Speakers 2017

Speakers will come from all aspects of the international drinks business and will discuss Future Trends, Brand Creation and Development, Digital Marketing, Global Distribution and Sustainability offering a new ways of thinking to our business.


Richard Betts, Founder of Sombra Mezcal

After an academic journey that included a BS, an MS and nearly a JD, Richard finally found his way to his real love; Wine. While traveling in Italy, he fell in love with the country’s dining tradition and came to regard wine “as a grocery and not a luxury.” He served as the wine director at The Little Nell in Aspen from 2000 to 2008. In the spring of 2003, Richard passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Masters Exam on the first attempt, the ninth person ever to do so. He co-founded his own wine labels Betts & Scholl in 2003 and Scarpetta in 2006 as well as founding Sombra Mezcal in 2006.

Today, Richard spends all of his time guiding Sombra Mezcal, Astral Tequila, and his newest wine projects “My Essential” and “An Approach To Relaxation”. 

Richard is also the New York Times best-selling author of “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert” and “The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All”.  



Will Rowe, CEO and Founder, Protein

Protein is a global relevance consultancy. Protein’s recent Youth Report is an in-depth study of the behaviours and attitudes of Generation Z based on quantitative and qualitative research of over 4,500 early adopter youths (16-24 year olds). http://prote.in


Arne Koefoed, Founder and Head of Ideas at WINK

Event, experience, and environment designer, hippie, hooligan, tactile storyteller and experience architect on a mission to celebrate life, bring rapture, and make the world all right for a while and transforming the temporary nature of an event into an unforgettable “now”.  

As a fashion student with a lust for life and a raw talent for partying, Arne threw his first rave with the apt title Exhibit A in the late 80s – the infatuation was instantaneous. The unique mayhem of subculture, music, art, hospitality and zeitgeist was irresistible and proved to be contagious. At that time, Arne truly felt he had discovered an art form that was, by its very nature, interactive, immediate, interdisciplinary, hip-and-happening, disruptive, and most of all, loads of fun!

30 years later, Arne remains true to his original flavor. His ambition to spread his “Feel Good” mission on a global scale is limitless. At the same time, the effectiveness and necessity of live experiential marketing, combined with tactile “brand” storytelling as strategy, has been embraced on a global scale. And WINK as an original trailblazer is riding the wave! WINK is an experiential marketing agency with offices in Amsterdam and New York, committed to creating memorable moments through real experiences, events, and environments for bold brands. Rooted in the Netherlands in the wild and wonderful 90s. Born from multicolored acid parties in squatted warehouses, fresh festival experiences, 

and experimental fashion-shows. Innovators of the global event industry and claiming the zeitgeist, amplifying brands with authenticity, beauty, and magic – Enabling brands to touch and engage people by building immersive worlds and sharing tactile stories. 

“The Aim of the Game is to Feel Real Good!”


Zoe Lazarus, Global Future and Culture Planning Director, Diageo

Zoe Lazarus is one of the best known, most experienced and well-regarded trend experts in the communication industry, whose work has included advising brand owners, agencies and international press on the future direction of creative and consumer culture. Currently Zoe helps Diageo navigate and act upon the key consumer, category, and cultural, technological and competitive shifts taking place in the increasingly diverse global environment in which it operates. A highly experienced strategic insight and future trend forecaster, Zoe looks to future proof business models by anticipating change and ensuring cultural relevancy of marketing, brand and innovation strategies. With an agency background (sparks & honey, Lowe & Partners, Ogilvy & Mather) previous clients have included Pepsico, Nissan, Merck pharmaceuticals, Motorola and Smirnoff. Zoe is regularly quoted in mainstream and industry press on a range of cultural and consumer insight knowledge – Sunday Times, Guardian, Ad Age, Stylist, Internationalist and Riposte and is a regular keynote speaker at industry and external conferences inc. Cannes Lions, Eurobest and now Global Drinks Forum.

Tim Simmons, Senior Analyst & Global Head of Travel Retail, The IWSR

the IWSR is the world’s most-trusted data and insights company for the global drinks industry.The IWSR has created the world’s largest global database on the beverage alcohol market, and its team follows the innovations happening worldwide. They also track the consumption trends in all markets. Tim has been with the IWSR for 11 years, and by visiting many countries and interviewing the key professionals in the domestic and travel retail industries, he has a strong background in identifying those trends.


Nick Blacknell, Global Marketing Director, Havana Club

Nick Blacknell has held various positions in the drinks industry – starting as the Buying Controller of Oddbins Wine Merchants in the UK before moving into spirits.  As UK Director of Absolut (then part of Seagram’s Ideal Brands Division), Nick was an early adopter of the premium spirits/ cocktail trend, many years before it became mainstream and pioneered new ways of engaging with the trade and the bartender. Nick moved to Plymouth Gin as Global CEO before taking positions as Brand Director of both Beefeater Gin and Jameson Whiskey. Nick can now be found at the helm of Havana Club Rum as International Brand Director, based between Paris and Cuba.


Ivan Bell, Group Managing Director, Stranger & Stranger

Ivan started his career as a multidisciplinary graphic designer in London back in the 80’s and became fascinated with consumer brand packaging for alcoholic beverages. For the past 17+ years he has worked alongside Kevin Shaw, founder of Stranger & Stranger, in building the award winning packaging consultancy and overseeing design from their locations in London, New York and San Francisco. Stranger’s client base is diverse, from well known global brands to new start-ups. Ivan is passionate about brands that disrupt and stand out.


