Press ReleasesOregon Entrepreneurs Network Announces Winners of Inaugural Food and Beverage Showcase

Portland, Ore., — The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) is pleased to announce the winners of its inaugural F&B Showcase, presented October 2 at North Portland’s Leftbank Annex. The Food and Beverage (F&B) Showcase convened food and beverage entrepreneurs and other professionals in the space, as well as investors and service providers.  

The event, which was part of the Built Up Festival, focused specifically on food & beverage entrepreneurs.

After a series of audience votes, including a one-minute final “face-off” between the top four, three-minute presentations, the audience selected the winners, which includes companies from across the state:

RAFT/Improper Goods (Portland)WINNER, THREE-MINUTE PRESENTATION

RAFT took the top prize for the three-minute presentation group, which included shelf space at Green Zebra, consulting on risk management, legal fees, financial forecasting, FSMA guidance and a table at the Eat Oregon Now Holiday Marketplace. Improper Goods makes RAFT and The Bitter Housewife with all natural, small-batch cocktail ingredients.  

Riff Cold Brew (Bend) – RUNNER-UP, THREE-MINUTE PRESENTATION

As runner-up in the three-minute presentation group, Riff Cold Brew received shelf space at Green Zebra Grocery. Riff produces delicious cold-brewed coffee with two simple ingredients: sustainably sourced artisanal coffee and pure Cascade mountain water.

Wheyward Spirit (Eugene) – WINNER, ONE-MINUTE PRESENTATION

Wheyward Spirit took the top prize for the one-minute presentation group, which included shelf space at Green Zebra, branding/marketing/packaging consulting, bookkeeping, and a table at the Eat Oregon Now Holiday Marketplace. Wheyward Spirit makes spirits from excess artisanal whey with a craft yet scalable approach.

The winners of the competition won a host of resources to help them reach the next stage of their development. “We are excited to be working with great organizations such as Green Zebra Grocery, The Radical Brand Lab, and Built Oregon to put on this event,” said Marissa Schwartz, OEN’s Cluster Manager. “Connecting F&B resources with entrepreneurs, no matter where they are from, is a critical part of OEN’s mission and the F&B Showcase allowed us to do just that.” The event was sponsored by investors and service providers interested in the food and beverage industry, including Tonkon Torp law firm, Perkins & Co., Oregon Venture Fund, Meriwether Group, and many others.

The presenting companies ranged from F&B tech (including Dine Smarter, NexGarden, and Savorease) to consumer products (including GoodMoon, La Familia Beverage Co, The Cracker King) to scaling restaurants (including Carioca Bowl, and Crisp). There were a total of 24 presentations from F&B companies from across the state, as well as a panel discussion, a keynote on sustainability practices, and a food fair. About 200 people attended the event, chronicled on social media with the hashtag #tasteoen.

A total of 14 companies gave three-minute presentations:   

  • Nexgarden – Skyler Pearson
  • The Cracker King – Jovani Prince
  • The Real Co –  Belal El-Banna
  • Carioca Bowls – Richard Matusow
  • Fuller Foods – Jack Kuo
  • GoodMoon, LLC – Sarah Wang
  • Goodnuss – Lizz Hampton
  • Raft/Improper Goods – Dan Brazelton
  • La Familia Beverage Group – Jose Gonzalez
  • Mindful Proteins, Inc – Sean Penrith
  • Riff Cold Brewed Coffee – Steve Barham
  • Savorease – Reva Barewal
  • That’s Good Garlic – Karla Van Schoiack
  • Woke Baking – Jon O’Keefe

In addition, 10 companies gave one-minute presentations:

  • Crisp –  Emma Dye
  • Best Damn BBQ Sauce – Mike White
  • Wheyward Spirit – Emily Darchuk
  • Clutch Coffee Roasters – David Schwanke
  • Food Smart LLC – Julie Wasmer
  • Swift Cider – Aidan Currie
  • Black Street Bakery – Dashia Fontleroy
  • BG Reynolds Syrup – Blair Reynolds
  • Dine Smarter Holdings – Donald Milford
  • Great Life – Lucinda Whitacre

A panel discussion, titled “Journey From Spark to Success,” was moderated by Lisa Sedlar, CEO of Green Zebra Grocery and included Dave Dahl, Co-Founder of Dave’s Killer Bread; Ana Chaud, CEO and Founder of Garden Bar; Lisa Herlinger, Owner of Ruby Jewel Ice Cream; and Duncan Berry, Co-Founder of Fishpeople. Elizabeth Nardi, CEO of Organically Grown, gave a thought-provoking keynote on sustainability practices in the industry.

Following the awards presentation, the group gathered for a food fair, where attendees could taste the food of everyone who presented, as well as other showcase applicants who did not present.  

About OEN

A nonprofit, membership-driven organization with a 27-year track record, OEN is the heart of Oregon’s entrepreneurial community. Its mission is to drive innovation, facilitate job creation, and put Oregon on the map as a center for entrepreneurial excellence. Learn more at oen.org.

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