Taste Radio Ep. 70: Suja CEO Talks Making Your Own Luck; Kefir’s Moment

Ray Latif

Business isn’t something to be left to chance; sometimes you have to make your own luck.

Episode 70 of BevNET’s Taste Radio podcast spotlights a recent conversation with Jeff Church, the co-founder and CEO of Suja, a maker organic high-pressure processed juices, drinking vinegars, and kombucha. At the helm since 2012, Church has guided Suja’s remarkable ascent as the leading brand in a highly competitive category.

Recorded at Suja’s production facility in San Diego, Calif., Church commented on the role of luck in business, why consumer demand is critical to success, and how “the rule of twos” enables growth and development.

Also included in this episode, BevNET assistant editor Marty Caballero and senior brand specialist Jon Landis examined the emerging market for kefir, which has become a leading category in the gut health and probiotics movement.

Show notes:

1:21: Call Me Spicy — A warm-up on how peppery and piquant flavors continue to permeate packaged food and beverages. Hosts Ray Latif, John Craven, Jon Landis and Mike Schneider discuss stalwart ingredients and ones that are rising to the mainstream. The group also chats about food and beverage categories in which added spice works well and where it doesn’t.

8:01: Interview — John sits down with Suja CEO Jeff Church. The discussion includes Church’s thoughts on innovation, what “luck” really means, how owning your own production facility can serve as a barrier to entry for other brands in the premium juice space, the impact and benefits of Suja’s partnership with a large strategic, and upcoming collaborations.

36:49: Why Is Kefir “a Thing?” — Kefir appears to be gaining traction as more consumers seek out probiotic-laden beverages and foods. Landis and Marty Caballero talk about the origins of packaged kefir in the U.S. and the development of the category.

57:17: Elevator Talk — This week we chat with Bronya Shillo, the founder of Fishers Island Lemonade, a brand of spiked lemonade that was created at The Pequot Inn on Fishers Island, N.Y.

Brands in this episode: Suja, Lifeway, GT’s Kombucha, Maple Hill Creamery, Forager, Dahlicious, Water Kefir People, KeVita, Fisher’s Island Lemonade, 5 Stones Artisan Brewery

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