Taste Radio Insider Episode 17

Where The Money Is Flowing in Specialty & Spirits

+ Steven Rannekleiv, Rabobank; Phil Kafarakis; Specialty Food Association


From artisanal foods to craft spirits, this episode explores the evolving business landscape for specialty food and distilled beverages. Steven Rannekleiv, the global sector strategist for beverages at global financial services firm Rabobank, has covered the alcoholic beverage industry for over a decade and in our conversation, we explored the emerging market for craft spirits, including parallels to and differences in the development of the craft beer category. Rannekleiv also discussed how the investment community is evaluating craft distilling companies and how growing consumer demand for cannabis products is affecting alcoholic beverage categories.

Later in the episode, we sit down with Phil Kafarakis, who is the president of the Specialty Food Association, the industry trade group that the organizes the annual Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows. In our discussion, Kafarakis spoke about how the term specialty food  has evolved in recent years and the ingredients and formulations that are shaping the future of the industry. He discussed the role legacy food and beverage categories, like cocktail mixers and charcuterie, in the development of the space and the Specialty Food Association’s long-standing work with international food and beverage producers.

In this Episode

2:16: Sitting Pretty at #WFFS19 — On location at the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, the hosts riffed on notable exhibits, brands and products featured at the annual trade show.
9:24: Interview: Steven Rannekleiv, Global Sector Strategist – Beverages, Rabobank — In a call with Rannekleiv spoke about the launch and mission behind Rabobank’s beverage-focused podcast, Liquid Assets. He also discussed the growing consumer demand for craft spirits and the opportunities and challenges facing small producers, explained how strategic investors are evaluating the space, why wine, not spirits, might be the alcoholic beverage category most at risk from rising consumer demand for cannabis.
32:28: Interview: Phil Kafarakis, President, Specialty Food Association — Recorded at the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show, Kafarakis spoke about the evolution of the Winter event, and the development of its education platform and Incubator Village exhibit. He also explained how the trade group defines “specialty food,” and why speciality products are becoming increasingly available at mainstream retailers.

Also Mentioned

Chobani, Loca Food, Sonar, Siete Foods, Zola, Pulp Pantry, Cleveland Kraut, Ayoba-Yo, Bohana, Kween Foods, Tea Crush, Q Soo, 1821 Bitters, Pappy’s, Bittermilk, Freshe, Perky Jerky, Blue Bottle Coffee, Copper & Kings, Kuli Kuli