars. In 2011, Randy moved to St. Louis to become Senior Director of Category Management for all national grocers. He helped the retailers better manage their beer category space and worked on solutions to drive sales, including initiatives to decrease out-of-stocks. In 2014, Randy was promoted to Vice President of U.S. Sales for Walmart and Sam’s Club and created the “Your Bud Light Headquarters” program that drove significant share of market growth for Bud Light, along with his creation of an on-shelf availability app for wholesalers to reduce out-of-stocks. Randy holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Indiana University and an MBA in retail business from the University of Arkansas. Randy, his wife Hayley, and his children, Reed and Ila, live in Montclair, NJ.
President & CEO, Good Karma Foods
Doug is a classical, ‘big company’ packaged goods marketer turned growth entrepreneur in the natural products industry. He currently serves as President and CEO of Good Karma Foods, one of the fastest growing Brands in the plant-based dairy category. Prior to Good Karma, Doug served as interim General Manager of Rudi’s Organic Bakery after the successful sale to The Hain Celestial Group. During his tenure at Rudi’s, Doug was responsible for all key growth initiatives, acting as SVP of Sales & Marketing where he was able to more than double revenue in less than 4 years. He has 22 years of experience in various consumer products categories, including healthcare, snack foods, frozen, dairy, and organic. Doug has held various leadership positions with many leading consumer brands such as Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Silk Soymilk, Horizon Organic, and Doritos. Passionate about the natural products industry, Doug is a past President of Naturally Boulder, serves on a number of small company boards, and regularly mentors emerging brand entrepreneurs. He has an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and a MBA in Marketing from Wake Forest University.
Managing Partner, 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners
Sharon Kieffer has spent the majority of her 20+ year career as a successful innovator and business builder in the consumer packaged goods industry. As an executive at PepsiCo and Kraft Foods she leveraged her strong consumer and business insights to create and build over $2 billion of new CPG businesses around the globe. Most notably she worked to launch Aquafina and Starbucks ready to drink beverages in the US and expand the Philadelphia and Kraft cheese brands into new categories internationally. Today, she is focused on working alongside entrepreneurs to help create the next generation of differentiated and high growth CPG businesses. As a partner at 2x Consumer Products Growth Partners, Sharon led the investment in Good Karma and continues to sit on the Board of Directors. Sharon began her marketing career in advertising at Leo Burnett, working on personal care and paper businesses. She spent the next 18+ years rising through the ranks in Marketing and Innovation at Kraft Foods, Fort James and PepsiCo. Most recently, Sharon was the VP of Global Innovation at PepsiCo where she led disruptive innovation efforts for the Quaker brand and Global Nutrition Group around the world. Sharon received both a B.B.A. and an M.B.A from the University of Wisconsin. She enjoys spending time with her husband and twin boys and pursuing her passions of athletics, the outdoors and health and wellness. She is an avid Badger and Packer fan, has completed two marathons, biked through Italy and enjoys hiking whenever possible.
Chief Creative Officer, The GRO Agency
Kelly Criswell is a visionary and creative leader, shepherding The GRO Agency as the Chief Creative Officer based in the Los Angeles office. With a fierce love of beverage branding and a 16+ year career in CPG brand development and packaging design, Kelly will relentlessly push brands to the next level for success on shelf. Over her career she has worked with such notable brands as Dunkin’ Donuts, Nestlé, Premier Nutrition, Diageo, and Red Bull. Her latest modus operandi is harnessing her extensive experience in CPG to help entrepreneurs and start-ups launch their brands. Her current passion project is Kabaki Kenyan Purple Tea- she has teamed up with the founder Martin and helped him position, brand, package, and develop go-to-market strategy for a 2018 launch. When she’s not obsessively taking photos in grocery stores (say hi if you see her!) she’s painting or hiking with her two kids.
