New Beverage Showdown 21: Meet the Contestants and Judges –


It’s time to reveal the players in the 21st installment of the New Beverage Showdown, the leading business pitch competition for the beverage industry.

Presented by Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB), an operating unit of the Coca-Cola Co., the competition features 12 startup beverage companies, all making products that feature trending functional ingredients such as botanicals, mushrooms, adaptogens, CBD and probiotics.

The competition will be hosted virtually and available via a free livestream on and BevNET’s social platforms, reaching thousands of food industry retailers, investors, suppliers, service providers and fellow brands watching online from home.

The New Beverage Showdown will kick off with the semifinal round on Tuesday, June 15 from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM ET.

The semifinalists have been chosen, as well as the expert judges, who will be providing feedback and ultimately choosing the winner. So let’s meet the players:

Semifinal Contestants:

New Beverage Showdown 21 semifinalists:

With decades of experience in brand building, retailing, investing, distribution and marketing, the judges for New Beverage Showdown 21 will offer participants and attendees valuable insights on what makes for a successful beverage brand.

The 12 semifinalists will present their two minute pitches to the first round of judges who will respond to both pitch and product, which they will have sampled prior to the competition. Livestream viewers will also have a role in the judging process for the semifinal round via online voting for their favorite brands. Following the pitches, the judges will deliberate and choose six brands to present in the final round, taking into consideration the audience vote winner.

Semifinal Judges:

  • Bonnie Shah, V.P. – CPG Marketing & Innovation, L.A. Libations
  • Matt Hughes, V.P. Emerging Brands — New Revenue Streams, The Coca-Cola Co.
  • Kari Pedriana, Co-Founder & CEO, Green Spoon
  • Mike Schneider, CMO, BevNET

The final round will feature an extended five minute pitch and take place on Thursday, June 17 from 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM ET. A second group of respected industry gatekeepers will also provide their takes on the brands and the overarching marketplace during a live Q&A session with the finalists.

Final Judges:

  • John Craven, CEO, BevNET
  • Priscilla Guevara, Head of Investor Relations | Investment Team, Science Ventures
  • Dan White, Chief – New Revenue Streams, The Coca-Cola Co.
  • Vanessa Dew, Co-Founder, Health-Ade

The winner will be chosen by the final round of judges and announced at 5:30 PM ET on June 17. Following the announcement, the winning brand founder will join the competition host, Ray Latif, the Editor and Producer of BevNET’s Taste Radio podcast, for a live interview.

The winner of New Beverage Showdown 21 will be awarded a $10,000 prize package and join the esteemed ranks of past winners, including Health-Ade, MALK, Tio Gazpacho, Rise Brewing Co., Grady’s Cold Brew.

Details on the competition format and selection process can be found on the event website. Questions about the New Beverage Showdown can be directed to our Brand Specialist team.


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