Beverage Incubators Heat Up BevNET Live

Beverage investment no longer comes from big companies or elite venture capital funds. In recent years, beverage entrepreneurs have found an increasingly varied set of “Beverage Incubators” – groups that straddle the roles of consultant, investor and broker while connecting brands with creative help and distribution advice.

From launching their own proprietary brands to helping provide regional brands with the financial wherewithal to reach the next level, these entities mix capital and experience with an array of strategic philosophies, and they have become a viable short- and medium-term option for many companies.

Rather than selling their services, incubators are investors and keen-eyed evaluators of brand potential – and as such, they have valuable insights into the trials that growing brands will face when seeking investment and deploying their resources.

During this December’s BevNET  Live in Santa Monica, a panel of those incubators, including Shadow Beverages, GBS Growth Partners, and L.A. Libations, each of which has made significant recent investments and partnerships with beverage companies ranging from PepsiCo to GNC, BYB Brands, Aloe Glo, Zico, and others, will discuss the characteristics of entrepreneurial brands that can distinguish them from their competitors. Additionally, the panel will offer attendees the chance to understand the different approaches to incubation each group undertakes.

The three groups on the panel include expertise and experience across the beverage world, from marketing and sales to distribution and supply chain experience, as well as the financial power to put the muscle behind the philosophy. BevNET Live attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the potential role of an incubator in their plans as part of the event in Santa Monica, Calif. on Dec. 5 and 6.

Panelists will include George Martinez, President of Shadow Beverages and Snacks, Dino Sarti. a Partner at L.A. Libations, and Jack Brennan, Managing Partner, GBS Growth Partners.

About BevNET Live

BevNET Live will return to the Loew’s Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica on Dec. 5 and 6, 2011. Over the course of the two-day event, BevNET Live provides presentations from leading beverage executives, in-depth breakout sessions, a “mini-expo” of supplier and beverage exhibits, and ample networking time. The conference is attended by entrepreneurs, suppliers, distributors, retailers, investors and others who are interested in the cutting edge of the beverage business.

About Dino Sarti/L.A. Libations:

A beverage professional with over 15 years experience serving in leadership roles in both operations and customer management.  Dino began his career at the Coca-Cola Co., Inc. where he led sales teams in sales, distribution and market development.  Dino then managed significant grocery customers for the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, developing product portfolios across all routes to market. Prior to L.A. Libations, Dino led the national sales team for Icelandic Glacial/Anheuser-Busch water calling on all customers across the U.S. working with both on and off premise formats. Currently managing director at L.A. Libations, a beverage incubator for clients like The Coca-Cola Company and Anheuser-Busch, among others, Dino is a graduate of the University of Southern California and achieved a MBA from Pepperdine University.

About George Martinez/Shadow Beverage & Snacks:

George’s 24 years of beverage experience includes 22 years with the Pepsi-Cola system holding numerous leadership positions in various functions, including Selling and Delivery, General Management and Sales Management.  He is recognized as being high-energy, hands on, and results driven.  In 2006, George leveraged his years of beverage experience and personal drive to Co-found Shadow Beverage and Snacks. The vision and results of Shadow Beverages and Snacks is a direct result of George’s drive and his passion for business results.  Shadow currently employs 32 beverages experts and is selling product to over 50 non-alcoholic beverage distributors.  The business model is based on listening to consumers, building functional brands, breaking the traditional go-to-market mold, and collaborative problem solving. George received his BS in Business Management from the University of Phoenix and his AS from the Northern College of Wyoming.

About Jack Brennan/GBS Growth Partners:

Jack Brennan is a diverse global executive with over 30 years in the consumer products industry. He began his career with The Coca Cola Company in a variety of sales and marketing positions across the U.S.  He also managed the Florida Division for Coca Cola Enterprises, and founded, financed and managed Taiwan Amalgamated Beverages on behalf of The Coca Cola Company. Brennan has built companies large and small, from international divisions for companies like G. Heileman Brewing Co. and Pulte Corp. to teeny tea, Inc. (teany). In 2009,he joined with long-time Coca-Cola Co. friends John Blackington and Gordon Hill at GBS Growth Partners, LLC as a Managing Partner. GBS, an advisory firm with a passion for assisting early- and mid-stage beverage companies, is most closely associated with their work for BYB Brands, a wholly owned subsidiary of Consolidated Coca Cola Bottling Company. GBS was chosen by CCBCC several years ago to develop a comprehensive strategy and plan to create value for the company … as a brand owner.  Today, BYB Brands is one of the fastest growth companies in the industry.  GBS has recently formed two key partnerships with Global Business Funding Group (GBFG), a group of successful Wall Street executives, entrepreneurs and investors to provide financing and management expertise to early and mid stage consumer products companies and Brand Action Team – highly recognized global experts in social media marketing for the beverage industry. Brennan has a Bachelor of Science Degree – Business from Boston College.