Source: BevNET LIVE 2019

Each year, BevNET’s annual Best Of awards honors companies, brands, individuals, products, ideas and trends from across the dynamic and ever-changing beverage landscape.

As in years past, 2019 witnessed the emergence of disruptive newcomers developing alongside established players seeking out new frontiers. In ways both big and small, this year confirmed that there isn’t a singular route to success. In bottled water, we saw Essentia reap the benefits of a dedicated long-term growth strategy, fueled by strong execution, and at the same time we saw Liquid Death capture the imagination of consumers with a wholly unconventional (and unmistakable) marketing voice. We saw young companies in categories like energy and coffee help bring a new generation of functional beverages to mainstream audiences, while also watching as legacy brands extended their reach with new innovations. Some well-worn rules were confirmed, and others were torn up in style. There was truly a bit of everything.

With such a wide breadth of worthy nominees, the process of selecting our Best Of 2019 award winners was hardly simple. These honorees represent a vibrant and dynamic group of brands that we feel best encompass the ideas, personalities and products pushing the beverage industry in exciting new directions at the dawn of a new decade— and we can’t wait to see where they will take us next. Congratulations to all our winners!

LIFEAID Beverage Company:
BevNET 2019 RISING STAR Award

"The entire team at LIFEAID Beverage Company, LLC is beyond honored and thrilled to have been chosen as the recipient of a BEVNET Best of 2019 RISING STAR award! Thank you for this acknowledgment. Here's to rising to even greater heights in 2020," LIFEAID posted on their LinkedIn profile following the announcement at the BevNET LIVE event on Monday, December 9, 2019.

When functional beverage brand LIFEAID first made a name for its workout-based FITAID line through its partnership with CrossFit©, it seemed the company had settled into a strategy of cornering niche target demographics through a focus on hyper-specific use occasions such as partying, travelling and golfing. But after several years of incremental gains, 2019 finally saw LIFEAID and its entire product portfolio break into the mainstream. This past year the company’s risky take on functional beverages saw a vast expansion as it tripled its retail footprint, established a robust DSD network in the West, and made nationwide expansions in major outlets like Walmart and CVS. Co-founders Orion Melehan and Aaron Hinde said that LIFEAID’s mainstream breakout was always the long-term plan, even as it spent years with an emphasis on narrow channels -- part of an “incubation” strategy that through close customer relationships and ROI driven marketing is finally seeing validation in the broader market. Earlier this year, LIFEAID raised $7.7 million in April to fuel this growth and now with Fitness, Focus, Immunity, Partying, and Golfing all covered, the company has introduced sugar-free varieties with FITAID ZERO and FITAID RX ZERO. And the innovation isn’t done yet: the brand has announced LIFEAID CBD as the latest addition to its beverage portfolio -- making it one of just a handful of established brands to date to jump into the hemp space.
—BevNET


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