The Beverage Forum 2021 Agenda

Future Vision

There’s no question that the U.S. beverage market has undergone a transformation from where it stood even five years ago. Today’s market has embraced brands that helped consumers fulfill a number of need states in terms of health and wellness, customization, indulgence, convenience and much more. As we embark on a new technologically driven decade, the upcoming leaders and innovators are embracing a vision that supports not only the beverage needs of today but also anticipates wants and desires of the future.

Schedule times are in Central Time (CT).

10:00am – 10:30am CT

Welcome & Opening Address:
Accelerated Development: How the Pandemic Hastened Trends That Will Define The Beverage Decade Ahead

Steve Pintarelli, Publisher, Beverage Industry
Michael Bellas, Chairman & CEO, Beverage Marketing Corporation

10:30am – 11:15am CT

PANEL: Understanding Consumers in a Time of Crisis

Consumer needs and wants are at the very core of marketing. The enormous economic, social and public health upheaval of 2020, however, has potentially profoundly changed what consumers will seek and demand from products and companies for years to come. What are the best ways to learn about consumer needs and wants that may be more transitory vs. enduring as a result of these transformational forces? How do you ensure that what is learned is properly incorporated into products and marketing that will adequately address these challenges? Top beverage marketers will share how they are gaining deep consumer insights during these turbulent times and how those insights are changing what and how they sell.

Dafne Hefner, VP, Consumer Strategy & Insights, Anheuser-Busch InBev
Sarah Gustat, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Talking Rain Beverage Company
Moderator: Kevin Lane Keller , E.B. Osborn Professor of Marketing, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College

11:15am – 11:30am CT

Networking Break

11:30am – 12:15pm CT


Mike Repole, Co-Founder and Chairman, BODYARMOR

Sponsored By:

12:15pm – 12:30pm CT

Networking Break

12:30pm – 1:15pm CT

PANEL: The Disruptor Effect

Two decades ago, people might have scoffed at you if they were told that bottled water would be the No. 1 beverage in terms of volume. Today, many just see more potential for the hydration category as it explores new formulation trends. But, what will be the next trend to move the needle in the beverage market? As more states have legalized recreational cannabis, many anticipate this will be a major disruptor to the beverage market; however, the industry already is seeing segments like craft beverages — alcohol and non-alcohol — and plant-based beverages disrupt the status quo.

Neel Premkumar, CEO & Founder, Dyla Brands
Neil Kimberley, Chief Strategy Officer, Essentia Water
Ken VandeVrede, CEO, Kalo Brands
Moderator: Steve Pintarelli, Publisher, Beverage Industry

Sponsored By:

1:15pm – 1:30pm CT

Beverage Awards Presentation

Small Company of the Year
Large Company of the Year

1:30pm – 2:15pm CT


Phil Rosse, President, Mike’s Hard Lemonade Company
Anthony von Mandl, Founder & CEO, The Mark Anthony Group of Companies

Sponsored By:

2:15pm – 2:30pm CT

Networking Break

2:30pm – 3:15pm CT

PANEL: Financial Forecasts: A Wall Street Perspective on the Beverage Market

Like the sound financial guidance that your broker will provide, diversity is key for the future of the beverage market. Beverage-makers are diversifying and transforming their portfolios to provide consumers with the choices they need through organic creation and mergers and acquisitions. In terms of financial performance, some beverage corporations have fared better than during this time and the Wall Street analysts will discuss who is winning and losing.

Bonnie Herzog, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs
Carlos Laboy, Managing Director, Global Beverage Sector Head, HSBC
Robert Ottenstein, Senior Managing Director, Evercore ISI
Moderator: Caroline Levy, Founder, Caroline Levy Advisory Services

3:15pm – 3:30pm CT

Networking Break

3:30pm – 4:15pm CT


Brian Smith, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Coca-Cola Company

Sponsored By:

10:00am – 10:45am CT


Jim Koch, Brewer & Founder, The Boston Beer Company

10:45am – 11:00am CT

Networking Break

11:00am – 11:45am CT

PANEL: The Rise of the Premium Alternate Universe

The premium adult alternative beverage market is taking the industry by storm. As beverage–makers develop more original formulations and products, they are turning to next-generation ingredient solutions (including health and wellness formulations). Whether its alcohol or non-alcohol beverages, consumers are showing that premium and innovation is not a fad but the key to success in the evolving beverage market.

Jessica Lukas, Senior Vice President of Commercial Development, BDS Analytics
Bruce Jacobson, Chief Operating Officer, XYZ Beverage, LLC
Paul Verdu, Vice President, Tenth & Blake
Moderator: Brian Sudano, Managing Partner, Beverage Marketing Corporation

Sponsored By:

11:45am – 12:00pm CT

Networking Break

12:00pm – 12:45pm CT


Dave Ritterbush, Chief Executive Officer, Califia Farms

12:45pm – 1:00pm CT

Networking Break

1:00pm – 1:45pm CT

PANEL: Shopping for the Future

The retail market is catering to consumer needs more than ever before. As in-home consumption gains steam, off-premise outlets are stepping up their game to bring consumers convenient delivery services, diverse food and beverage options, and even on-premise consumption solutions to elevate the shopping experience. In the on-premise realm, purveyors are exploring non-alcohol solutions to draw in the next generation of consumers as well as creating niche outlets that truly create an experiential atmosphere.

Glenn Figenholtz, GVP/GMM - Food, Beverage and Household, Walgreens
Zach Dennett, US Co-Founder, JOKR
Kyle Lanham, Sr. Buyer, Walmart

Moderator: Danny Stepper, Co-Founder & CEO, L.A. Libations

1:45pm – 2:00pm CT

Networking Break

2:00pm – 2:45pm CT


Bill Newlands, President & CEO, Constellation Brands

2:45pm – 3:00pm CT

Networking Break

3:00pm – 4:00pm CT

Market Trends I: Alcoholic Beverages

The alcoholic beverage segment has recently gone through a transformation with the explosion of hard seltzer. A multitude of changes have occurred in beverages and companies as covid-19 has dramatically impacted the business creating a whole new dynamic for the industry. With an in-depth review of growth rates, projections, consumer patterns, category challenges and much more, you will get a detailed look at the developments that are shaping today’s alcoholic beverage marketplace with a view to the future. We will also explore which category — beer, wine or spirits — is winning and why.

Brian Sudano, Managing Partner, Beverage Marketing Corporation

Mike Luce, Co-Founder/President, High Yield Insights

4:00pm – 5:00pm CT

Market Trends II: Non-Alcoholic Beverages

The market for refreshment beverages has proven resilient in the face of a pandemic. But not all categories are created equal: Learn which categories have thrived and which have struggled in this challenging environment. We’ll dig into the data and provide details on category performance and discuss the trends driving that performance. We’ll touch on traditional categories as well as emerging ones. Gain valuable insight with an overview of current market trends and learn what the future may hold.

Gary Hemphill, Managing Director & COO BMC Research, Beverage Marketing Corporation

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