Gooder Podcast

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Brewing Better with Betsy Frost

CEO of Hoplark Brands

Betsy Frost is the CEO of Hoplark Brands, a company brewing tea like beer, with the hops, but without sugars, additives or any fermentation; each with the sophisticated flavor of hops, without the alcohol or calories. Betsy’s marketing background creating and growing businesses and brands makes her the perfect fit for the company. She has experience across various industries, from startups to large companies, and has a real talent for managing complex projects and partnerships. Betsy is known for being innovative, leading the brands she works with to new ideas that lead to exceptional growth. Additionally, she is passionate about developing people and creating an inclusive workplace culture.

Key Takeaways

  • The Evolution of Hoplark Brands
  • The Sober Curious Space
  • Background Working at General Mills
  • Networking & Mentoring in Business

Quotes

“You don’t have to stay someplace if you’re not happy. There are a lot of options and not every place is the right fit, and that’s okay.” – Betsy

“Keep your eye open for new doors…be open. Say yes to things. Just say yes and see where it takes you.” – Betsy

Chapters

00:00 | Introduction

03:23 | Meeting Betsy at Expo West

04:33 | What is Hoplark?

08:18 | The sober Curious Market

12:44 | Working at General Mills

24:45 | Networking & Mentoring

28:16 | Creating Your Ideal Working Space

33:48 | Advice & Wisdom Learned Along the Way

36:33 | What’s next for Hoplark?

37:47 | Promoting Amazing Women

39:20 | Learn More About Hoplark Brands

This episode is brought to you by Retail Voodoo. A brand consultancy focused on building,growing and revitalizing brands in the food, beverage, health and wellness industries. If youare ready to find a partner that will help your business create a high-impact strategy thatgives your brand an advantage, please visit

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Transcript

Diana: Here’s a quick disclaimer. The views, statements, and opinions expressed in this program are those of the speakers. The statements are not intended to be product claims or medical advice. Hi, Diana Fryc here. I’m the host of The Good, her podcast, where I get to talk with the powerhouse women in the food, beverage, and wellness categories about their journeys to success and their insights into the industry. This episode is brought to you by retail Voodoo. Retail Voodoo is a brand development firm providing strategic brand marketing and design services for businesses in the food, wellness, and beverage industries. Our clients include Starbucks, Kind, RCI, PepsiCo, and Essential Water. If your goal is to crush your competition by driving growth and disrupting the marketplace with new and innovative ideas, give us a call and let’s talk. You can find out more at retail hyphen voodoo dot com. Okay. Now, today I get to introduce to you all Betsy Frost CEO of Hoplark Tea. Betsy is the CEO of HopLark Tea, a nonalcoholic brewery in Boulder, Colorado. She is a marketing and PR now leader who combines CPG experience with an entrepreneurial mindset to build businesses, brands, and big ideas. Betsy brings a unique combination of running business at General Mills for 15 years with experience advising and running startups, including a role as president of Dry Soda with her friend and mentor, Cheryl Clouse. Hello, Cheryl, who has also been on the show. She is an advisor to a number of women-owned startups, currently leads a women’s mentor circle through the Jedi and OSCE network used to run the Women in leadership organization at General Mills, and believes in the power of tapping into how we can uplift each other for the benefit of all. And before we officially welcome Betsy, just a quick shout out to Rachael Haines, one of the retail voodoo account managers who recommended that we connect with Rachel. It’s been very cool to connect with Betsy, so thank you so much for that. And Betsy, welcome to the podcast.

 

Betsy: Hey. Happy to be here.

 

Diana: Yay! Are you back in Minneapolis today?

 

Betsy: No, I’m actually in Boulder at the brewery.

 

Diana: Oh, okay. What’s the weather like? I swear, in the last couple of weeks, it’s been either 1400 feet of snow or sunny. I’m not sure what’s going on in Boulder today.

 

Betsy: It is snowing today. It was very fun. I get to come from the snow and go back to the snow in Minneapolis tonight. So thank you for that.

 

Diana: Well, we have an employee in Minneapolis and she said that she said that it’s been snowing for a considerable amount of time and it just stopped a few days ago. So hopefully, hopefully, you’ll come back in. It at least will be disappearing at some level.

 

Betsy: I don’t know. I’m ready for it to be over. Ready for it to be over.

