Taste Radio Episode 194

Great Relationships Create Great Businesses. These Six Leaders Explain Why.


In this highlight episode culled from interviews with six of the leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs who joined us on the podcast during the second half of 2019, we examine the role that relationships play in the development of great businesses. Our guests include “The Beverage Whisperer” Ken Sadowsky, Whole30 founder and CEO Melissa Hartwig Urban, Grillo’s Pickles founder and CEO Travis Grillo, Veggie Grill co-founder T.K. Pillan, Dogfish Head Brewery founder Sam Calagione and Bev founder and CEO Alix Peabody.

In this Episode

1:50: Ken Sadowsky, The Beverage Whisperer — We kick off the show with Ken Sadowsky, who is affectionately known as “The Beverage Whisperer.” A longtime investor and advisor to many high-profile and category leading brands, including Vitaminwater, Vita Coco, Bai, Hint and Califia Farms, Ken is one of the industry’s best known and most respected insiders. In the following clip, pulled from our interview with Sadowsky in Ep. 174, he explained how he assesses opportunities to align with and invest in early stage brands, how he advises entrepreneurs on packaging and design, and why he warns that indecisiveness can lead to big mistakes.
10:11: Melissa Hartwig Urban, Co-Founder/CEO, Whole30 — Next up is Melissa Hartwig Urban, the co-founder and CEO of popular 30-day lifestyle program Whole30. Since its launch in 2009, Whole30 has become a cultural phenomenon that has attracted millions of followers, many of whom adhere to its paleo-centric guidelines even after they complete the program. In this clip, pulled from our interview in Ep. 184, Urban explained why most of her work time is spent direct messaging with members of the Whole30 community, the importance of accessibility, and how she’s learned that “you can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
20:18: Travis Grillo, Founder/CEO, Grillo’s Pickles — We continue with Travis Grillo, the founder and CEO of premium pickle brand Grillo’s. From his humble beginnings selling pickles out of a small food cart, Grillo’s has grown into a nationally distributed brand carried at several major chains and one that generates tens of millions of dollars in sales annually. In a clip from our wide-ranging interview with Grillo, which we featured in Ep. 175, he spoke about why he positioned Grillo’s as a lifestyle brand, how he considers new hires and investment and why he’s just as likely to take advice from a homeless person as he would from a billionaire.
30:42: T.K. Pillan, Co-Founder, Veggie Grill/PowerPlant Ventures — We keep things going with T.K. Pillan, the chairman and co-founder of fast-casual restaurant chain Veggie Grill and investment firm PowerPlant Ventures. Thirteen years since opening its first location, Veggie Grill now has 37 stores and is planning to operate 50 locations by next year. In the following clip, from our interview with Pillan in Ep. 188, he discussed the common theme in all of his businesses, why it’s critical for co-founders to have a clear understanding of roles and complementary skill sets, why he described growth plans as “a double-edged sword” and what it means to be “a good investor.” 
41:41: Sam Calagione, Founder, Dogfish Head Brewery — Next we have some words of wisdom from Sam Calagione, the founder of iconic craft beer brand Dogfish Head. We spoke with Calagione in Ep. 189 and in the following clip, he reflected on his experience building Dogfish Head, which in May merged with Samuel Adams maker The Boston Beer Co. in a deal valued at $300 million. He also discussed why “goodness” is a pillar of Dogfish Head’s business philosophy, why he refers to employees as “co-workers” and why he urges entrepreneurs to figure out how “small their businesses can possibly be.”
47:44: Alix Peabody, Founder/CEO, Bev — Last, but not least, we have Alix Peabody, the founder of Bev, a wellness-focused canned wine brand that aims to change the narrative around how women are projected and perceived by the alcohol industry and redefine traditional ways of doing business in a space long dominated by men. In this clip pulled from Ep. 191, Peabody explained why, despite very challenging times, she never thought to quit, how she made inroads to tech investors and how she attempts to redefine “old school” ways of doing business. 

Also Mentioned

Whole30, Grillo’s, Veggie Grill, Dogfish Head, Bev