BevNET Live: Runa Founders Will Discuss Bringing the Exotic to the Mainstream

BevNET is pleased to announce that Tyler Gage and Dan MacCombie, the founders of Runa, will be speaking at BevNET Live in June in New York City. The event will be held on June 4 and 5 at the Metropolitan Pavilion.

The pair, whose brand is derived from guayusa, an Amazonian “Super Leaf” that provides stimulant and antioxidant properties when made into a drink, will speak on the specific challenges that have to be overcome when establishing a brand based on a new ingredient — as well as the current status of their attempts to take Runa into the mainstream.

Guayusa has compelling, marketable advantages as an ingredient, offering “clean energy” and a smooth taste. But the owners of Runa nevertheless started off facing issues in differentiating the product from others in the crowded tea category, as well as the need to establish a supply chain via a unique relationship with a foreign government in Ecuador.

This look at how its founders have approached these and other tasks that have accompanied this brand’s growth will speak to the consumer and industry education needs that many new beverage companies face as they all attempt to carve out new categories.

About Dan MacCombie and Tyler Gage

A native of the Cleveland area, Mr. MacCombie studied conservation and marine biology at Brown University. After a life-changing three-month trip to Latin America, where he connected with the rich cultures and landscapes and ultimately dedicated himself to supporting forests and the need to preserve and enhance the livelihoods of those who lived there, he and Mr. Gage started Runa, a company whose commitment to the indigenous farmer and their forests aligns with Dan’s devotion to sustainability and cultural conservation.

Mr. Tyler, who grew up in El Cerrito, Calif., studied linguistics in the Amazon as a student at Brown University, and developed a passion for indigenous cultures and conservation. After discovering and enjoying guayusa on a trip to Peru, he turned down a Fulbright grant in order to start Runa. He loves sharing the secrets of the Amazon through innovative products.

For their work with Runa, the pair were recently named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list in the January, 2013 issue. They live in Brooklyn. 

About BevNET Live

BevNET Live is a two-day forum for beverage entrepreneurs, suppliers, distributors, retailers and investors to gather, speak, exchange ideas through interactive panels and lectures, and enhance their marketing and product development strategies. Attendees can tap the expertise of investment professionals who can help groom them to attract money, business owners with inspiring success stories, and the community, which has spent a decade dedicating itself to careful reporting on the fast-moving beverage industry. More than just a conference, BevNET LIVE includes networking options including the BevNET LIVE Expo, beverage breaks, a cocktail reception and more.