Executive Vice President of Sales, L.A. Libations
Born in Paris, France, David Meniane moved to Los Angeles at the age of 18. After obtaining a BS in Accounting and Master’s in Tax Law from the University of Southern California in 2005, he spent two years advising real estate developers and mid-size business owners as a CPA for Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt, one of California’s leading CPA firms. In 2007, David switched over to the private side of accounting when he was hired as controller for Aflalo & Harkham Investments, a commercial real estate company with $350 million in assets. In less than 2 years, he became Chief Financial Officer and Asset Manager for 27 companies, overseeing the sale of $200 million worth of properties. As an entrepreneur, David, alongside his wife Deborah, founded Victoria’s Kitchen in 2012. Creating this specialty beverage company, he quickly learned various facets of the beverage industry including brand building, commercialization, strategy, distribution, supply chain and operating in a high-risk fast paced environment. After appearing on Season 6 of Shark Tank, the company became profitable in its 4th year and was eventually acquired in 2017. Since 2016, David has been acting as Executive Vice President at L.A. Libations, the official incubating partner for The Coca-Cola Company. Under the guidance and support of its founder, Danny Stepper, he put his experience to use by leading the efforts in restructuring Obi Probiotic Soda helping multiply its revenue six fold in one year. David also leads all commercialization efforts for new brand partners and in-house projects with a true focus on discipline and execution. David now touches all aspects of beverage incubation from business development, research & development, commercialization, distribution, price architecture, supply chain, operations, sales, fundraising to overall strategy. Having lead two beverage turnarounds, and his own company for 6 years, he also takes his analytical approach to help struggling brands in growing categories with transforming or rebuilding infrastructure, product and market execution. David currently maintains an active CPA license in the state of California and lives in Los Angeles with his wife of 11 years and their beautiful 1-year old daughter, Bella.
Founder, Tio Gazpacho
Partner & Director of Business Development, Nutter
Jeremy Halpern is a partner and co-chairs and serves as the Director of Business Development for Nutter’s Emerging Companies Group. Jeremy’s practice focuses on emerging companies, private equity, venture capital and angel financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, executive and team compensation matters, and general start-up support. Serving as the firm’s entrepreneur-in-residence, Jeremy often works on strategy and corporate development matters with companies, investors, and executives in technology, life sciences and the food and beverage industry. Jeremy is an active angel investor and is a member of the board of The Capital Network, a Boston based non-profit serving entrepreneurs seeking high growth capital. Jeremy serves on the Advisory Board and the Executive Education Committee of the MBI Health Program and on the Advisory Board of Pintley, a MassChallenge 2011 finalist company providing marketing solutions to the craft brewers and bars. He continues to serve as a mentor at MassChallenge and LearnLaunch, an expert advisor at the Innovation Hub at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and as a speaker, reviewer, judge or mentor for MIT HackingMedicine, HackingPediatrics, the Mass Tech Transfer Center, the Mass Life Science Center, M2D2, BranchFood and Startup Institute. Previously Jeremy served on the Board and Investment Committee of MassVentures, an early stage venture capital fund funding technology companies in Massachusetts. Jeremy taught entrepreneurial leadership at Tufts University for nine years and cofounded a company in the mobile technology synchronization space. Jeremy received his B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of California, Berkeley, and his J.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Hector Gonzalez Jr.
Director of Merchandising, Gonzalez Northgate Markets
Vice President, Product & Brand Strategy, Bulletproof
Karen Huh joined Bulletproof 360 as the Vice President of Product & Brand Strategy in December 2015. Karen led the overhaul of Bulletproof rebranding effort in 2016 and 2017 and during her tenure at Bulletproof has launched over 30 products across food, beverage and supplements. In addition to product strategy, Karen also leads R&D, marketing, communications, and content. Prior to Bulletproof, Karen was at Starbucks Coffee Company for nearly 11 years in a wide range of roles including coffee innovation, launch of RTD and packaged coffee in international markets, and the acquisition of Evolution Fresh. Before joining Starbucks, Karen was an investment professional at two tech-focused venture capital firms. Karen lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband Ernie and two kids.
Founder, Millennial Brands
Co-Founder & CEO, L.A. Libations
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.
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.
