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Speakers added: The importance of convenience in beverages

Representatives from Casey’s, TXB and Walgreens join an early list of panelists to speak at the virtual Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages on Sept. 29.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Total private label beverage sales surpassed $7 billion as of July 31, per exclusive data from NielsenIQ, up 2.3% compared with a year ago — and that data excludes convenience stores, a major retail channel for single-serve beverages and more.

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To dive more into this growing category, Store Brands has lined up leaders in the c-store set and grocery to discuss trends at the virtual Store Brands Industry Forum on Beverages. Just like the previous Store Brands Industry Forum on Sustainability and the Store Brands Industry Summit, the virtual event will include a keynote address, followed by four fireside panels with leaders of the industry. In between each 30-minute virtual panel are networking breaks to meet fellow virtual attendees.

Early confirmed speakers for the beverages forum include:

  • Brandon Wehmeyer, director of private brands, Boxed;
  • Erin Butler, private brands business manager, Casey’s;
  • Darla Rieg, director of DSD, beer & wine, and ethnic, The Giant Company;
  • Julie Joy, director of beer, wine, spirits, Rouses Market;
  • Kevin Smartt, CEO, TXB;
  • Dale Johnson, senior director DMM of grocery, perishables, household, pet/home essentials and tobacco at Walgreens.

The panelists above will sit on one of four panels covering four segments of beverages: coffee and tea, dairy, nonalcoholic beverages, and alcohol. Each panel will be moderated by Dan Ochwat, executive editor, Store Brands, addressing unique challenges facing the four segments and uncovering innovations within each.

And the category has been on fire. Retailers like Casey's have been active in the category, leaning into beverage as part of its own brand overhaul; TXB, formerly Kwik Chek, also underwent a rebranding initiative; Albertsons backed its Soleil brand with an innovative summer launch campaign, and CVS has taken a lead in sustainable own brand coffee, for a just a few examples.

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The half-day of education will dive into ethical sourcing within beverages, trends like non-dairy alternatives shaking up dairy, innovative sparkling waters, and newly launched on-the-go packaged alcohol and award-winning beer and wine portfolios.

More speakers will be announced soon, adding to the panels, but reach out if interested in being considered to join a panel or attend.

The event is free for retailers until Sept. 24, and manufacturers and solutions providers can attend for a fee or be sponsors of the event.