I want to talk about BevNET Live. We just completed yet another event, this time with over 850 people in attendance. It was staggering. What started as an idea a little more than a decade ago has morphed into the most powerful assembly of beverage people each year. When we launched our event series, 250 attendees was our goal. It felt like a lofty one at the time, but we skyrocketed past that after our first year. Apparently, we struck a nerve with our intent, which has always been to bring together the minds of the innovators, entrepreneurs and gatekeepers in our community for a non-hierarchical series of conversations, presentations, and networking.
The reason for the success, while giving kudos to the entire BevNET team for executing the conference, isn’t us, however: it’s the vibrant assemblage of marketers, suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, investors and retailers who work so hard in the beverage space. Over the course of what is now 29 years of chronicling the beverage arena, I have never ceased to be amazed at the creativity and passion that come from so many brand launches. I probably have seen well over 20,000 brands take their shot at success. More than 80% of the brands we see won’t last more than five years, yet they just keep on coming. I admire everyone involved in the process who takes this leap of faith, giving special considerations to those gatekeepers who help a brand see the light of day.
I’m so proud of the role I play as part of the conduit for introducing these products. We give counsel, support, and a shoulder to cry on, when necessary. I always wish for the best for everyone, sadly knowing that most don’t stand a chance. I have often advised against people launching. I hate to see savings depleted, money from family and friends going into a project that doesn’t stand a chance. Financial investors are a different breed, as with them it’s a numbers game in which the investments that pay off offset the brands they invest in that fail. It’s all part of the process.
I still take joy in meeting all of these visionaries, young and old. They are the life blood of the industry. Their energy is contagious. They keep me young. As with our own events, I hope they all soar.