 

Diana: Well, you know, you and I saw each other for a brief minute at Expo West last week, and that was certainly fun. For those of you that don’t know what Expo West is, it really is one of the largest food beverages and better-for-you brand consumer packaged goods shows in North America focused really mostly on that better-for-you type of products they had. Did you hear there were over 80,000 attendees this year?

 

Betsy: I heard that we were debating Europe. I heard I heard from New Hope. It was 70. I heard from a friend. It was 90. So let’s call it somewhere in there.

 

Diana: You know, call it 80. That’s the middle of the road line. Yeah. And how is the show for you?

 

Betsy: It was a great show. The people were out in force. We saw a number of retailers that we haven’t been able to talk to, a number of investors, and some superfans, which was amazing.

 

Diana: Oh, superfans are the best love superfans. Well, before we get too much into it, let’s start with Hoplark. Now I am referring to it as Hoplark Tea, but I think it’s no longer hot black tea. Is it just Hoplark?

 

Betsy: Walk now it is just Hoplark. Okay. And that’s because we are a nonalcoholic brewery based out of Boulder. If we were considered a brewery, we’d be the fifth-largest independent brewery in the state. Oh, my goodness. No alcohol. So we steep and basically brew hops and combine them with teas for our hot tea line. We also have a sparkling water line that has a single variety of hops. So you can actually taste the difference in each individual strain of the plant. And then we just launched what we call our zero line, which you can find in any beer set, which is our homage to beer. So they’re all zero calories, zero sugar, zero alcohol, full-flavored flavor bombs come.

 

Diana: Flavor bombs now then there was a new product that your team shared with me when we were chatting that was quite tasty. Remind me what that was. I think it was new and it wasn’t a line extension but from a flavor standpoint. But it was a net new product, is that right?

 

Betsy: Well, it’s going to come out under our zero line. It’s a hop sour. So it is our take on the sour beer that punches you up front and then it’s actually quite crushable in the end. Mm-hmm.

 

Diana: Oh, my goodness. Okay, so let’s talk about hot plaque. What is a hot plaque? What do you stand for?

 

Betsy: Yeah, we were started in 2019 by Dean Eberhardt our founder he is a tinkerer and craft beer lover and was taking a month off of drinking while he was doing Whole30. I was out at a brewery with his buddy and was just smelling the beer very, very hot nerdery and was like, Why is this flavor profile locked in beer for tens of thousands of years? Really, the only place that you can explore hops is within the beer. And so he moved around and tinkered with the distilling of his brewery equipment in his garage for about 18 months and reinvented kind of a way to brew just the hops without having any of the malt or sugars or fillers in the middle and hops on its own has kind of a bitter profile, which is a very interesting profile, if you like, beer, but it is also a plant and a flavor that brings out the flavor in other ingredients. And so you end up with this range of hopped products from an IPA type flavor all the way to these new unique flavors as we have in Hibiscus, or we just did a limited release with lavender where the hops just bring a fuller flavor to the experience and all of it is just done by brewing the actual plants. So the smell, flavors, or extracts are just truly flavors from the plants.

 

Diana: Interesting. I’d be curious. I’m wondering if we worked on a hops brand called Yakima Chief Hops a few years ago, and I’m wondering if you guys might be using some of their lovely hops or if you use another supplier.

 

Betsy: We do use some of their Hops, yes. We also use writing from Hops and some other folks. But we do use Yakima Chief Hops as well. Oh.

 

Diana: How exciting. I love it. Okay, so now you are in this kind of sober, curious space. What can you tell us about how this space is evolving right now as the consumer is evolving? Because my understanding is, there’s been some shifting in the last couple of years.

 

Betsy: Yeah, well, it’s interesting because, you know, at dry we cater to the sober curious as well. You know, Cherelle created that product or that product back in 2005 when the space was really about recovery and pregnancy. If you think about it that way. And what started to pop in 2018 was kind of the rise of sober curiosity in the US. We saw it kind of coming up through the UK and in Europe first, but it is the trying on of a sober lifestyle by people who may not have an addiction but want to think of sobriety as part of their health and wellness kind of lifestyle. And what we see is people, you know, the conversation back in 2018 was people like stopping drinking, just like taking it completely out of their lifestyle or doing spurts like dry January or sober October or dry July or just stepping out of it for a while, resetting and then coming back. And we’re definitely seeing the rise of that across the board. In fact, what’s interesting is this last January I was reading an article that had less participation overall than the year before as really we’re like coming out of COVID. Yeah, one of the reasons was that people are drinking less overall, so they didn’t need to take an entire month off. Interesting. But it really is part of how people are looking at health and wellness. Part of it is physical wellness, part of it is mental wellness and not wanting to have the hangover literal effects.

