New Beverage Showdown 20: Meet the Contestants and Judges

Next week BevNET’s New Beverage Showdown 20, the leading business pitch competition for the beverage industry, will feature the founders of the hottest new beverage brands, all competing virtually.

The New Beverage Showdown will kick off with the semifinal round on Tuesday, November 17th 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 botanicals, mushrooms, adaptogens, CBD and probiotics.

The competition will be available via a free livestream on and BevNET’s social platforms, reaching thousands of food industry retailers, investors, suppliers, service providers and fellow brands watching online from home.

The semi finalists have been chosen, as well as the expert judges, who will be providing feedback and ultimately choosing the winner. So let’s meet the players:

Semifinal Contestants:


Aura Bora



Sweet Crude


Omni Bev


Kaylee’s Culture

Rviita Energy Tea



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
  • Matt Hughes, VP Emerging Brands Incubation & Commercialization, Venturing & Emerging Brands
  • Jody Levy, Co-Founder, WTRMLN WTR
  • Richard Medina, Co-Founder/CEO, Los Angeles Distributing Company

The final round will feature an extended five minute pitch and take place on November 19th 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
  • Bill Ford, Group Director for Venturing and Portfolio Management, Venturing & Emerging Brands
  • Kerrie Lopez, Senior Director / Head of Merchandising Marketing, Thrive Market
  • Bryan Bulte, Managing Partner, LivWell Ventures

The winner will be chosen by the final round of judges and announced at 5:05 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.

Set a reminder to watch New Beverage Showdown 20 >>

Details on the competition format and selection process can be found on the event website. Questions about the New Beverage Showdown can be directed to our Brand Specialist team.