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May 22, 2018

Pretty much everyone has heard of Pirate’s Booty, the ubiquitous puffed cheese snack known for its quirky branding and eat-the-whole-bag appeal. If you’re in the food and beverage business, you might have heard of Robert Ehrlich, the creator of Pirate’s Booty. But to know the name is not necessarily to know the man. Inventive, eccentric, fearless, creative, and above all fun, Ehrlich has been extremely successful as a food entrepreneur; the sale of Pirate’s Booty netted him over $70 million. Money, however, hasn’t changed his passion for new and innovative ways to disrupt the food business. Inthis episode of Taste Radio, Ehrlich discussed what he’s learned from the Pirate’s Booty days, his approach to brand and product ideation, and why he may be creating new snacks until he’s 99 years old. Also in this episode: a conversation with Jim, Jake and Jordan DeCicco, the brothers and founders of Sunniva Super Coffee, a brand of functional coffee drinks enhanced with MCT oil and protein. While the DeCicco brothers have only been in business for a couple years, their youthfulness in age (Jim, the oldest brother, is just 25) and experience hasn’t stopped them from getting off to a roaring start, highlighted by an appearance on “Shark Tank” earlier this year. The DeCiccos discussed the origins of Sunniva, swimming with the Sharks and how their networking prowess has resulted in a roster of remarkable relationships (including WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann and NFL legend Boomer Esiason). And in the latest edition of Elevator Talk, we’re joined by Breezy Griffith, the co-founder and CEO of Skinny Dipped, a young, fast-growing brand of chocolate-covered almonds. Show notes: 2:25: Network With Interesting Folks and Hire Them: The hosts riff on networking opportunities at the upcoming BevNET Live and NOSH Live Summer 2018 conferences, with 1,000 industry professionals expected to attend the events. They also chat about a recent Boston Magazine profile on Bill Creelman, the founder and CEO of surging sparkling water brand Spindrift, featuring context on the man, brand and category from BevNET CEO John Craven, who’s quoted extensively in article; the U.S. launch of U.K.-based brand and New Beverage Showdown 13 finalist Ugly Water; and BevNET’s affordable and effective job board. 10:15: Interview: Rob Ehrlich, Founder, Pirate’s Booty/Vegan’s Rob’s -- Recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018, Ehrlich discussed his post-Pirate’s Booty business ventures, including Skinny Pop and Vegan Rob’s. He explained why he’s “always taking pitches,” constantly iterating and innovating with Vegan Rob’s by focusing on fast-moving trends and staying close to the ground by listening to feedback from “store employees, to consumers, to the kids to even the people on the line who make the products.” 29:24: Interview: The Brothers DeCicco, Founders, Sunniva Super Coffee -- We’ve heard many Taste Radio guests say that you can’t make it in the food and beverage business without hustle. Well, the word defines Jim, Jake and Jordan DeCicco, brothers and founders of Sunniva Super Coffee. In an interview recorded at BevNET HQ, they explained how their hard-charging approach to business and networking has resulted in the brand’s early success and an appearance on the ABC hit show “Shark Tank.” 54:04: Elevator Talk: Breezy Griffith, Co-Founder/CEO, Skinny Dipped -- Launched on a dining room table in Seattle, Skinny Dipped, a young, fast-growing brand of chocolate-covered almonds was co-founded by Breezy Griffith, who shared with us the vision and grand plans for the brand, all included in this edition of Elevator Talk. Brands in this episode: Madi, Spindrift, Ugly Drinks, Pirate’s Booty, Vegan Rob’s, Sunniva Super Coffee, Skinny Dipped