New Beverage Showdown 16: Your Beverage in the Spotlight
Feel like an industry celebrity
Heavy exposure before, during, and after the conference Pitch your brand to industry movers and shakers Build the momentum needed to approach key retailers and investors Meet strategic partners with ideas to take your brand to the next level
Test your mettle against the next big brands in the market
Compete against the top new beverage brands Get asked the tough questions and see if you have the answers Receive two rounds of feedback from expert judging panels
Go next level with newfound knowledge and partners
Hear from trailblazers that have been there and know the path the success Be approached by attendees reacting to your product and pitch Hear what others are doing and fuel ideas for your own business plan
New Beverage Showdown Champions
What Past Competitors 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
Past Showdown Judges
President & GM, VEB
G. Scott Uzzell is President and General Manager, Venturing & Emerging Brands, for The Coca-Cola Company. He was appointed to this role in 2014. He is charged with leading VEB to identify and nurture the next billion-dollar brands for The Coca-Cola Company. The current VEB brand portfolio includes Honest Tea, ZICO, illy issimo, Core Power, fairlife Ultra-Filtered Milk, Suja Juice, Aloe Gloe and Hansen’s Natural Brands. Uzzell began his career at Coca-Cola in 1993 in the Minute Maid Division, where he spent nearly three years working across category development and customer teams. He left the company to pursue his MBA and then spent two years with Nabisco before returning to Coca-Cola in 1999 in the Strategy & Planning Function. Since then, Uzzell has held many leadership roles, including Vice President of the McDonald’s U.S. Division and Vice President of Business Development and Emerging Brand Incubation within VEB.
Managing Partner, First Beverage Group
Nicole joined First Beverage Group in 2014 and leads the firm's investment banking efforts. Nicole has over 15 years of investment banking and corporate development experience and has extensive background providing financial advisory services to middle market companies, including mergers and acquisition transactions, debt and equity capital raising, restructurings and valuations. Some of Nicole's recent beverage clients have included Argo Tea, GoodBelly, Carolina Beverage Group and mix1 Beverage Company. Prior to joining First Beverage, Nicole was a Managing Director in the consumer investment banking group at Imperial Capital, where she led Imperial's efforts in the beverage, food and restaurant sectors. Nicole also worked in the investment banking divisions of Bank of America and Citigroup. Nicole also spent time managing the corporate development activities for Cooking.com, an online retailer of cooking-related products and a trusted source of online culinary content. Nicole received her B.A. in Economics and an M.B.A. from UCLA, where she competed in cross-country and track and field. Nicole also holds a graduate diploma in Economics from the London School of Economics. Nicole grew up in Southern California and currently lives in Manhattan Beach with her husband and two boys.
Founder, The Tim Sperry Group
im Sperry is a founder and principal at The Tim Sperry Group, a consulting firm that provides advice in connection with new product development and market Introductions. The firm also provides consulting advice for market reviews and opportunity development for Private Equity firms, and category reviews and sales strategies for a number of leading food product companies. Mr. Sperry launched The Tim Sperry Group in 2006 following a twenty year career at Whole Foods Market. During his tenure with Whole Foods Market, Mr. Sperry led the Grocery Team in one of the largest regions of the company and he participated in the expansion of Whole Foods into Washington, D.C., New York City and London. Mr. Sperry was also a key participant in the development of National Purchasing at Whole Foods.
Grocery Merchandising Coordinator, CSD, Kroger
In 2000, Andrea began her career with Kroger in Raleigh, NC, as a Management trainee. A couple of years later, she was promoted to Store Manger where she went on to manage several stores in the Raleigh area. In 2007, Andrea joined the Human Resources Team as the Division Recruiter for Management. Andrea recruited for Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic division until she was promoted to the Benefits and Administration manager. After working in this position for several years, Andrea had the opportunity to work in the Produce Department as a Sales Plan Manager. Then, in early 2012, Andrea was able to gain further knowledge of the operational side of the business when she was promoted to District Operations Coordinator. Andrea accepted a position as the District Manager in Little Rock, Arkansas in 2012. In 2016, Andrea joined the General Office team as a Division Promotional Coordinator. While working as a DPC, she worked very closely with the Louisville and King Soopers divisions. She was named to her current role in 2016.
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.
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.
Director of Business Ventures, Albertsons
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.
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.
