Taste Radio Insider Episode 32

The ‘First’ Name in Investment Opens Up Its Playbook

+ First Beverage Group


When assessing funding opportunities for early- and mid-stage companies, First Beverage Group, an investment and advisory firm that works with and invests in brands across the beverage spectrum, has a category-first mindset.

First Beverage believes that “the tail winds of a strong category — whatever that dynamic may be — can always help a business as it’s starting to get off the ground early,” according to vice president Joe Angiuli, who, along with managing partner Jack Belsito and managing director Bob Nakasone, joined us for an interview included in this episode. That approach has guided the firm as it has made investments in fast-growing brands, including Essentia, Health-Ade Kombucha and Q Drinks.

As part of our conversation, the trio spoke about the about the First Beverage’s portfolio and investment philosophy and how they evaluate synergies with entrepreneurial brands. They also discussed the current funding environment for the food and beverage industry, which categories might be best suited to weather a potential downturn, and why CBD is not the only cannabis-based ingredient that’s caught the attention of First Beverage.

In this Episode

1:18: The New Way To ‘Gram Your Pepsi Lime — It’s a brave new world out there: PepsiCo is putting lime juice in its flagship cola and perfect Instagram posts are a thing of the past. The hosts break it all down in the opening minutes of the episode.
8:39: Jack Belsito, Bob Nakasone & Joe Angiuli, First Beverage Group — In an interview recorded at Expo West 2019, Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Belsito, Nakasone and Angiuli about their backgrounds and roles with First Beverage and discussed how the firm’s mission has shaped its portfolio. They also explained why they value entrepreneurs that are “coachable,” and why they believe the energy category will continue to grow and evolve. Later, they spoke about the firm’s perspective on CBD and THC, what growth stage First Beverage usually invests in a brand and what entrepreneurs shouldn’t say in a pitch meeting

Also Mentioned

Pepsi, KeVita, Health-Ade, Essentia, Q Drinks, Project Juice, Repsly, Gem&Bolt, Laws Whisky House, VitaCup