Restoring Faith

Let’s face it. Beverages are a tough industry. When I was younger I always heard that the restaurant business had a high failure rate. It does. Then I became a lifetime member of this crazy marketplace, and saw that restaurants have nothing on us. We always discuss the high percentage of brands that launch that eventually go down in flames. Anyone who has visited me at my office in New York has seen my wall of shame, with over 200 failed brands gathering dust. Before I moved from a larger office, I had over three times as many on the shelves, but had to decide which ones to move with me. No easy task.
Every day, our readers and followers see the good and the bad. We see large layoffs from the big guys, lawsuits between distributors, marketers and retailers, promises made but not kept. I’m often the shoulder to cry on, and that makes me sad. I wish only the best for these brave souls, but know the outcome too often. We’re in a cutthroat industry, and it’s hard to watch people you like with the knives out – or with cut throats.
Then I spent a glorious day last Friday at the Big Geyser Spring/Summer Sales Event and all was right in the world. As most know, Big Geyser is New York City’s formidable independent distributor. They are one company that does it right. I drove out with Gerry Khermouch in tow. We share a strong, longstanding friendship and have a mutual passion for beverages. The event was a love fest from the start. They bring together their vast portfolio of brands they represent. Set up like a miniature trade show, each company showed their array of brands and what is next on the horizon.
The energy was palpable, the excitement real. It was also a time for old friends, and colleagues from companies past, to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company. With the retail attendance topping all previous events numbers, the positive vibes were everywhere. There was innovation, creativity and mutual support and respect. In one room, with so many friends I’ve made over the years in a more intimate setting, I found a powerful reminder that you can achieve success and do it in positive, uplifting manner. It demonstrated why we all got into this arena.
So, whenever I get down about the state of the industry, I can re-visit, in my mind, the terrific day I spent seeing the industry function in all its glory. It makes up for the dry-cleaning bills, certainly.