Category: General Blogs
It’s way beyond cliché by now to describe the beverage world as being in a constant state of change. The business is full of new products—heck, new categories of products, all chasing consumers with changing tastes.
To describe the sweeping changes taking place in the beverage world around us, we’ve often written about it from the point of view of the companies and the products or categories of products that seem to be most in the middle of that change. But we’ve not in a comprehensive way looked at the people running those companies and marketing those products, the individuals driving that change.
The cover feature for this issue has been perhaps the most fun and yet challenging feature we’ve attempted at Beverage World in recent memory. It’s been fun in the sense that it’s been so challenging.
We wanted to define the group of people who are shaking things up most dramatically in the beverage world. We choose to call it Beverage Disruptors, borrowing from the concept of “disruptive innovation” that is so prevalent in current business management literature. “Disruptive innovation” in a simple sense describes an innovation that changes a product or company or market in a fundamental or unexpected way. Therefore a disruptor is a person who innovates to the point of changing the status quo, who changes things in a fundamental way.
To understand the editorial process that went into creating Beverage Disruptors would be akin to peeking into a proverbial sausage factory—you may not want to know how the stuff was made, but you may enjoy the end product nonetheless. Suffice it to say that all of our longtime editors, Jeff Cioletti, Andrew Kaplan, Heather Landi and myself, created our own lists, each approaching the assignment through our own experiences in observing the beverage business.
Defining who in the business are “disruptors” is worthy of debate, then culling the list to 50 and ranking them certainly is as well. Why isn’t so-and-so on the list? Why is so-and-so ranked so high or so low? Is the list too long, or too short?
That’s what makes the feature a fun and interesting read, but it’s not intended just as an entertaining exercise. The core idea is to come away with new or hidden perspectives on the beverage business. The list is incredibly diverse in terms of the beverage territory it covers—we wanted to get to the change makers in all corners of the beverage world—and in terms of the individuals and how they have impacted the business.
Some on the list have disrupted based not on creating a new product, but changing how the product is marketed (marketing bottle water to kids, for example). Some have disrupted by pioneering an entirely new product or product category (energy drinks, coconut waters). Some have disrupted by applying technology to how the beverage is produced and packaged (lightweight containers) or by putting a product in a different style package (craft beer in cans).
The list goes on, as do the insights. Long live the Disruptors.