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 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.
If you're already registered to attend BevNET Live, Beverage School registration is included.
Beverage School Speakers
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.
Business Development Manager, Omni ePartners
Christina has over 10 years of experience in retail, digital advertising, marketing, and operations. With her diverse background, she can scope businesses from a full 360 and identify solution-based recommendations. She has over 8 years specifically at Amazon where she became an expert in navigating several different areas of both the seller and vendor ecosystems driving significant growth and sustainability. Outside of work, Christina enjoys traveling the world and learning about new cultures, scuba diving and enjoying the delights of PNW including hiking, rock climbing, and any water-related activity.
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.
Partner; Co-Chair Food and Beverage Group, 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.
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.
Chief Customer Officer, L.A. Libations
Wade Duke is a high-performing, enterprising sales leader and general manger with broad-based business expertise. Wade has over 30 years of CPG experience that spans national key accounts, strategic business development, leading people, P&L responsibility, channel development, and organizational design. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in Communications, Wade started his career in CPG sales with General Foods. After successful assignments in sales Wade became a District Manager with General Foods in Cincinnati. This started Wade’s career in people leadership and development. After 5 years with General Foods Wade joined Frito Lay in Dallas and worked through a variety of roles with Frito Lay. In 1988 Wade joined Brown Moore and Flint a Dallas based Food Brokerage and became an equity partner in that firm. Wade was Vice President and General Manager of the Dry Grocery Department. Wade helped build the Dallas based Food Brokerage company to become one of the largest food brokers in Dallas. In 1998 Acosta acquired the business. In May of 1998 Wade joined Coca-Cola Enterprises as Vice President of Sales in the San Antonio, Tx Division. After 3 years as VP of Sales Wade was named Vice President and General Manager of CCE’s Mid-South Division where Wade was responsible for all sales and operations. During the time with CCE Wade was also named Vice President of Sales for the North East Region and then Vice President of Sales for the Club, Drug, Mass and Value Channel. In 2008 Wade became President and General Manager of the Kroger Beverage Team. Wade was responsible for all sales throughout the Coca-Cola system. Kroger is Coca-Cola’s largest volume supermarket chain producing over $1 billion in sales revenue and over 180 million eq. cases nationally. As President of this team Wade lead the development of the go to market strategy, drove the business planning process, owned the customer relationships at the most senior level, lead cross functional initiatives, and developed people talent. In 2014 Wade moved to Destin with his wife Debbie. Wade enjoys golf, fishing and traveling. Wade has three sons and a grandson.
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.
When: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM on Sunday, December 8th
Where: Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, 5th floor, Palisades Room
Registration: Registration is free for BevNET Live attendees and can be accessed through the attendee portal. Seating is limited to 120 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.