Close to 200 US beverage industry entrepreneurs and seasoned veterans participated in the first Innobev US event held yesterday at Le Parker Meridien Hotel in New York City.
The event, sponsored by Wild Flavors Inc, was organised by UK-based global market experts Zenith International and leading US beverage authority Bevnet, in association with beverage innovation and Beverage Spectrum magazines.
After a welcome and introduction by Zenith Chairman Richard Hall, the opening session was entitled: “Breaking the mold” and began with Peter van Stolk, Chief Executive of Tree Fort Group and Founder and former CEO of Jones Soda Company speaking about “Making it happen”, the need to connect with the consumer through the use of the Internet.
“Leading outside the box” was the subject for Greg Steltenphol, Founder of Odwalla Inc which sold to Coca-Cola back in 2000 and who is now Co-Founder and CEO of organic and Fairtrade pioneers Adina World Beat Beverages.
The International keynote address, with the title: “Natural integrity”, was given by father and son team Jon and Kristjan Olafsson of Icelandic Water Holdings, producer of Icelandic Glacial carbon neutral spring water, which attracted a 20% stake investment from Anheuser-Busch in 2007.
The second session looked at how to grow a business and was opened by Beverage Spectrum Editor Jeff Klineman who discussed: “Spotting the characteristics of innovation success and failure”.
Wolfgang Reichenberger, General Partner of Inventages, then considered what ticks the right boxes when it comes to attracting investment. This was followed by a case study of Sweet Leaf Tea by Founder and CEO Clayton Christopher.
The afternoon opened with an innovator panel consisting of: Bill Sipper, Senior Partner of Cascadia Consulting Group; Michael Weinstein, CEO of Inov8; Tom First, CEO of O Water; James S Tonkin, Principal of Tonkin Consulting; and Dr Erik Donhowe, Vice President – Beverage Business Unit of Wild Flavors Inc.
A “Dragon’s den” style distributor panel consisting of: Big Geyser COO Lewis Hershkowitz; Davis Beverage Group CFO Ken Davis; Polar Beverages Inc Vice President of Marketing Gerry Martin; and Tim Sperry Group President Tim Sperry watched three presentation from entrepreneurs keen to pitch their products in just three minutes each.
The passionate and entertaining presentations were made by: Dan Ratner, Head Greenologist of Cell-Nique; T J McIntyre, Founder and President of Pixie Maté; and Brad Winter, CEO of SoNu Beverages. The panel gave honest and helpful advice on products presented.
Closing the packed day were three Market briefings. Zenith International Vice President – Americas Andres Padilla spoke about “Emerging beverage growth opportunities. Zenith International Publishing Group Managing Editor Bill Bruce then looked at whether the industry was following or setting trends by reviewing recent global product launches. Finally, Ross Colbert, Managing Director – M&A Americas discussed “Practical steps for securing finance”.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2018