We are pleased to announce the finalists for the inaugural Beverage Digest Awards. A panel of six industry experts narrowed the field of 90 entries in nine categories to the finalists listed below. Congratulations to our finalists, and thank you to all of the contestants for entering. 

Winners in each category will be revealed at a special awards ceremony during the Beverage Digest Future Smarts Conference on Dec. 7 in New York. 

"It is our privilege to highlight the range of creativity and value represented by this assortment of top-notch industry innovation," said Beverage Digest Executive Editor Duane Stanford." These finalists well represent the US beverage industry's dynamic range and relentless drive to serve thirsty consumers." 

The Beverage Digest Awards were organised by Zenith Global with the support from headline sponsor PureCircle and category sponsor CMG. 

"It's just not true that the big companies are being overtaken in innovation," added Zenith Global Chairman Richard Hall. "Yes, increasing numbers of start-ups are challenging from every angle, but the industry leaders are also reinventing themselves. The finalists in these awards show how strong and diverse the pipeline is for the future of beverages." 

The Finalists

Best Low/No Sugar Drink

  • BA Sports Nutrition LLC – BODYARMOR Lyte Sports Drink
  • CORE Nutrition – CORE Organic
  • Flow Alkaline Spring Water – Flow Alkaline Spring Water – Organic Flavors
  • HyVIDA Brands, Inc – HyVIDA Hydrogen Infused Sparkling Water
  • PepsiCo – Gatorade Zero
  • The Coca-Cola Company – Diet Coke
  • Teavana – Teavana Unsweetened Strawberry Apple Green Craft Iced Tea 

Best Premium Drink

  • Chameleon Cold-Brew – Chameleon Cold-Brew Latte
  • CORE Nutrition – CORE Hydration
  • mood33 – Cannabis Infused Sparkling Tonics
  • Tohi Ventures – Tohi Aronia Berry Antioxidant Beverages 

Best Functional Drink

  • BA Sports Nutrition LLC – BODYARMOR Sports Drink
  • Essentia Water, LLC – Essentia Water
  • HyVIDA Brands, Inc – HyVIDA Hydrogen Infused Sparkling Water
  • mood33 – Cannabis Infused Sparkling Tonics
  • PepsiCo – KeVita
  • Pervida – Pervida Immune
  • Soylent – Soylent 

Best Packaging Design

  • CORE Nutrition – CORE Hydration
  • Kimino Drinks Inc – Kimino Yuzu
  • PepsiCo – bubly
  • Tohi Ventures – Tohi Aronia Berry Antioxidant Beverages 

Best Label Design

  • CORE Nutrition – CORE Hydration
  • Essentia Water, LLC – Essentia Water
  • Kimino Drinks Inc – Kimino Yuzu
  • mood33 – Cannabis Infused Sparkling Tonics
  • Tohi Ventures – Tohi Aronia Berry Antioxidant Beverages 

Best Technology Innovation

  • Fizzique, LLC – Fizzique Sparkling Protein Water
  • HyVIDA Brands, Inc – HyVIDA Hydrogen Infused Sparkling Water
  • PureCircle – PureCircle’s Starleaf
  • The Coca-Cola Company – Coca-Cola Freestyle 9100 

Best Marketing or Social Media Campaign

  • BA Sports Nutrition LLC – BODYARMOR Sports Drink
  • Essentia Water, LLC – Essentia Presents The Overachievers 

Best New Brand/Brand Extension

  • BA Sports Nutrition LLC – BODYARMOR Lyte Sports Drink
  • Caskai North American Inc – Caskai Sparkling Cascara Infusion
  • Detoxwater – Veralixir
  • Kimino Drinks Inc – Kimino Yuzu
  • Talking Rain Beverage Company – Sparkling Ice +Caffeine 

Best New Drink Concept

  • BA Sports Nutrition LLC – BODYARMOR Lyte Sports Drink
  • HyVIDA Brands, Inc – HyVIDA Hydrogen Infused Sparkling Water
  • Kimino Drinks Inc – Kimino Yuzu
  • mood33 – Cannabis Infused Sparkling Tonics
  • Soylent – Soylent 

For further infomration, please contact Alice Schofield on aschofield@zenithglobal.com 

Headline sponsor

  • PureCircle

Category sponsor

  • CMG

Interested in sponsoring this event? Contact us.

Our guide below should provide you with all the information you need about the Beverage Digest Awards.

