Episode 144
February 7, 2023

From Dreamer to Drink Magnate

with Bill Moses, Founder and CEO of Flying Embers

About this episode

Today, Lee is joined by Bill Moses, an influential leader, proven innovator, and inspiring mentor in the beverage industry. Bill is the Founder and CEO of Flying Embers, an alcoholic beverage brand that offers delicious, sugar-free, vegan, and certified organic canned cocktails, including flavored mojitos, hard kombucha, and hard seltzers. In this episode, Bill shares his lifelong love for napping and outlines how he started his career on Wall Street before navigating his first startup exit at just 32 years old, which ultimately led him to Ojai, California, where his popular beverage brand, KeVita, was born. Tuning in, you’ll learn how Bill sold KeVita to PepsiCo for $220 million in 2016, the story behind the name Flying Embers, and how a near-death experience with COVID in 2020 changed Bill’s perspective and enabled him to reestablish his business for success, plus so much more!

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In This Episode You’ll Hear About:

  • [03:37] Where Bill was “born and manufactured” and developed his appreciation for nature.
  • [05:36] How his propensity for dreaming helped him nurture the patterns and thought processes that enabled him to become an entrepreneur.
  • [08:15] The near-death experience that changed Bill’s perspective on life and business.
  • [13:20] Bill’s journey from Wall Street to CPG founder (which includes two startup exits).
  • [23:56] Why unyielding faith and commitment are crucial when faced with challenges 
  • [26:26] How the old cliché, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” rings true.
  • [34:24] Tips for first-time founders on how to remain open-minded and pivot as necessary.
  • [36:30] Why Bill believes that there is no room for arrogance or stubbornness.
  • [41:13] Facts about fundraising: the role that experience plays and how to foster confidence.
  • [44:03] The story of how Bill came up with the name, Flying Embers.

To Find Out More:

Flying Embers

Bill Moses on LinkedIn

Lee Greene on LinkedIn

Quotes:

“I always wanted to get into dream space. Maybe part of being an entrepreneur over the years, maybe that dream space is where I nurtured some of the patterns and thought processes that enabled me to do what I'm doing today.” — [0:06:09]

“I have a cold plunge. I get in my 45-degree plunge three, four times a week for four minutes or so. I got to tell you, the norepinephrine release out of that—talk about an amazing reset! Those are some of the things I do to keep myself balanced, and refreshed, and invigorated, and driving 7x24, which is what it takes to compete in building a brand.” — [0:11:52]

“There's something I love about building a company, and creating a culture, and watching people actually put liquid to lips, and have it be something that you created or crafted. That's really cool, but the grind of building and breaking through with a new brand is really hard.” — [0:17:59]

“Coming out of COVID, I really had to rethink things. I think the business suffered a bit because I wasn’t really sure, [after] having a near-death experience, that I wanted to jump back in.” — [0:18:21]

“When you're driving a brand and you're growing a brand, there's no time for idle thought.” — [0:20:15]

“Every company that is meant to win is a team of destiny.” — [0:24:02]

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going—you know what I mean; that cliché. That's a key piece to any entrepreneur’s success across any industry.” — [0:26:37]

“Sometimes, some of the best-conceived plans require pivots, adaptations, and alterations based on the learning, the market, target market, psychographic, demographic, usage, and occasion. All these things are very fluid in the early years, and sometimes, even as trends change. In food and beverage, they change quickly. Know that—whatever you believe today—you need to have an open enough platform to alter and innovate, to meet consumer preferences in the future.” — [0:35:30]

I would say to any entrepreneur out there, if you're taking meetings with folks that have done it and made it in the past and you have a weak spot, make sure you close that gap. And if you can't close the gap soon enough that in that meeting you have someone present that could address that topic or that particular function, corporate function in order so that you don't look ill prepared.  — [0:37:50]

“In today's world of TikTok and Instagram, etcetera, you’ve got to be a storyteller. You’ve got to tell stories about your brand that's relevant to your audience and the usage occasion.” — [0:40:12]

Read the transcript

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