Co-Founder, L.A. Libations
Dino Sarti is the chief executive officer of L.A. Aloe, LLC, makers of Aloe Gloe, and the co-founder of L.A. Libations, the premier national beverage development and sales organization specializing in super premium beverage brands in early phase development. Dino’s professional background includes 20 years of experience in the beverage industry from operations to customer management and brand development. His sales management experience covers every channel of trade and virtually every chain retailer nationwide. He acquired knowledge of complex distribution systems while managing a direct store delivery sales force for Coca-Cola in Southern California. Dino then went on to develop channel specific selling strategies as an account executive for Coca-Cola calling on national retailers. After completing an MBA at Pepperdine, Dino caught the entrepreneurial bug and joined Icelandic Glacial water as vice president of national sales where he played a key role in securing an investment from Anheuser-Busch and then rolling the brand out across the A-B national network. Dino’s tenure in emerging brands revealed a void in the market – early phase brands lack a portfolio approach and do not have the economies of scale to afford or justify a dedicated national team. In addition, large and established companies lack the processes and capabilities for incubating emerging, growth oriented brands. This void in the market and associated opportunities gave birth to the idea of L.A. Libations, a brand developer, and incubator. The L.A. Libations model proved highly successful.
President & Co-Founder, L.A. Libations
Patrick Bolden is a business expert with 24 years of beverage experience. Alcohol, non-alcohol, traditional, non-traditional, on and off premise are many aspects of the beverage industry that are familiar to Pat. Pat is the Co-Founder and President of L.A. Libations. After a short stint playing professional basketball, Pat began in beverage by working for 7up / Rc Bottling in 1993. He worked in a variety of different roles there from field sales to operations to national accounts. After 7 years he transitioned to the Coca Cola Company into their trade development department and called on national accounts such as BP ampm, Target, Walmart and Sam’s Club. In 2005, Pat took on a National Account Manager role at Heineken USA. Learning the ins and outs and legalities of the alcoholic beverage industry was challenging but rewarding. This experience allowed Pat to be much better-rounded within the beverage channel but also understand how to create a new approach to being innovative and disruptive. In 2009 Pat, Danny and Dino started this organization to position “better for you and healthy alternative” products in mainstream retail accounts. Pat’s strength are his deep nationwide retail relationships. He has always said “providing value is the key to true partnership.” Innovation and incubation continue to be the phases of beverage brands where Pat’s experience shines. His passion to integrate beverages that are centered on health and wellness into mainstream outlets is what drives him to trail blaze in this industry and his results speak for themself.
President, Fiji Water Group
Elizabeth Stephenson is president of the FIJI Water Group, a division of The Wonderful Company. The FIJI Water Group is comprised of FIJI Water, Justin Winery and Vineyards, Landmark Winery and Vineyards, and the Neptune Pacific Line, a shipping company in the South Pacific. FIJI Water is the No. 1 premium imported bottled water in the United States and has expanded globally to more than 80 countries. Elizabeth joined The Wonderful Company in 2015 to lead the company’s Strategy Group, an internal consulting group responsible for strategy, M&A, change management, and special projects. In 2016, she became president of POM Wonderful, the leading pomegranate brand and producer in the world, known for its POM Wonderful Juices and Teas, POM POMs pomegranate arils, and POM-brand fresh pomegranates. Elizabeth transitioned to her present role in the Spring of 2018. Previously, Elizabeth was a partner at McKinsey & Company, where she served clients on long-term strategy and strategic growth topics, from 2001–2015. While there, she specialized in large-scale, corporate portfolio strategy and growth strategy working at the C-suite and board level, primarily for Fortune 100 companies. Elizabeth holds a B.A. magna cum laude from Yale in cultural anthropology and an M.A. in European history from Columbia. A former Fulbright scholar and Mellon fellow, she did doctoral work in cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago.
