When it comes to entrepreneurship, Clayton Christopher believes that “you can’t read the book; you gotta live it.”
And live it he has; Christopher is best known as the co-founder of Sweet Leaf Tea, acquired by Nestlé Waters in 2011, and Deep Eddy Vodka, which just five years after its launch was sold to Heaven Hill Distilling for a reported $400 million. Yet even as a highly successful entrepreneur and investor, Christopher, currently the co-founder and managing director of private equity firm CAVU, has always looked beyond simply achieving a desired end result. In an interview included in this episode of Taste Radio, he urged business owners “to appreciate and cherish the journey,” a perspective that will yield a rare and valuable currency few will ever grasp.
As part of our conversation, Christopher also delved into why he believes that “the need for human capital is greater than it’s ever been,” how board and management teams can most effectively work together, and why entrepreneurs should spend less time on adding new distribution and instead focus on “creating a success story” inside individual stores.
This episode also features an interview with another “kitchen to exit” entrepreneur: John McDonald, the founder of iconic craft beer company Boulevard Brewing. McDonald, who founded Boulevard nearly three decades ago, is something of a godfather in the beer business. In our conversation, he spoke about the origins of the company and its early days as a pioneer of the craft beer category through to its 2013 acquisition by Duvel Moortgat USA. And in this week’s edition of Elevator Talk, we hear from Kabir Gambhir, the founder and CEO of innovative beverage brand Bevea.
In this Episode
|2:42: Four Letter Brands LIVE — The hosts chat about recent visits to BevNET HQ by BKON, maker of innovative brewing machines and Waku, a wellness tea brewed with 20 super herbs from the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The hosts also discuss the speaker lineups at the upcoming BevNET Live Summer 2018 and NOSH Live Summer 2018.
|12:09: Interview: Clayton Christopher, Co-Founder, Sweet Leaf Tea/Deep Eddy Vodka/CAVU — Christopher is a highly successful entrepreneur and investor best known as the co-founder of Sweet Leaf Tea, acquired by Nestle Waters in 2011 and Deep Eddy Vodka, which just five years after its launch was sold to Heaven Hill Distilling for a reported $400 million. Since then, he’s joined up with the famous Rohan Oza and another investor, Brett Thomas, to launch CAVU, a very active food and beverage focused private equity shop. At Natural Products Expo West 2018, Christopher sat down BevNET editor-in-chief Jeff Klineman and shared stories from his remarkable journey as an entrepreneur and how he advises and invests in fast-growing brands.
|36:58: Interview: John McDonald, Founder, Boulevard Brewing Co. — McDonald is something of a godfather in the beer business, having founded iconic craft brand Boulevard Brewing in 1989. Since its launch nearly three decades ago, Boulevard has led the craft scene in the Midwest and is the largest specialty brewer in the region. Brewbound assistant editor Justin Kendall recently visited Boulevard HQ in Kansas City, Missouri where he spoke with McDonald about the origins of the company and its early days as a pioneer of the craft beer category through to its 2013 acquisition by Duvel Moortgat USA. As part of their conversation McDonald shares war stories from Boulevard’s journey and why he never allowed himself to believe that the company was going to succeed.
|1:04:50: Elevator Talk: Kabir Gambhir, Founder/CEO, Bevea — Gambir is the founder and CEO of Bevea, a recently launched brand that markets innovatic tonics made with organic coffee fruit, ginger and botanicals. Kabir recently visited BevNET’s West Coast branch in San Diego, where he joined us for an interview included in this edition of Elevator Talk.