If you have any other queries, please contact us on awards@beverage-digest.com

What are the categories?
  • Best Low/No Sugar Drink
  • Best Premium Drink
  • Best Functional Drink
  • Best Packaging Design 
  • Best Label Design 
  • Best Technology Innovation
  • Best Marketing or Social Media Campaign 
  • Best New Brand/Brand Extension sponsored by CMG 
  • Best New Drink Concept

Are you unsure on which category to enter? Visit our entry criteria tab for further guidance contact awards@beverage-digest.com  

Why should I enter?
  • Gain publicity from leading industry media
  • Benefit from independent international recognition
  • Enjoy year round marketing exposure
  • Attract validation for present and potential future investors
  • Showcase your product, service or campaign alongside other exciting innovators
  • Finalists and winners will receive a comprehensive communications pack complete with a press release, logos for use on packaging, websites or email signatures, a certificate and of course a trophy for winners!
  • Network with finalists and winners at the event.
How do I enter?

   Simply click 'Enter now', select the category/ies you wish to enter and fill out your company information on the entry page.

   You will receive a confirmation email, and a member of the awards team will contact you with the 'next steps' for your application process.

How much does it cost to enter?

   You can enter multiple categories or products at a cost of $195.00 per entry until September 10. After this date, cost of entry is $225.00.  

    If you enter 3 categories, the 4th is free!

How do I pay?

   We accept most major credit and debit cards upon checkout on the awards website.

   After payment, you will recieve an order confirmation, followed by a PDF receipt, both by email. 

   If you are unable to pay by credit/debit card, please contact awards@beverage-digest.com 

What happens once I have paid?

   Once paid, we will contact you with the 'next steps' for your application process. 

What is the deadline to enter?

   Friday November 02, 2018 for both payment and award application. 

Where are the awards presented?

   The awards ceremony will take place on December 7, 2018 during Beverage Digest Future Smarts, in New York.

   While we would be very pleased to see you there, attendance is not a condition of entering the awards.

Beverage Digest Future Smarts

This beverage industry update will give attendees a comprehensive review of the most important events of the past year and a road map for  what's coming next year. Speakers include the most accomplished and knowledgeable experts on the most profitable non-alcoholic beverage  market in the world. Executives from manufacturing, marketing, finance, investment, supply chain, distribution and elsewhere, who must be in the know, should attend the conference. 

For program details and to book, please click here.

When will the finalists be announced?

   Once all judges have submitted their feedback and scores, all points will be counted and verified.

   All entrants will be notified of the results in November 2018. A press release will announce the finalists. 

How do I contact you?

    Contact us at  awards@beverage-digest.com

We are delighted to hear that you may enter the Beverage Digest Awards. Here are some guidelines to help you enter the correct category. To increase your chances of winning, please stick to these guidelines as closely as possible.

Samples are not required for any category. 

Further information and guidance will be provided once your application has been submitted for the awards.

To download the full award guidelines, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact awards@beverage-digest.com

Best Functional Drink

Judged on: 

  • Innovation 
  • Market need
  • Execution
  • Presentation 
  • Functionality of product 
Best Low/No Sugar Drink 

Judged on: 

  • Innovation of concept 
  • Flavor combinations 
  • Use of sweetening agents and product development 
  • Product differentiation 
Best New Drink Concept 

Judged on: 

  • Innovation of concept 
  • Product/initative differentiation 
Best Packaging Design 

Judged on: 

  • Innovation of concept 
  • Structual differentiation
  • Functionality: i.e. differentiated, solves a problem, adds versatility, increases sustainability
  • Design/appearance 
Best Label Design 

Judged on: 

  • Appearance/color 
  • Brand presentation 
  • On pack communication
Best Technology Innovation 

Judged on: 

  • Degree of improvement from previous technology 
  • Degree of innovation from incremental to ground-breaking new concept 
  • Value of benefit in cost saving, efficency improvement, breadth of application to wider industry 
Best New Brand/Brand Extension 

Judged on: 

  • Innovation of branding 
  • Strength of brand expression 
  • Differentiation 
  • Potential for developing a new category of providing added choice to consumers 

Samples are not required for this category

Best Marketing or Social Media Campaign 

Judged on: 

  • Innovation 
  • Conceptualization 
  • Execution 
  • Responses 

Best Premium Drink

Judged on: 

  • Point of difference/value-add
  • Sophistication 
  • Added benefits 
  • Ethical dimension 
  • Volume/value performance in the market 


Our panel of industry experts will independently review each submission against the judging criteria. They will score each entry on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) for each criterion and offer feedback or comments. Scores are then collated to reveal the winners and finalists in each category!

