Yesterday, in the 11th installment of BevNET Live’s New Beverage Showdown, high pressure processed (HPP) organic ginger shot Monfefo punched well above its 1.7 oz. weight class to take home the title of winner, along with $10,000 in cash and prizes.
“Unique”, “Focused”, and “Hot (both literally and figuratively)”, were just a few of the words the New Beverage Showdown judges used to describe the Brooklyn-based brand’s flagship ginger shot, a powerful blend of cold-pressed ginger juice, lemon juice and honey, all organic.
A day before, Monfefo founder Justine Monsul’s two-minute elevator pitch had been cut off by the sound of the BevNET Live gong, but it was apparent her product had already made quite an impression on the semi-final round judges.
“I woke up immediately,” said Paula Grant, founder and CEO of Flood Creative. “It’s awesome.”
“Consuming this product is very memorable,” added BevNET’s John Craven. “You won’t forget it.”
In Wednesday’s final round, Scott Uzell, president of the Coca-Cola Company’s Venturing & Emerging Brands division, applauded “the thought leadership that went into the product,” while ZICO founder and PowerPlant Ventures co-founder Mark Rampolla claimed to be enjoying “the little rush to the head” the product provided.
The judges also took a liking to New Beverage Showdown runner-up WellWell, a recently launched HPP juice positioned as a workout recovery beverage. Like Monfefo, the product features a simple, three-ingredient blend of watermelon, tart cherry and biodynamic lemon, albeit one that was quite a bit smoother on the way down. Despite some concerns regarding its sugar content and the ability to communicate the benefits of tart cherry, all judges were impressed by WellWell’s packaging and flavor profile.
“The flavor’s refreshing, the benefits are clear, I think it’s interesting,” said Bill Weiland, president and CEO of Presence Marketing.
The other four brands from Wednesday’s final round included Salud Refresco, a natural take on Mexican soda brand Jarritos, Tickle Water, a sparkling water brand aimed at kids, relaxation beverage NOA, and Vive Organic, a three-SKU line of organic wellness shots.
“All six of these brands showed deep thinking around brand proposition, solving consumer problems and unique packaging,” Uzell noted.
In addition to the final six, Tuesday’s semifinal round featured nine other interesting upstarts, including three different takes on lemonade: stevia-sweetened kids line Leaf and Love, maple syrup-sweetened organic line 4Pure, and HPP brand Sweet’tauk Lemonade, which returned to the stage a year after participating in New Beverage Showdown 9 and having recently completed a label refresh. Other semifinalists utilizing HPP included Boston-based coconut water and cold brew coffee brand Loco Coco and Sri Lankan coconut water Sweet Origins.
The New Beverage Showdown had tea offerings aimed at both adults and children, with LOFT, a Brooklyn-based brand of hemp-infused teas making its debut, and Bossi, a caffeine-free tea for kids made from the rooibos bush.
But in the end, all it took to win was a single shot.
Stayed tuned to BevNET.com for more coverage from BevNET Live Summer 2016.