 

Diana: They get them.

 

Betsy: Of drinking. But what we’re now seeing is that you’re seeing people maybe not taking on a completely sober lifestyle, but just taking out occasions or drinking less of an occasion as well, which is a little bit where we come in is while people, a third of our consumers use us as a replacement for alcohol, two-thirds use us actually throughout the. A day. And so when they’re using us as a replacement, they’re either using us as a session extender, so I’ll have a drink, but I still want to be a part of the parties. We’ll have a different drink right on the plaque. But what’s cool about this product is that we’re actually taking hops from beer occasions into new occasions and categories with tea and water gods. So people are having a craft beer experience throughout the day feeling like they’re doing something a little naughty but doing something quite nice for themselves.

 

Diana: Well, and I, I’m curious on this side. So, for example, you know, I. I wonder how much of your audience just simply like the beverage. I know from a positioning standpoint, the sober curious community is really one where you want to anchor yourself, or at least somewhere around that. But I’m thinking of folks like myself who might just like the product itself because it has its reminiscent of alcohol. But as you said, you can drink it during the day. Are you seeing people who are just adding it to their pantry as part of a beverage?

 

Betsy: Yeah, we are. And definitely like the Sober Curious target is an important consumer for us, but we would actually say that our target, unlike other amaze, is actually the craft beer drinker. Oh really? What we’re doing is expanding this craft experience for folks to other parts and other categories, which is kind of a cool way to think about it. And a is to go after a drinker and then provide a better-for-you option that they can incorporate throughout their lifestyle, essentially.

 

Diana: Okay. Wow. Okay. I love that. Thank you. Well, let’s talk a little bit. I want to jump back and talk a little bit about, you know, how you have come here. We mentioned a little bit about your past. Can you share the story a little bit about how you came to General Mills because you didn’t start out kind in a marketing capacity? I think you might come from finance if my memory serves correctly. How did you find yourself in General Mills? Because you were there for 14 or 15 years.

 

Betsy: Ago by happenstance. So I actually did start my career actually in economic development and then moved over to a number of financial start-ups. So I worked at a life insurance platform place, and then I ended up at The Motley Fool, which does investment education, and I was helping them create DTC businesses. And everyone there was so passionate about what they did. You know, you had people running customer service who used to make well over $1,000,000 as brokers and, you know, in the finance industry would come for $40,000 and talk to people all day about their finances and manage their own portfolios. And they were just so passionate. And so I went to business school to start a business or work in a small business. And, you know, my goal coming out of college was like, actually just to live someplace I’d never lived. Oh, and do not work in corporate America. That was my stated objective in life.

 

Diana: And then you were General Mills in general.

 

Betsy: So I went to business school to really start something. And over that first year, one of the career counselors who’s now a great mentor of mine, Everett Fortner, said, This is your chance to do something big and get a big name on your resume. I know you don’t want to. I know you don’t want to be there, but there is cachet and importance in that in your career over time. So use this opportunity. Go to one of the big companies, and use it as a training ground. Stay for two years and you’ll be fine. So I had offers kind of across the board. What I liked about General Mills is that, in general, food is a passion area. It’s like where we connect as humans. You know, Cheerios was a lifeline long brand for me. Pillsbury. I mean, the brands meant a lot to me and to my personal life. But marketing at General Mills, like Brand management, is called the hub of the wheel, right? So they’re the general managers of the business. And there are organizations where marketing is more on the creative side and the kind of growth drivers. And then there are also companies where your brand manager is like your true general manager and other people kind of do the growth driving if you will. And General Mills is a combo of the two. Yeah, so you are the general manager, but it is equal parts business management and growth driving. Right? And I like that blend because I always saw myself as running a business, but I do it from a marketing-first mindset of thinking about the consumer and the value proposition that we’re adding. And so that fit for me. And I went there and I was like, I am out in two years, and then 15 years later here I am like.

 

Diana: Well, that is two years in corporate time. I think so.