VP Corporate Development & Strategy, Dean Foods Company
Founder & CEO, Bear Brands, Basemakers
Partner, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Justin is an attorney and shareholder in the Denver office of the international law firm Greenberg Traurig. His practice focuses on representing companies in the beverage, food, and dietary supplement and providing assistance on regulatory and legal issues. He reviews labels and packaging, websites and other promotional and advertising materials to ensure that the labels are technically compliant and appropriate claims are being made. He assists many companies with responses to FDA actions like warning letters, inspections and recalls, as well as FTC investigations. He also prepares and reviews industry contracts such as supplier and manufacturing agreements. And lately, he has been defending companies in class action lawsuits over labeling claims like "all natural" filed in California and other states.
Senior VP of Sales - Grocery & Alternate Channels, ITO EN (North America) INC.
President & CEO, Al's Beverage Company
Gerry is a 35 plus year veteran of the beverage industry and currently serves as President and CEO for one of the largest independent beverage dispensing Company’s in the Country in Al’s Beverages. Prior to Al’s, Gerry was a key player in both the Cola and Polar Wars having spent time operationally with Pepsi Cola In the 80’s and mid 90’s and over 17 years with independent giant, Polar Beverages. Gerry’s experiences include an in depth knowledge of both On and Off Premise sales and marketing and has a hands on history of product launches while dealing with buyers from Corporate to Independent Bottlers and at all levels of Retail. As Polar’s brand gatekeeper, Gerry played a major role in launching dozens of startup brands including Monster Energy, Vitamin Water, Fiji Water, and Nantucket Nectars and accurately foresaw the industry’s sparkling water growth by helping to develop Polar single serve and seasonal seltzers. Gerry has been a Bevnet Live contributor over the years where he has helped educate entrepreneurial brand owners on how to navigate distributor and retailer financial hurdles. Gerry is a graduate of Assumption College in Worcester MA and serves as a board member on the International Beverage Dispensing Equipment Association (IBDEA) where he joins other dispensing executives in navigating the next wave of dispensed offerings.
Executive VP, Managing Partner, Co-Founder, InterContinental Beverage Capital
Stephen Horgan is an experienced senior executive and entrepreneur who has successfully built businesses domestically and internationally. For over 20 years, he served in executive positions for The Coca-Cola Company, Coors Brewing Company and MillerCoors where his talents most often started or transformed organizations and resulted in dramatic improvements in capability and performance. He is a leader with highly developed general business acumen and skills in strategy development and commercialization, distribution, customer management, franchise management, sales and global retail. His focus segments have been CPG, food, beverage, distribution, global retailers and franchising. He has worked extensively in both domestic and international markets in Europe, South America and Asia where he forged a strong track record and developed deep knowledge, understanding and strategic relationships. Mr. Horgan is a founding partner of InterContinental Beverage Capital. Established in 2013, Intercontinental Beverage Capital (IBC) is a New York-based, global advisory and investment group focused specifically on the beverage and consumer packaged goods industries. In 2011, Horgan launched Brand Aspirations with his wife Cathy. It is a consulting and investment company specializing in nurturing and developing emerging CPG, Food and Beverage companies. Brand Aspirations works with a broad range of companies and brands to compress the business cycle and deliver accelerated results. He has worked with the largest bottling and distribution companies in the world and launched ground breaking businesses and organizations in his time with The Coca-Cola Company. His legacy includes creating the foundation and models for still active businesses with Walmart, Global Retailers and TCCC hydration businesses. He also developed a world class organization as Coors Brewing Company’s CCO. Early in his career, Mr. Horgan worked for the Atlantic Richfield Company in marketing and franchise management and was a labor negotiator with United Technologies. He serves on the board of directors for The Career Platform and TQ Logistics. Stephen graduated from the State University of New York at Oneonta with bachelors degrees in Business and Economics. He received his MBA in Business Management and Finance from the University of Connecticut School of Business. He was born in South Boston, MA. and grew up in Schenectady, NY. Mr. Horgan is active in community service, and served on the advisory board of Children’s Miracle Network as well as numerous other industry advisory committees. He is a sports enthusiast, and enjoys history and travel. He is a current member of the University of Connecticut and University of New York alumni associations. He is married to Catherine B. Horgan of Marengo, Iowa, and has four children. Mr. Horgan resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his family.