Founder/CEO, Flood Creative
Founder, CEO of Flood Creative, an award winning branding agency Located in Irvington, NY. Paula's story and Flood's story are one in the same. After designing for more traditional agencies in London and New York in her early career, Paula was given the amazing opportunity to help build a brand from scratch as a co-founder and investor. She left her design job and co-founded a beverage company in 2001. After 5 years of hard work and lots of lessons in brand building, the brands, Fuze and NOS energy sold to Coca-Cola. The experience changed her view of what design can accomplish and more importantly, gave her an empathy and insight for marketing that no other agency role could provide. Flood has grown a lot over the years and the team continues to use the fundamental learnings from this experience to effect both new and established brands. In addition to the continued effort of innovating and building brands...most recently, BodyArmor Sports Drink and Core Hydration, Paula enjoys sharing her expertise by speaking and contributing to the branding community. She is also on the executive board of AIGA Brand Central and visits Parson's and other campuses in NY to share her insights.
Managing Director, Alliance Consumer Growth Fund
As a co-founder and managing partner of ACG, Trevor enjoys providing a unique level of partnership and capital to entrepreneurs with consumer businesses poised for compelling growth. He has years of experience investing in the consumer industry and executing a variety of financial transactions. Trevor currently serves on the board of Ripple Brand Collective, maker of barkTHINS Snacking Chocolate. He previously served on the board of Phil's Fresh Foods, maker of EVOL-branded frozen food products, which was acquired by Boulder Brands.
Former Senior Category Manager, Whole Foods Market
Matt Jimenez is the former Senior Category Leader for Whole Foods Market's global grocery team. In his combined 12 years with the company, he held senior leadership positions in category management and retail merchandising on both the national and regional scale. Matt has also held leadership positions in product development, trade management and team building for both small and large portfolio brands. In his current role, Matt leads Whole Foods Market’s dairy and beverage businesses and supports the purchasing evolution for the non-perishables product teams. He's passionate about discovering and preparing brands for market, and in his spare time donates his industry expertise to advising emerging food companies. During his tenure at Whole Foods, Matt has launched a multitude of exclusive product lines within center store. In addition to product development, he has also worked with industry leaders to define standards for domestic fair trade ingredients, compostable packaging initiatives, sustainable palm oil sourcing and grass fed dairy inputs. As a 2016 Global Support All Star award recipient from Whole Foods Market, Matt was recognized as being a foundational leader for the company.
Senior Manager, Category Management - Fresh, Jet.com
Kerrie Lopez is a category lead for Jet.com's fresh business, focused on dairy, beverage, and cross-category initiatives such as managing the artisanal and local food assortment. She has also been part of the original team bringing Jet's first private brands to market. Prior to joining Jet (which was acquired by Walmart in September 2016) Kerrie managed the makeup and private brand categories at Birchbox, strategically sourcing samples for the monthly beauty subscription box as well as full-size product for the rapidly growing e-commerce site. Kerrie lives in New York City with her husband and their dog, Maisie.
COO & Co-Founder, Foodstirs
Greg has created and grown some of the world's largest and most successful brands during his 20- year career - launching 1,500+ items across 17 food and beverage categories into 12 countries - focusing primarily on the “green space.” A seasoned veteran with deep knowledge of the natural & organic products industry, Fleishman plays an integral role as COO and co-founder of Foodstirs Modern Baking where he oversees corporate strategy, sales, marketing and operations. Prior to joining Foodstirs, Fleishman co-founded Modern Alkeme Japanese Supertonics along with Real Housewife of NYC, Jules Wainstein and industry leader Larry Praeger. He currently serves as Co-founder of Purely Righteous Brands (PRB), a boutique advisory firm dedicated to fostering the growth of green space companies some of whom include Bonafide Provisions, Once Upon a Farm, Hail Merry, REBBL, Chameleon Cold-Brew, and GT’s Kombucha. Under PRB, Fleishman has served as chief marketing & strategy officer for Suja, the #1 cold-pressured fresh juice brand in the US where he led business strategy, marketing, innovation, and retail customer development. Prior to that, he served as chief marketing officer at Sambazon, the maker of fresh amazon superfood-based beverages. As CMO, Fleishman led marketing, strategy, innovation and business development for Coca-Cola's FUZE & Energy portfolio. He also worked for more than 14 years as an executive marketer at Kashi/Bear Naked and Kelloggs. In 2016, Fleishman was named to Forbes List of Top Consumer Catalysts. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Demeter Biodynamic, Nuun, Modern Alkeme, 4 th & Heart, and Foodstirs.
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.