 

Betsy: Is. And I did do it very intentionally though, and it wasn’t a set-and-forget mentality. Every year we did it, we would rotate through different businesses. So you’re changing a lot. You’re seeing a lot of different things. Every year I would go out on the open market and I would apply for jobs. I would see what was available. And for many years at Mills, the opportunities that I had internally far outstripped the opportunities externally. But I would make a choice. I would make a choice to stay and go to the next thing. And I had the opportunity to run an entrepreneur program there as an incubator of how to launch new products and disruptive products in the marketplace. I got to run the convenience and food service portfolio of product and innovation, and I got to run your play during the years when Chobani was disrupting the category and how to redefine a brand and find a place when you have been completely disrupted and pushed out of the position that you held. So the opportunities that I would choose were quite interesting. I mean, there were growth opportunities for sure. But while I was there, I started a program of entrepreneur mentorship when I was in this incubator. And the entrepreneurs loved it because they thought they got access to, like all of these smart people. And you’re like, I don’t know, we’re just people in a company. Yeah, but kind of the training that we had had at Mills, but really what we were doing was bringing those entrepreneurs to train our marketers and our R&D folks of how to be more agile and think more like entrepreneurs. Yeah. But through that, I started this network of entrepreneurs and it’s where my heart is. It’s where the way that I kind of approach business has always been more entrepreneurial and started to advise on the side. And that became my hobby of hanging out with entrepreneurs.

 

Diana: Side, hustle.

 

Betsy: Side. So I eventually left to do that.

 

Diana: Yeah. Okay. So yes, after 14, or 15 years, if you had been working with these brands and it sounds like you found your sweet spot.

 

Betsy: I did. And you know, it’s interesting when people leave big corporations, sometimes it feels like this giant like your personality gets caught up in these cultures. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. But for me, I always knew that General Mills and I were going to break up. The question was when? Yeah. And, you know, like, it’s not a. It’s not a big thing. It’s just kind of like, when do you feel like you stop growing? Yeah. And there was a point for me where it was like, okay, like, I know this system. And I get it. But I felt like I was shrinking. And so it was my time to kind of go see what else was out there and the energy that I get from small companies because they inherently have to look outwards. Yeah, right. Like, yeah, you don’t have any time to kind of have a meeting internally. You are out meeting the consumer, trying to get distribution lines growing in the marketplace. And that external or marketplace perspective is what gives me energy. Mm-hmm.

 

Diana: I love that. And you mentioned something this is something I have asked a few people before, but the first time I in the first time I asked it was of Jane Miller and kind of that shift of working from a multinational and stepping into an entrepreneurial brand and how not just the environment of startup was sort of its sort of whiplash. She didn’t use that term but it’s very it’s a severe change because you go from having redundancies and budgets, resources, and in a type of environment to a startup where it’s you oftentimes, you know, up until a year, maybe even until you’re an $80 million brand, you could be a couple of people before you really start to have the kind of budgets that you need to be doing the grow. So I can not through my own personal experience, but from these other women that I’ve interviewed, I can appreciate the difference between going from General Mills to a sort of entrepreneurial brand. The fact that it was more of an easy slide for you than maybe some others that we have witnessed through some of the work that we have done. Like that, that’s a thing. I think you either naturally have that skill or you have to build muscle. And sometimes that muscle requires a lot of training and nothing wrong with it. It’s just, you know, be prepared, right?

 

Betsy: Yeah. I mean, I was always with what I called it, I mean, even in college when I played softball, I was a player-coach and I played up and down pretty well. I like to get in the weeds a little bit, which can drive some people crazy. Um, so I’ve learned not to and to enable people to do things. But, you know, I like to say you have to be able to flip flop from, you know, driving a category strategy and a five-year vision of where we’re going and what the fundraising strategy looks like to order the business cards. Mhm. Yep. That’s what you’re doing. You may have to pay taxes today. Yeah. You got to be able to flex and be comfortable with it.

 

Diana: Absolutely. And things I don’t, I don’t use, things can’t be beneath you. I don’t want to. Yeah. It’s not that people feel things are beneath them but sometimes. When you’re not working in a small environment and you come into a small environment, you really actually don’t know what the extent of your responsibilities are going to be until you get there. And in a true entrepreneurial spirit, you might be a CMO or a CEO and you may be answering phones or uploading social media, and that’s the fun of it, but you have to be prepared for it. Yeah, you.

