Nick Benz
Drink Talks

Nick Benz is a highly accomplished, results-oriented executive and the current President of Caliwater, a leading cactus water brand founded by actors Vanessa Hudgens and Oliver Trevena. His leadership has been instrumental in expanding US and International distribution, increasing brand awareness and driving rapid growth in the competitive plant-based hydration market. Nick’s strategic approach focuses on leveraging the unique benefits of prickly pear cactus water to meet the growing consumer demand for healthy, functional, and sustainable beverage options.

Nick’s leadership journey includes pivotal roles at notable companies like FIJI Water and Jackson Family Wines. Additionally, as the founder of Leaven Brands, he has transformed early-stage concepts into successful startups. Noteworthy examples include Richard’s Rainwater, Barrel Creek Provisions, and Betera, where Nick has utilized his investment and advisory skills to drive rapid growth. Early in his career, Nick worked for renowned chef Jean-Georges in New York. He holds a BBA from Gonzaga University, a Grand Diploma in Culinary Arts from the French Culinary Institute, and a Diploma in Wine from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust.

Event Introduction
Drink Talks
 · 06/25 (Day 1)
Wow, Drink It Up!
4.2H - Hall C1
Flavors Level Up
The Cactus That Challenges the Coconut: How Has The Rapidly Growing Cactus Beverage Been Developed?

At FBIF2017, we attempted to discuss the performance and potential of cactus in the beverage category. Six years later, the latest data shows that from 2018 to 2022, the compound annual growth rate of cactus-flavored beverages launched in North America and the UK was 56.51%.

Nevertheless, due to the uniqueness of the ingredient, there is still a lack of awareness about the category of cactus beverages.

The American cactus beverage brand CALIWATER challenges coconut water with the slogan “Why Coconut When You Can Cactus,” highlighting that cactus juice has fewer calories and more vitamins compared to coconut water. Since its official launch in 2014, the brand has grown rapidly, achieving a valuation of $100 million by mid-2022.

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