Vanessa Walker,  Former Executive VP of Marketing and Innovation at Celsius Holdings

Vanessa Walker has worked in the Beverage and Retail segments for 24 years now and has a proven track record of building strong business infrastructures by positioning brands to attract consumers to win at retail. Walker recently served as the EVP, Marketing & Innovation for Celsius Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: CELH), where she lead the development and execution of the brand’s corporate strategy, while coordinating the efforts of her direct team in both the marketing and communications departments. Walker reported directly to the CEO of global Celsius Holdings, Inc.

Before joining the Celsius team in early 2016, Walker served as EVP, Sales and Marketing of LaCroix Sparkling Water for National Beverage Corp., specifically creating and executing tactical business plans to revitalize the LaCroix brand. Under Walker’s leadership, LaCroix grew from a small regional brand into a major national brand, ranked number one in dollar share with 26% of the sparkling water segment and sales of $175M+ in reporting channels. As a result, Vanessa was promoted from her original role as Senior Director of Strategic Brand Development, to EVP, Sales and Marketing; an entirely new division formed to support the rapid LaCroix brand growth, which Walker led for eight years, while overseeing all aspects of the brand’s development and success.

Prior to her time at National Beverage Corp., Walker served as Director of Marketing for Big Red, working primarily to re-launch the Red JAK energy drink. Previously, Walker held the position of VP, National Accounts for IN ZONE Brands, makers of the then BellyWashers and TummyTicker brands (today: Good2Grow), where she successfully positioned the lines at national retailers, growing sales from $850,000 in 1999 to $90 million by 2003.

A graduate of The Florida State University, Walker received her EMBA in International Business from Mercer University. An active member of her community, she sits on the board of the Jack & Jill Children’s Center and is an active Member of Broward County’s Pi Beta Phi Alum Club. Walker is also active in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s South FL & Puerto Rico Chapter. In August 2018, Walker was named a Top Executive in BevNET’s Leaning In To Beverage list of the Top 31 Women In the Beverage Business.

Seth Goldman,  Co-Founder & TeaEO Emeritus at Honest Tea

Seth Goldman is Co-Founder & TeaEO Emeritus of Honest Tea and Executive Chair of Beyond Meat.  Honest Tea is the nation’s top-selling organic bottled tea, specializing in beverages that are just a tad sweet, organic and Fair Trade Certified. In March 2011, Honest Tea was acquired by The Coca-Cola Company, becoming the first organic and Fair Trade brand in the world's largest beverage distribution system.  Honest Tea and Honest Kids is sold in more than 140,000 stores in the USA and Europe, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway and Chik-fil-A. Beyond Meat is also rapidly expanding distribution, as the company seeks to expand the availability and accessibility of plant-based protein. Seth also serves on the board of Ripple Foods, the Yale School of Management, the American Beverage Association, and Bethesda Green. 

Bonnie Herzog, Managing Director at Wells Fargo Securities

Bonnie Herzog is a Managing Director and Senior Consumer Equity Analyst at Wells Fargo covering the Beverage, Household & Personal Care, Tobacco and Convenience Store sectors. During her 20 years of experience as a sell-side equity research analyst, Bonnie has been a top-ranked Institutional Investor analyst. For more than ten years, Bonnie has been recognized by Institutional Investor magazine for the All-America Research Team, most recently ranking No. 5 (runner-up) in the beverage/hpc sector and historically ranking as No. 2 in the tobacco sector. Bonnie consistently ranks in the U.S. Thomson Reuters Awards and most recently ranked No. 3 stock picker and No. 2 earnings estimator in the beverage sector. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2010, Bonnie was a managing director at Citi Investment Research where she covered the beverage and tobacco sectors in equity research since 2002 and was a director at Credit Suisse covering the beverage and tobacco sectors since 1997. Bonnie is best known for her in-depth proprietary research and successful contrarian stock calls. She has been a guest speaker at numerous tobacco, beverage and convenience store industry conferences. Bonnie earned an MBA degree in finance from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA degree in finance from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

William Dermody, VP of Media Communications & Public Affairs at American Beverage Association

William’s extensive experience in covering and managing significant issues around the world will be a tremendous asset to the association,” Neely said.  “At a time when our industry is facing new challenges here and abroad, we look forward to having William onboard to help develop strong leadership policies that positively impact the communities we serve.”