Greg Dillon, Brand Strategy, Stranger & Stranger

Greg is a brand strategy consultant with Stranger & Stranger who specialises in helping to create, build and fix brands in the whisky and spirits industry. He also authors the award-winning GreatDrams.com, Food & Drink Blog of the Year 2017 and he also has a book on whisky coming out in the Autumn. You can find him on Twitter @GreatDrams, Facebook.com/GreatDrams and Instagram @GreatDramsGreg.


Dan Gasper, COO, Distill Ventures

Co-founder of Distill Ventures, Dan started his career in the corporate drinks world working for Allied Domecq, Beam Global and Jose Cuervo International. In 2008, he recognized that the start up drinks scene was where his passion really lay, so he started his own business and began to work with start up businesses both inside and outside of drinks, helping founders launch and scale many of Europe’s most successful food and drinks businesses. Hugely passionate about all aspects of the drinks business, Dan spends his days at Distill Ventures supporting many of the invested brands as well as searching the world for the next generation of successful drinks brands, giving him a unique perspective on the global start up scene.


Adrian D. Parker, Vice President, Marketing, Patrón Spirits Company

Adrian D. Parker leads the global brand experience for Patrón Tequila, leveraging content, social media, events, public relations and trade education to drive demand for the #1 ultra-premium tequila in the world. Previously, Adrian was Global Head of Social and Mobile Media for Intuit’s QuickBooks and TurboTax professional software division. He also served as Director of Social Media and Digital Strategy at RadioShack Corporation where he led the company-wide customer engagement strategy.

Adrian’s agency and client side experience has produced successful programs for Foot Locker, ESPN, Nike, adidas, Liz Claiborne and Body Shop among others. Named one of the top Digital Marketers of The Year by Crain’s Magazine in 2013, Adrian also accepted a Forrester Research Groundswell award as recognition for top-performing B2C digital campaigns in 2011.  He has been honored by “Black Enterprise” magazine, “The Network Journal” and INROADS for his bold marketing strategies that helped transform American business.



Trash Tiki – Wastefree Punk Pop Up from Award Winning London Bartenders

Iain Griffiths of Mr. Lyan and Kelsey Ramage of Dandylyan have created a global initiative to address the issue of mass consumption the booming craft cocktail culture has created globally. With an online platform and regular international pop-ups, the aim of Trash Tiki is to show consumers and the bar industry the potential to create more environmentally minded drinks. Griffiths and Ramage’s combined goal is to put some feeling back into the increasingly emotionless topic of sustainability whilst inspiring others to follow suit.

“From ramen joints to high-end hotel bars, the purpose of taking Trash Tiki around the world is to see how cuisines and cultures waste different flavours by putting them in the trash rather than using the. Ultimately we will create a platform that is global in every sense of the word full of recipes and resources that allow the International community to see the breadth of potential behind the products we’re wasting every day” says Griffiths.

Ramage adds “An established bar has the additional challenge of always having to keep an eye on the day to day operations meaning drastic change can be hard. Operating for the time being as a pop up gives us the chance to be more dynamic and reactive, evolving and growing whilst still operating in the parameters of a normal bar. We hope this will enable the Trash Tiki platform to become a source of inspiration and knowledge that showcases the changes that the modern bars need to be more waste efficient and sustainable.”
Producing zero waste and helping to reduce the environmental impact of other bars. Trash Tiki is unapologetically different and will be a one of a kind bar.


Jacob Briars, Chairman, Global Drinks Forum 2017


Jacob Briars is one of the leading figures in the global cocktail and spirits community, and the Head of Training and Education for Bacardi, the world’s largest family-owned drinks company. He is recognised as one of the industry’s experts on drinks trends, as well as an award winning speaker and educator, culminating in awards for World’s Best Brand Ambassador and Best Presenter at Tales of the Cocktail Awards.

In 2013 he was judged ‘Mixologist of the Year’ by leading industry bible Wine Enthusiast Magazine. He began his career in the drinks business filling in weekend shifts whilst working as a lawyer in his native country New Zealand. After several years his passion for the bar and restaurant business became all encompassing, and he ran several world acclaimed bars in Wellington, becoming an award winning bartender in the process. At Bacardi Jacob leads one of the largest training programmes in the industry, creating thousands of professional young bartenders, and of course creating fans of some of the world’s most iconic brands including Bacardi, Martini and Grey Goose. Prior to Bacardi, Jacob was one of the first ‘global’ Brand Ambassadors on behalf of upstart Kiwi Vodka brand 42 Below, which used the power of Ambassadors around the world to make up for a traditional media budget it didn’t have.

He then moved to Brazilian Cachaça brand Leblon, where the company’s Ambassadors were promoting a country and a drink as well as a spirit brand. Jacob is a Judge for Drinks International’s ;Worlds 50 Best Bars’, appears regularly as a keynote speaker at major industry festivals such as Tales of the Cocktail, London Cocktail Week, and Bar Convent Berlin, and contributes to drinks publications including Bar Life, CLASS and Australian Bartender. His cocktails have graced menus in such famed bars as PDT (NYC) Callooh Callay (London) 28 Hong Kong St (Singapore) and the Copacabana Palace (Rio) among many more.

More speakers will be announced soon.