New Beverage Showdown 19: Meet the Contestants and Judges!

Next week BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 19, the leading business pitch competition for the beverage industry, will feature the founders of the hottest new beverage brands, all competing virtually. The semifinalists have been chosen, as well as the expert judges who will be narrowing the field, providing feedback, and choosing the winner. Let’s meet the players.

The New Beverage Showdown will kick off with the semifinal round of pitches on Tuesday, June 9th from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. EST. Presented by Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB), an operating unit of the Coca-Cola Co., the competition features 12 startup beverage companies, all making products that feature trending functional ingredients such as adaptogens, botanicals, CBD, baobab and asian flavors.

Semifinal Contestants:



Drink Miura Ltd.


Special Leaf Tea

Recoup Beverage


Benni Beverages, LLC



Dewdrop, Inc.

Angry Seltzer

The 12 semifinalists will present their two minute pitches to four industry veterans, who will respond to both pitch and product — which they will have sampled prior to the competition. The semifinal judges will deliberate and choose six brands to present in the final round, taking into consideration the audience vote winner.

Semifinal Judges:

  • Mike Schneider, CMO, BevNET
  • Crystal Bennett, Partner, Little Big Brands
  • Patrick Schwarzenegger, Startup Investor & Advisor
  • Eric Kacker, Director – Competitive and Marketplace Intelligence, The Coca-Cola Co.

The final round will feature an extended five minute pitch and take place on June 11th from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. EST. A second group of respected industry gatekeepers will also provide their takes on the brands and the overarching marketplace during a live Q&A session with the finalists.

Final Judges:

  • John Craven, CEO, BevNET
  • Surbhi Lal, Senior Manager – Venturing Strategy, Venturing & Emerging Brands
  • Chuck Casano, Founder/CEO, HiTouch Distribution
  • Jamie Danek, Co-Founder/CEO, Humm Kombucha

The winner will be chosen by the final round of judges and announced at 5:30 p.m. ET. Following the announcement, the winning brand founder will join the competition host, Ray Latif, the Editor and Producer of Taste Radio, for a live interview.

The competition will be livestreamed on and BevNET’s social platforms, reaching thousands of beverage industry retailers, investors, suppliers, service providers and fellow brands watching online from home. It will also feature audience voting during the semifinal round.

Set a reminder to watch New Beverage Showdown 19 >>

About BevNET is the leading media property dedicated to the non-alcoholic beverage industry. Founded in 1996, BevNET provides comprehensive, cross-channel, up-to-the-minute information about the beverage industry and reviews of non-alcoholic beverages. BevNET attracts brands, suppliers, ingredients providers, service providers, retailers, and distributors.