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 Winter 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
Managing Director, McLean Design
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/CEO, Mamma Chia
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.
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.
Chief Strategy Officer, MetaBrand
Debbie Wildrick – Chief Strategy Officer, MetaBrand is a sales, marketing, and operations executive and channel strategy specialist in the consumer packaged goods industry with 30+ years’ experience. She has had leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies including 7-Eleven, Inc. and Tropicana North America (Pepsico). In addition, her experience includes a strong background in building start-up brands including her own consulting business, the CEO of BAZI®, Inc. a public company, FRS Healthy Energy and Sundance Juice Sparklers, a brand which she helped grow to 100 million dollars in the early 1990s. She has also worked with leading companies in the industry to include both retailers, distributors, and manufacturers. They include The McLane Company, Wal-mart, Whole Foods, Target, GNC, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Safeway, Coca-Cola, Nestle Waters and many others. Wildrick has served as an Executive Committee Chair of the Network of Executive Women for ten years. She is also a regular panelist, speaker and columnist. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas and the Cornell Food Executive Program.
Managing Partner, Cascadia Managing Brands
Bill Sipper is Managing Partner at Cascadia Managing Brands and is one of the food and beverage industry's bright stars, having held senior-level positions at several of the top beverage marketers in the world. His market reach and depth of knowledge of the food and beverage industry includes North America, Asia, Europe as well as Central and South America. Sipper's track record for helping develop rising brands is unparalleled and will be key to any brand's development and deployment. Sipper was Chief Operating Officer of New Leaf Brands before rejoining Cascadia Managing Brands, a company he co-founded in 2003, a recognized consumer packaged goods consulting firm with deep expertise across all key areas of the food and beverage business including planning, sales, marketing, training, finance, operations, logistics, and general management. Before establishing Cascadia, Sipper was Senior Vice President of Marketing at the Ultimate Juice Co. which owned brands such as Naked Juice, Zeigler's Apple Cider, Fantasia, Hansens Smoothies, and Saratoga Mineral Water; President of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Tear of the Clouds; Director of National Sales at Nantucket Nectars; Vice President of Sales, Marketing, Distribution and Operations at Fresh Samantha. Fresh Samantha and Odwalla merged during Mr. Sipper’s tenure and both companies were sold to the Coca Cola Company in 2001; Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Chatham Beverage Company (Clearly Canadian, Old Tyme Soda, and New Amsterdam Beer.. Sipper began his career at Evian Natural Spring Water and helped pioneer Evian to its height in the United States, which in turn helped establish the premium bottled water category in America.
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.
Director, Contract Manufacturing, Nor-Cal Beverage Company
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.
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.
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.
When: 11:30 AM - 5:00 PM on Sunday, December 8th
Where: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, room TBD
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.