Publisher’s Toast: Springing Forward into Fall

I returned to work today, after the Labor Day holiday weekend. It was a beautiful sunshiny day, with a nip of fall in the early morning air. I must admit I’m glad that summer is over, as it is my least favorite season, too hot and sticky. Still, I’ve learned to love it too. My 28 years in the industry has made me acutely aware of the importance of this season. Summer is the time that all my beverage friends and their brands make or break their years. If you didn’t have a stellar summer, you really can’t make it up in the fall to achieve your goals. So, I hope everyone enjoyed success this go around.

Fall is a great time to assess what has happened in the marketplace. This has been a busy time on many fronts. First, the pace of launches has gone unabated. CBD has garnered the lion’s share of coverage, leading the charge of new brands crossing our desks. The jury (and the government) is still out on the efficacy of CBD. It is still too soon to assess the impact it will have on our society. Anecdotally, the reviews/results are all over the place. There are so many claims that really have no foundation. It’s hard to measure if it is the panacea it alleges to be. I really hope that CBD lives up to the hype. If the benefits are true, then we’re in for functional products that can change the way we live.

Another hot topic is the changes in route to market. Distribution is at a crossroads. As the big guys acquire or take on brands for their trucks, it has forced the independents to be nimble and adaptable. Whereas previously, there would be an anchor brand or two in the houses, now they have to aggregate a collection of smaller brands to make up for the major brands they’ve lost. It is a fine dance, but I’m seeing that these distributors are up for the task. That pleases me greatly. They have been the backbone of the industry and deserve nothing less.

A third front is all about the investors. My conversations with marketers center on seeking funds to fuel growth. Every day, on our BevNET site, we post stories about these raises. It has been a good year for so many brands, as the money people, who too often talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk, are now stepping up for many brands. The thresholds for putting funds in has been lowered to allow many small brands to partake in the game. That’s also a good thing. I’ve seen so many deserving brands die for lack of investors having the guts to support them. I’m glad the money is coming in.

Enjoy the fall, it’s my favorite season.