Winner Announced in National Pitch Room Contest
Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, a micro-lending and coaching program for small business owners working in food, beverage, hospitality and craft brewing, announced that Caputo Brothers Creamery has won the program’s 2014 national Pitch Room competition. Founded by the husband and wife team, Dave and Rynn Caputo, Caputo Brothers Creamery has developed a unique process for producing cultured/fermented cheese curds that can be stretched into some of the most fresh and flavorful mozzarella (fior di latte) available in the U.S.
As part of the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program, the Pitch Room is a national competition that helps small business owners perfect the art of the sales pitch, and the finals were the culmination of four regional events and a virtual Wild Card competition held throughout 2014.
Earlier this month, in New York City, nine food and beverage small business owners from Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania presented their best two-minute sales pitch to a panel of expert judges. After providing constructive feedback for each of the entrepreneurs, the judges selected the best pitch based on the quality of the presentation, creativity, passion, and product viability. The ultimate winner, Caputo Brothers Creamery, was awarded a $10,000 business grant and extended mentoring from Samuel Adams in 2015.
The expert panel of judges that joined Samuel Adams founder and brewer, Jim Koch, for the NYC Pitch Room finals included:
- David Burke, American chef and restaurateur
- Michael Conese, Vice President of Business Process, Fairway Market
- Alice Elliot, CEO and Founder, The Elliot Group
- Tony Giardina, Director of Distribution, Food/Beverage National Accounts, Delaware North Companies
- Ray Hennessey, Editorial Director, Entrepreneur.com
The other participants selected from four regional Pitch Room and the virtual Wild Card competitions included: Boston Joos, Newton, Mass.; HotPot Coffee, Chatham, New Hampshire; CoffeeCake Connection, Chicago; Torti Products, Highland, Indiana; Flapjacked, Broomfield, Colorado; and Noble Savage, Wheat Ridge, Colorado; Wandering Bear Coffee, New York City; and Brewnuts, Cleveland, Ohio.
"Our second annual Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room Final was a huge success," said Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams who was also one of the judges at the event. "Not only did we see great products and business models but the passion of the entrepreneurs who were pitching was infectious and inspiring. Our expert panel of judges gave great advice, and while there were some tough decisions they had to make, I truly believe every small business owner that pitched their product was a winner."
“We’re incredibly excited to win the Brewing the American Dream Pitch Room,” said Rynn Caputo. “We’ve already received feedback from the regional competition that’s really helped us, and we can’t wait to start the coaching and mentoring with the folks at Sam Adams. They have such a passion for helping small businesses and so much knowledge about the food and beverage industry that we feel working with their team could be transformative for our business.”