Managing Partner, Intercontinental Beverage Capital
Doug is a managing partner at Intercontinental Beverage Capital (IBC), a New York-based global advisory and investment firm focused on the beverage and consumer packaged goods industries in the $500-100million range, with unique functional beverage products, services, and proprietary game-changing technologies. Most of his expertise has been focused in the areas of brand strategy, development and design, packaging, positioning, consumer insights and the shopper exerience, new product launch initiatives, social and digital marketing, client engagement, as well as those busineses needing access and a path to investment capital. Prior to IBC, Doug was a senior executive and Global Brand Marketing, Business Development, and Emerging Brands professional from The Coca-Cola Company and Miller Coors, as well as his involvement in several early stage businesses since 2011. For over 20 years, he has focused on driving business strategy and performance, revenue growth, profitability, and building value based relationships in large multi-national companies with iconic global brands, complex international business systems, and annual sales of $4-30B worldwide. He is extremely comfortable and effecive working across diverse international cultures throughout the world. World Regions include: ASEAN/SE Asia, mainland China/Hong Kong, APAC (Japan, South Korea, Australia), South Pacific/Hawaiian Islands, Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, UK), Mexico, and North America. Channel expertise: Convenience Retail, Grocery, Retail Mass, Club/Warehouse, Drug, On-Premise (Bars, Clubs, Alcohol/Adult Beverages), Casino/Hotel, Sports Venues, Traditional/Modern Trade, and more recently Dispensaries for the sale and distribution of recreational Cannabis and CBD. Prior to his Coca-Cola journey, Doug worked 10 years for Miller Brewing (MillerCoors) where he held several key positions involving Brand/Lifestyle Marketing, Strategic Planning, Live Music, Events and Entertainment, Sports Sponsorships, and Celebrity Talent Mgt. working with many of the most popular campaigns of the era involving Miller’s portfolio of brands (Lite Beer from Miller, Miller Genuine Draft, Miller High Life, Leinenkugel, and many others.) As a part of a personal mission, Doug has also been involved in The Cambodian Children’s Fund in Phnom Penh, Cambodia an organization dedicated to the transformation of impoverished children into tomorrow’s leaders through education, free medical and health care, family support, and community development programs. He is based in Atlanta, GA USA.
VP, Marketing, Symrise
Director of Sales, North America, Finlays
VP, Consumer Insights, BDS Analytics, Inc.
Prior to joining BDS Analytics, Jessica Lukas spent 10 years working with top global CPG and Beverage Alcohol companies at BASES (Nielsen Innovation) and on the shopper marketing team at Dr Pepper Snapple Group. After taking a short break to develop and launch an app with a business partner, Jessica returned to data analytics—but this time for cannabis. At BDS Analytics, she is the VP of Consumer Insights. BDS Analytics is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, and is the leader in data, market research, analytics, and consumer insights for the cannabis industry. She helps clients understand the evolution of the cannabis market and consumer in order to assess the opportunities and threats that drive strategic decisions. Given her many years spent working within beverages (alcohol and non), the interaction, overlap, substitutability, pairing of cannabis with beverages is a particular focus.
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.
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.
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.
