Founders of Celsius, Reed’s Battle the Big Boys

BevNET Live has added a pair of beverage marketers whose longevity and status prove that a brand doesn’t have to come off a Coke or Pepsi truck to successfully move product.

By adding Chris Reed and Steve Haley to its roster of panelists, BevNET Live will benefit from the wisdom and experience of two scrappy entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid to back down from a challenge, no matter how big the opponent.

Reed, the CEO of Reed’s Ginger Beer, has been a stalwart in the natural foods channel for decades. He’s known for his nimble approach to financing – garnering national publicity for conducting his company’s Initial Public Offering via a series of labels on his products rather than through traditional financial channels – and his award-winning all-natural CSD flavors, including Virgil’s Root Beer and his own signature ginger beer. Recently, Reed’s has begun to significantly increase its sales by focusing on the supermarket channel, a trend that flies in the face of the downward turn taken by most soda brands.

Haley’s introduction of Celsius as a calorie-burning soft drink preceded – but was nevertheless quickly overshadowed by – the introduction of another calorie burner, Enviga, a tea marketed by the combined forces of the Coca-Cola Co. and Nestea. Haley and Celsius stood firm, however, and while Enviga’s claims were disputed by the scientific community, helping send the product down a path to its eventual demise, Celsius thrived and is now a fast-growing national brand.

Reed and Haley will join presenter Manoj Bhargava, the CEO of 5-Hour Energy, on a panel called “Taking on the Big Boys” – focusing on how emerging brands can evolve into highly successful product lines, even in the face of competition from the highest levels of the beverage industry.

About BevNET Live: BevNET Live is being held on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. During the full-day event, attendees will hear from and discuss the beverage industry with some of the most innovative marketers, suppliers, investors, distributors and retailers in the business. Run by BevNET.com, the leading online and print resource for non-alcoholic beverages, BevNET Live offers unmatched insight, case studies, and networking and community-building opportunities. A special Beverage School will also be held at the same location on Dec. 7 as a way for early-stage entrepreneurs to learn the beverage business from BevNET and its special team of instructors.