As vice president of policy for ABA, Dermody will be responsible for managing issues and developing policy on a range of topics, including environmental sustainability, health, science and taxes. The non-alcoholic beverage industry employs more than 233,000 people with a direct economic impact of more than $141 billion.

Dermody has had a distinguished career in journalism for more than three decades.  He was most recently deputy managing editor of world news at USA Today, where he spent several years overseeing coverage of world news and managing a team of reporters in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Washington, D.C.  Before that, he served as Assignment Editor for the US news section.  Prior to joining USA Today, Dermody served as a reporter and editor at The Associated Press, including as a national editor for the news organization at its world headquarters in New York. 

Dermody lives in Virginia with his wife and four children.    

Bill Sipper, Managing Partner at Cascadia Managing Brands

Bill Sipper is Managing Partner at Cascadia Managing Brands.  He founded Cascadia Consulting Group in 2003 and merged with Managing Brands to form Cascadia Managing Brands in 2012.  He has held senior-level sales, marketing, operations, as well as c-level positions at several of the top beverage marketers in the world including Evian, Clearly Canadian, Nantucket Nectars, Fresh Samantha/Odwalla, and Ultimate Juice Company which owned Naked Juice and Zeigler’s Apple Cider, before selling to Pepsico. Fresh Samantha Odwalla was sold to Coco Cola.  Nantucket Nectars was sold to Ocean Spray. Bill has been helpful in acquiring and selling companies and has often led the transition from one to the other.

Cascadia Managing Brands have helped many brands successfully navigate sales and marketing in the food and beverage space. Brands include Zico Coconut Water, Hint Water, C2O Coconut Water, Rubicon Exotic Fruit Juices (UK), WOW Nutrition (Brazil), The TH Company (Vietnam), Steaz, Pre Antioxidant Drink (Dubai) and more. Cascadia Managing Brands consults for preeminent beverage companies worldwide.

Jack Belsito, Managing Partner at First Beverage Ventures

Jack’s love of beverages began as a young boy in his hometown of Worcester Massachusetts with frequent trips to the local Coca-Cola bottler in his neighborhood, hauling bags of bottle caps to exchange for tickets to see his beloved Red Sox.

Jack is the former Group CEO of Voss of Norway ASA.  Prior to that, he was the founder and CEO of JLB and Company, an investing and advising firm specializing in the beverage industry. He has over 30 years of experience in consumer products.

Prior to Voss, Jack held the positions of CEO of the Snapple Beverage Group, President of Mott’s USA, President of RC Cola, and President of the Snapple Distributing Company.  He has extensive experience in the beverage industry, having held senior positions in franchising, marketing, sales, distribution, and business development. He has led the acquisitions of a variety of brand, bottling, and distributing companies.

Jack is a former Alan Houston Foundation Entrepreneur Mentor and was honored with the prestigious Frederick Douglass Award from the New York Urban League in 2006. He is a graduate of the Boston University School of Management and received the SMG Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005. Jack currently serves as a member of the Boston University Athletic Directors Council.

Jack enjoys playing golf and basketball and cooking for his family. He lives with his wife Marybeth in NYC.  Their children, Matthew, Kate and Liza also live in the City.


Thank you to our headline sponsor

Opportunites are avaliable for category sponsors.

Category sponsorship

Category sponsorship includes:

  • Opportunity to present the winner with their award during ceremony  
  • Company logo on all awards marketing material between now and the event 
  • Company logo on event and award webpage with a hyperlink to company homepage 
  • Sponsor referenced in category title e.g. Best Functional Water sponsored by Company X 

    All packages include discounted delegate places to the Future Smarts conference, as well as pre- and post-event social media and marketing      exposure.

    We are happy to tailor a package to suit your particular needs and budget. 

Interested in sponsoring?

   For more information on our sponsorship packages, contact Maxine Harle on e mharle@zenithglobal.com t +44 (0) 1225 327341

This beverage industry update will give attendees a comprehensive review of the most important events of the past year and a road map for what's coming next year. Speakers include the most accomplished and knowledgeable experts on the most profitable non-alcoholic beverage market in the world. Executives from manufacturing, marketing, finance, investment, supply chain, distribution and elsewhere, who must be in the know, should attend this conference.

For more information and to register, click here.

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