VP of Field Operations, L.A. Libations
Born in Los Angeles, California, Robert Macias was raised in the San Fernando Valley. Robert attended San Fernando Valley College. Soon afterwards, Robert started working at Pickwick Records where he held positions of warehouse supervisor, to sales representative. Robert was instrumental in persuading the Pickwick buyers from a mainstream purchasing pattern to the new the exploding new wave and punk rock scene. Robert was recognized for his bold and visionary views. In 1984, Robert started working for Coca-Cola. Hired as a merchandiser, Robert was quickly moved to sales and held positions throughout the Los Angeles basin. Robert was promoted to District Sales Manager in 1990. In 1996 Robert was appointed to Sales Manager at Los Angeles Sales Center with the objective to build the same culture that he achieved while a District Manager in Sylmar. Robert reengineered the entire sales system and changed the face of sales center. Robert introduced the "Men in Black" reset team. The "Men in Black" were identified as the best of the best merchandisers, but lacked either the desired formal education, training and leadership. With the help of District Managers, Robert developed a weekly training program revolved around communication, business math, volume trends and the ability to rise above. The Men in Black worked closely with the Sales Team, and were assigned key areas in Los Angeles. The objective was to dominate the trade with selected best selling brands, and introducing new beverages. In 1999 Robert was promoted to Branch Manager, Downey Production Center, Downey, California. From 1999 to 2005, Robert managed the Downey, City of Industry, Ventura/Bishop, Sylmar/Lancaster and the Los Angeles Sales Center. It was in Los Angeles, as the Sales Center Manager, where Robert developed many visionary platforms. Robert was the only Sales Center Manager appointed to the company's Atlanta Based Diversity and Inclusion Council. Robert was instrumental in creating Blue Demon energy drink and through area focused taste tests, recommended to the brand team, switching the Coke Zero package from a white package to a black package. Robert also recommended the target audience by reviewing data, and using "no sugar" as the tagline. The sampling platform was Classic Coke, Diet Coke and Coke Zero. In 2016 Robert joined LA Libations as Brand Manager for Arriba Horchata. Robert introduced Arriba to Vallarta Markets, all three SKU's and in over 33 outlets. Since January, 2017 Robert now manages the LAL Field Team as the VP of Field Operations. Robert quickly introduced Repsly, which tracks guidance and results. Robert teaches his team productivity data, and to treat each business with the same tactics Robert learned from his experiences and methods he learned in his 32 years at Coca-Cola. They have successfully developed key areas in the Southern California area. Robert and his team have lead and participated in numerous meetings sharing "the secret sauce", and in trade visits showing others how to win the marketplace. Robert is an active cyclist, kayak fisherman and music fan, Robert lives in Santa Clarita with his wife of 23 years and their son Neil and beautiful daughter Susha. Robert's has two older sons, Rawley who owns Rouleur Brewery in Carlsbad, and Drew who is a Key Account Manager for Stone Brewing, Southern 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.
VP of Marketing & Innovation, VEB Coca-Cola
Vice President, Emerging Brands Incubation, VEB Coca-Cola
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.
SVP of Marketing, Communications, and Culinary Operations, The Compass Group
Alicia LeBeouf is the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Culinary Operations for Canteen, a sector of Compass Group North America which accounts for over $4B in managed volume and the largest footprint of automated unattended merchandising (vending), markets, and coffee solutions through corporate and franchise locations in the United States. In this role, Alicia is primarily responsible for supporting the brand’s transition from traditional vending to a consumer-driven unattended retail platform and facilitating its efforts to curate unique breakroom programs for corporations, entertainment venues and other public spaces. Alicia also oversees Canteen’s “grab-and-go” food portfolio and partnerships with food delivery service platforms. Prior to this role, Alicia held several roles at Target Corporation (Minneapolis, MN), the most recent of which she was the Senior Director of Store Operations, where she led strategy and operational development efforts for store openings, closings, in-store innovation and the creation of small store formats (Target Express). During her tenure at Target, Alicia also held roles focusing on consumer engagement initiatives, innovation, public-private partnerships and the transition of Target’s pharmacy portfolio to CVS. Alicia holds B.A. and M.A degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Economics and Public Administration, respectively. She enjoys spending time with her husband and trying to keep up with her 2 year old son MJ and 6 month old daughter Sydney. When she has spare time, Alicia can be found in the gym, reading a good book or honing her culinary skills in the kitchen.
Client Strategist, Force Brands
Client Strategist, Force Brands
NEW BEVERAGE SHOWDOWN 16: 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.
BEVERAGE SCHOOL: LEARN THE ROPES OF THE INDUSTRY
Beverage 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 Winter 2018 attendees. Young beverage brands get up to speed, identify keys for growth and initiate critical conversations.