At the recent Academy Awards, Oscars hosts Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes cracked up legendary actor Dame Judi Dench when told she should follow in Kim Kardashian’s footsteps and “work harder” after she didn’t take home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. The 87-year-old Dench laughed hysterically as did those in the audience.
It’s obvious that the eight-time Oscar nominee who won the Academy Award for playing Queen Elizabeth I in “Shakespeare in Love” (1998) doesn’t need any career advice. Yet, even though the star has lost part of her eyesight due to age-related macular degeneration, she reminds herself to “carpe diem,” or “seize the day,” by looking at the tattoo she had inked on the inside of her right wrist at the age of 81.
After seven years as managing editor with Beverage Industry, I, too, have decided to “carpe diem” by moving to a new position within BNP Media as Managing Editor of Dairy Foods, one of our sister publications.
I have learned so much about this multi-faceted industry and have enjoyed covering all facets of the industry, including Category Focuses (bottled water, wine, spirits, coffee), R&D (sweeteners, protein, health and wellness), Ingredient Spotlights (CBD, citrus) Packaging (equipment, materials), Warehouse/Distribution (automation), Supplier’s Marketplace and Marketing.
But what sticks out most of all are the stories that will be forever etched in my mind. For example, the June 2016 interview in Whitestone, N.Y., with Co-founder and CEO of BodyArmor Mike Repole whose passion for his coconut water-based sports brand was evident from the start. Repole also was so excited that we were able to fit nine employees into a cover photo fittingly shot on a basketball court because he wanted to recognize as many people behind the brand as possible.
For the July 2018 cover story, I interviewed Phil Rosse, president of Mike’s Hard Lemonade Co., and members of his team when it’s hard sparkling seltzer, White Claw, relatively new to the market, was already netting dollar sales of $57 million and experiencing triple digit year-over year growth of 451%, as per IRI data.
Right before the pandemic hit in March 2020, I was beyond excited to attend SoxFest and meet some of my favorite players, including three-time All-Star and first baseman José Abreu (who also signed my new No. 79 Sox jersey) and to be one of the first to sample Sox Golden Ale, brewed in partnership with Goose Island Beer Co. The Goose Island section debuted in right field, complete with a large-scale iconic goose and, of course, plenty of Goose Island beers and other craft brews. (Coincidentally, Goose Island was the first cover story I wrote in August 2015).
I’ve also had the privilege of spotlighting some incredible women making their mark in the beverage industry, including Hint Founder and CEO Kara Goldin who founded her successful flavored water company in 2005 after experimenting with flavors in her kitchen. She also wrote an inspiring book, “Undaunted: Overcoming Doubts and Doubters,” about her journey from waitress to dotcom executive to a disruptive, award-winning CEO and entrepreneur.
During Natural Products Expo West in 2018, I met Mikaila Ulmer of Me & the Bee’s Lemonade and knew I had to tell her story. Ulmer was just a young African-American girl when she founded her lemonade business after being stung by a bee. The now-17-year-old also wrote a book, “Bee Fearless: Dream Like A Kid,” with advice to encourage other entrepreneurs to follow their dreams.
From ad executive to the founder of Lone River Beverage Co., CEO Katie Beal Brown’s story in the March 2022 issue also resonated in a powerful way. With distribution help from Diageo, the company went from startup to acquisition to national distribution in under 18 months. The Texas-born agave-style hard ranch seltzers also are rooted in authenticity, which is further highlighted in TV ads featuring “Yellowstone” actor Ryan Bingham and the company’s campaign to Follow It West.
Before I bid adieu, I want to thank Publisher Steve Pintarelli and Editor Jessica Jacobsen for all their help and support. I also want to thank you the readers for engaging with our magazine and for the feedback and ideas I received. Luckily, there is some crossover between beverages and dairy foods, so I’ll still be writing about trends in plant-based beverages, plant processing stories, suppliers and more. Keep in touch. I’ll close with a favorite quote from poet T.S. Eliot, remember this: “Every moment is a fresh beginning.”
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