 

Betsy: Do. Yeah. It’s like there was a period in the last few months where our direct-to-consumer customer service person left and I had a shift answering customer responses over a few hours a week. And um, and also everyone should do that. That’s the other way, right? You gotta remember to stay close to the consumer. Absolutely. Maybe it’s not every week, but every month. Yeah, everyone should be kind regardless of the level of the company. Absolutely. Spending time with our consumers.

 

Diana: Absolutely. I so when I was in high school, I worked in fast food college, I worked in fast food, and I had friends that worked in retail. And I believe that everybody should have at least six months of interfacing directly with the general public in their life at some point. At the very minimum, I like your idea of regularly dropping in, but getting that face time, not the sanitized, cleaned-up response deck, but having to respond to somebody who. Where things didn’t go sideways. Getting positive responses is great, but the learning is in something that happened and then the strength of the brand is how you handle it. Something happened. That’s the strength of the brand is being able to overcome it and taking it and not taking it on the chin, but just, just going, okay, that’s how this how we’re going to fix it for you.

 

Betsy: This is a real thing. Yeah. And how do we show up for you?

 

Diana: Yeah. Yeah. So let’s talk a little bit more about this. Connecting, networking, mentoring. I know you’re with SKU. You also have a couple and briefly tell us what Skew is here. But quickly, you have a passion here for growing people. And yeah, I’m curious as we see more and more women entering food and beverage, I feel like there are so much more now than ever for some from nontraditional backgrounds or even no backgrounds at all. I can’t tell you how many phone calls I get from somebody who has been making something in their kitchen for the last 15 years, and now it’s time to make it. Really. What are you encouraged by when you’re out here doing this work?

 

Betsy: Yeah, I mean, I’m encouraged by the talent that exists. I, I do believe very strongly that women need networks. So SKU is a new products incubator for most products in the natural space. When companies apply, they get accepted or not, but then they get a team of mentors that works with them through. I think it’s a 12-week course to hone their pitch. And usually, they come in with an issue that we’re working on. I worked with an incredible company called Noblel, which is a real veggie burger from two amazing women out of Charlottesville. And it was just that Christine had taken a family recipe that’s a lentil-based burger. People loved it. And she built a business on catering around it and commercialized it and been selling it regionally. And her sister or daughter, Lizzie, joined her. And now they have this company and they got Whole Foods’ national distribution while we were working with them. And the question is like, what do they do next? How do you grow this thing? We know how to do this, how do you expand? And so that’s business networking, right? And getting the right resources to the right founders. And O.C. Jedi is about increasing both the presence of women and diversity in leadership and as entrepreneurs within the ecosystem. And it is our job as professionals to provide that. The base of knowledge and understanding and what we have learned to give more opportunities to drive success across the entire base like we are. The industry is better when we are better represented. Agreed, we have more diversity. I mean, it’s been proven many times that companies that have women leaders are more profitable, more successful in the marketplace and. But we also bring humanity. And as women leaders, there is still very much a leadership gap, like about 50%, a little over 50% of the workforce of people coming in are women. So about 56%. And yet we still do not see like the funnel is real and we don’t see the representation at the top. Yeah. And it’s not getting better. Like that the gender divide is not closing. Yeah. In fact, over COVID, it has started to widen again as women are taking on not only their jobs, but they’re once again taking on more at home. Yeah, they’re taking the leadership role to drive diversity, which is like a plus-one job. Yeah. At their jobs. Mm-hmm. And so the level of strain to stay in the game or to put enough focus on yourself to be able to move up the ladder is hard. And so the broad base, like it’s proven that both men and women need a broad-based network to succeed.

 

Diana: Right. Right.

 

Betsy: But women who have a close circle of intimate relationships within their working environment are 2.5 times higher pay authority and roles. And so as women, we need this group of people that you can lean on, whether it’s a mentor circle or your own personal board of directors to work through what’s going on in your work and life environment. And what we find is that or I find personally, having those connections gives me the confidence to get over. You know. To get over the hurdles that are in front of you every day and day, like, Nope, that guy could go through it like I can too, right? Or Oh, that’s a different way to look at this and bring in a perspective that gives me more confidence to kind of move through life.

