BevNET Live is the leading conference for the beverage industry. Attended by hundreds of the industry’s biggest names including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, PepsiCo, and Califia Farms, BevNET Live is the premier place for companies of all sizes to find inspiration, gain insight on industry trends, and connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs.
A twice-annual event, BevNET Live’s Summer 2019 conference was held June 12-13 in New York City. Read on for some top takeaways and insights that the conference’s experts and entrepreneurs discussed this year.
1. CBD is ‘a force to be reckoned with’
John Simmons of the Colorado-based, hemp-infused food and beverage brand, Weller, took the BevNET stage to talk about the CBD beverage phenomenon. While CBD-infused beverages are still newcomers to the market, Simmons insisted that companies from both inside and outside the CBD space would “be forced to reckon with this category in one way or another.” The sector is still facing challenges — namely, flavor, solubility, and supply chain, to name a few — but once brands can find an attitude or outlook that “connects with consumers,” they’re sure to find success with an audience that is already demanding more options.
2. Leveraging the digital space in the right way makes all the difference
Kurt Seidensticker, Founder and CEO of Vital Proteins, spoke to attendees about how he built his brand through the strategic use of the digital space. Vital Proteins spends a whopping 15-20 percent of their yearly budget on marketing, particularly on influencers. But rather than targeting those influencers by their number of followers, Vital Proteins looked at the individual levels of engagement — an innovative strategy. The brand also pulled insights from the data they gathered to “fuel its innovation pipeline.” After realizing that many of their customers were women who used the product in the morning, they began producing products like collagen waters and collagen creamers to further satisfy the needs of their consumers.
3. Millennials have a unique perspective on the beverage industry
Three young entrepreneurs, Maya French, Co-Founder of Koia, Jim DeCiccio, CEO of Kitu Life, and Sashee Chandran, CEO and Founder of Tea Drops, shared insights and perspectives on the beverage industry from a millennial’s perspective. All three panelists agreed that dated marketing tactics and a lack of transparency are the fastest ways to lose millennial consumers. Brands that want to capture this massive audience need to make sure that they create a “direct, one-on-one relationship” with the consumer so that they “recognize that there’s a real person behind the brand.” Millennials’ “restless and rebellious attitudes,” combined with the power of the Internet, means that brands need to take the extra step in order to meet these demands.
4. The beverage industry is “going through a time of contradictions”
During his time on stage, BevNET Editor-in-Chief Jeff Klineman described the industry as “going through a time of contradictions.” He said that category and retail dynamics are being pushed and pulled in different directions at a rapid pace. Brands that wish to stay at the top of their game and in front of these changing conditions need to be fluid, adaptable, and hyper-aware of industry trends and forces.
ForceBrands was proud to power BevNET Live’s afterparty following the first day of the conference. Sponsored by the Giannuzzi Group, the afterparty was hosted at Manhattan’s Hudson Terrace. Guests enjoyed signature cocktails featuring Aviation Gin, Ten to One Rum, Astral Tequila, 18.21, and Cloud Water.
Interested in joining the beverage industry or looking to build your beverage brand? Explore our BevForce division.