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Oct 9, 2020

Carlton Fowler loves the occasional bottle of Miller High Life. But as the co-founder and managing partner of Goat Rodeo Capital, a venture capital firm focused on early stage investments in beverage alcohol, non-alcoholic drinks and cannabis-centric brands, his tastes are a bit more refined.

Since its inception in May 2019, Goat Rodeo has invested in eight companies, including ready-to-mix cocktail maker DRNXSMYTH, canned wine brand Archer Roose and Sourced Craft Cocktails, a service that delivers made-to-order cocktails. Goat Rodeo is also an investor in cannabis ingredient supplier Vertosa and cold-pressed lemon water brand Lemon Perfect. The common thread among these brands? They represent concepts that have a unique consumer proposition or go-to-market strategy, according to Fowler.

In an interview included in this episode, Fowler discussed why Goat Rodeo’s investment philosophy is rooted in his and partner James Pelligrini’s operational experience in the alcoholic beverage industry, as well as how he identifies new products that have a runway for success. He also explained why he’s bearish on alcohol-free alternatives in the beer, wine and spirits categories and how he evaluates the opportunity for cannabis-based beverages amid an uncertain regulatory environment.

Show notes: 

0:39:  Reflections On In N’ Out, Zico, Chicago Sauce and Grocery Outlet -- The episode’s hosts revisited a smash and grab in wine country and discussed a slew of upcoming events for BevNET and NOSH, including the next edition of Speed Dating, CBD Today and Tomorrow, New Beverage Showdown 20 and Pitch Slam 9. They also spoke about the news that the Coca Cola Co. will discontinue pioneering coconut water brand Zico, NOSH’s recent new product gallery and Jacqui’s eye-opening visit to a discount supermarket.

19:25: Interview: Carlton Fowler, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Goat Rodeo Capital -- Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Fowler about his striking LinkedIn headshot, how his experience working with wine conglomerate E & J Gallo helped shape his perspective as an investor and the three tenets that shape Goat Rodeo’s funding decisions. He also discussed how the firm analyzes the potential for non-alcoholic refreshment beverages and why he believes that a popular spirit-alternative brand worked because “it solved a problem for a customer, not a consumer.” 

Brands in this episode: Zico, Vita Coco, La Colombe, The Original Chicago Sauce, Bare Bells, Fat Snax, Super Salad Bar, Liquid IV, Hydrant, Magicdates, Vega, Amy’s Kitchen, Good Karma, Meatless Farm, Oggi Foods, Beyond Meat, The Little Northern Bakehouse, Kevita, Chosen Foods, Elmhurst Naturals, Archer Roose, Sourced Craft Cocktails, Drnxmyth, Lemon Perfect, Seedlip, Hoplark HopTea, CANN