From The Ground Up Trade Show Supports B.C. Local First

Copy of Food innovation blog post (2)

From Williams Lake to Castlegar and Saltspring Island to Surrey, we welcomed 68 exhibitors from far and wide across the province in May at the 2023 From The Ground Up Trade Show, the only 100% B.C. local food and beverage trade show.

Exhibitors represented varying stages of business from start-up to emerging to established, and highlighted diversity in the food and beverage sector across B.C.

We welcomed: 

  • 50 exhibitors brand-new to the show
  • 47 women-owned and -operated businesses
  • 22 newcomer-owned and -operated businesses 
  • 19 BIPOC-owned and -operated businesses
  • 4 social enterprise/venture/non-profits
  • 3 youth-owned and -operated businesses (under age 30)

Food is a connector, and we love to see folks from across the province connect and share their diverse experiences through food and beverage. Ultimately, we want to empower innovative food and beverage processors to multi-market channel success while we engage buyers, distributors, and food industry professionals to choose and support B.C. local first. 

Barnside Brewing crafts a winning product with Road Pop Sparkling Hop Water

Each year, From The Ground Up Trade Show attendees vote on Outstanding Product of the Year, and the 2023 winners are: Barnside Brewing, Gold; Hazel’s Ice Cream, Silver; Taste Buddies Gourmet, Bronze. 

We connected with this year’s Outstanding Product of the Year Gold winner Ken Malenstyn of Barnside Brewing to ask about his experience at From The Ground Up Trade Show, and learn about the journey from product idea to award winner for Barnside Brewing’s Road Pop Sparkling Hop Water. 

Tell us what it feels like to win top product of the year! 

“From the Ground Up was our first trade show (or experience of any kind) in this sector. We’ve traditionally been a craft beer producer, made up of farm families growing the various ingredients and brewing right here on our Ladner, B.C. farms. So, to show up with a brand-new product for us and then win top product of the year was an incredibly rewarding experience, both personally and professionally.”

What was the journey like to get your product from the beginning idea stages to a finished product for the trade show?

“This product launch has happened very quickly for us. The non-alcholic category is one we’ve been watching and considering for some time, but it wasn’t until a few months ago that we really decided to commit to entering it. We always knew Hop Water was a best fit for us, as we are hop growers and craft beer brewers primarily. We dove into the market research and did some R&D, and pretty quickly we knew we had something really fantastic on our hands. Simple, refreshing, and healthy. A great alternative for those interested in moderation or the sober-curious.

The product name and label came together quite fast as well, and the next thing we know a colleague recommended we try and test out our product at From The Ground Up Trade Show. It was only a few short weeks away, but we decided to go for it and see what we could learn. And boy did we learn!”

What connections did you make at the show? Any further successes that you would like to share?

“From the moment the show opened, we had very engaging conversations with everyone who came by the booth. I was surprised at how willing people (buyers, distributors, media, etc.) were to spend five minutes discussing our product and where we saw it in the market. It was also hot that day so we may have benefited from having refreshing and cold beverage samples! We had great connections with retail buyers, distributors, and more. We came away with a good deal of homework! Conversations quickly went from a simple investigation of our concept to figuring out how/where/when to get it to market (which we are in the midst of right now). We are in exciting times, for sure.”

Were there any surprises, or eye-opening moments from the trade show or conference?

“One of the things I enjoyed the most was taking time to wander around and visit other exhibitors. It truly was an amazing array of dedicated B.C. producers and processors, all with really solid product offerings. Plus, people were genuinely wonderful! We even made some good connections in terms of collaboration on other products and our business in general.”

Lastly, because it’s almost summer, we need to know where we can get our hands on your seriously refreshing Road Pop Sparkling Hop Water:

“Road Pop Sparkling Hop Water will likely start hitting the shelves this June. We’ll be launching through our traditional channels on the Liquor retail side first, but expect to see us in selected grocery and specialty stores fairly soon! Of course, you can always stop by Barnside in Ladner for a taste of our Sparkling Hop Water, or any of our locally grown and brewed craft beers.”

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Thank you to Ken for sharing Barnside’s experience. Learn more about From The Ground Up Trade Show and keep posted for the 2024 date–because who knows, maybe your latest idea will be next year’s Outstanding Product of the Year!

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