Gazpacho is HOT. Well, not literally. But metaphorically speaking, the cold soup is on fire, as proven by the fact that Miami-based Tio Gazpacho cleaned up at the BevNET Live Winter 2014 Conference in Los Angeles last week.
The company, led by founder Austin Allan, took home two titles amidst some stiff competition: Audience Favorite and winner of New Beverage Showdown 8. Plus, they were named Best Smoothie or Meal Replacement in BevNET's annual Best Of awards.
"Basically what they're looking for is a new, innovative but also scaleable and marketable product," Allan explains of the competition. For the Showdown, Allan was put through multiple rounds of pitches, and managed to win over both the judges and the audience.
For his final pitch, Allan says, "I just spoke from the heart. I got some really great feedback from the audience as it was happening. I just walked off the stage with a great sense of accomplishment i felt really good about what was happening."
The prize was $5,000 in cash, $5,000 in advertising from BevNET and a free ticket to the next conference. Allan says he definitely saw a trend towards more health-conscious beverages.
"This proved to me that we're on to something. There's definitely a lot of excitement around the concept and the brand in the industry," says Allan.
So far, Tio Gazpacho is only available in Florida, but that's just the first step. Soon, they'll be launching at Fresh Direct in New York City. Then, some other stores in NYC, followed by launching in New England in March or April.
They also launched their online store, so gazpacho enthusiasts can have their favorite blends shipped anywhere they'd like.
Allan also gave a shout out to Miami's The Coconut Cartel, who also won a prize at BevNet. They took home an award for Best Packaging Innovation.
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Kudos to Miami companies, killing it on the national scene!
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.