 

Diana: Yeah, I get that. I’m curious about your thoughts here. One of the things that I learned from Killa Kyra Dilley, who’s over at Frito-Lay, is she said the number of women startups, I think, is outpacing the number of men mostly, and the number of single mothers is a pretty second is pretty significant of the women in the startup sector in food and beverage. Of course, I can’t. I don’t know if we can speak. And I’m curious about your thoughts on the fact that women are sort of in some respects driving innovation by default because, you know, they’re creating jobs in order to find a work environment that works for them. And so they create their own work environment, but subsequently, they’re coming up with new ideas. It’s just an idea that popped into my head. But I’m curious about your thoughts on that.

 

Betsy: Yeah, I mean, I, I think it’s amazing and remarkable. But what we’re seeing is exactly what you’re saying and I think we’re also starting to see it through Bipoc founders as well that the products when. Services and the work environments that I want to be in that support me as a person doesn’t exist. So I’m just going to go create.

 

Diana: It, make it myself.

 

Betsy: Make it myself. And like, that is remarkable. And that’s yeah, that’s of course, women have that energy. Yes, they do.

 

Diana: Like.

 

Betsy: We’ll figure out a way to make it and.

 

Diana: Absolutely.

 

Betsy: Manifest it and to be.

 

Diana: Absolutely. And I also think that. Hmm. In some ways, like up here in the multinationals. If, though, we’ve got BIPOC people with disabilities, women are underrepresented because they don’t feel heard or the opportunities aren’t available or what have you. And that knowledge is state and passion goes. To more entrepreneurial brands in some ways. In some ways, I want to say that there’s progress in this. Correct. And hear me out. You may completely disagree with me, but I’m thinking to myself, no other time in history has this group of people had access to the ability to create a business. When I was a kid in the eighties, I didn’t know anybody that was starting a business. And my kids know plenty of people that have started businesses. So I feel it’s a weird kind of progress, but progress nonetheless. Does that make sense? Am I crazy in my thinking there?

 

Betsy: No. I mean, like exposure to new things like opening up the world. Yeah. And like, I think of it as my own daughter who’s five. And, you know, when I was five, my mom was a teacher and my dad worked at a bank. And, like, I didn’t really know that there were others like, I didn’t know even that, like something as General Mills existed, right? Even though Warner-Lambert was in my backyard. Oh. And so we had to grow up in New Jersey. There were large multinational food companies, but I didn’t know brand management was a thing. Like people were a teacher. You know, my daughter, like, is already creating her own businesses. Like, that’s like how she plays. She’s like, Today we’re going to have a blueberry farm. And so you’re like, okay.

 

Diana: Why not?

 

Betsy: But like her exposure to people creating things is very different. Yes. And I love that.

 

Diana: Yes. Wow. Well, Betsy, I want to come back. Well, I don’t know if it’s coming back to you, but. As we are starting to wrap up the podcast, there’s a few things that I like to ask, and one is what kind of advice do you find yourself giving others on a similar journey as yourself? And that is you started someplace that was really a catapult for someplace else.

 

Betsy: Yeah, I think there’s two things that I often tell people. One is you don’t have to stay someplace if you’re not happy. Like, there are a lot of options and not every place is the right fit. And that is okay. And you should need to have the ability to say, like, it’s okay. Like you guys have your values. I have mine. Like, this is not the right cultural fit, and go find the right place for you. The amount of energy that people put into staying in the wrong environments. Yeah, it’s ridiculous. So that’s one. Like, it’s okay. Like, let’s go find the right place for you. The second is to keep your eye open for new doors. And like, there’s strength in having a plan for sure. And like, thinking like, oh, I think that’s what success looks like for me, right? Because then you have some if you set a point, you know how to get there. But if you are only stuck on that point, you miss these amazing doors that open themselves and that can take you on a journey that you didn’t expect. Mm-hmm. And so be open. Like, say yes to things. Just say yes and see where it takes you. Mm-hmm. But, you know. You got a start. And so I had a great mentor who was Eric Ride home, who ended up being an Emmy Award-winning producer of Pardon the Interruption, but he was one of the three founders at The Motley Fool when he was leaving that school. He was like, When I retire one day, I want to occasionally write an article for the Chicago Tribune, a sports article. He’s like, I guess I have to write an article. At all. He writes an article he submitted. Of course, like Eric, it gets picked up and published and his role, he worked at ESPN and his first job, his whole boss sees it calls him. Next thing you know, he’s like an Emmy-winning producer. Pardon the interruption. Of course, that’s how life works. But you always have to write the article, like just do the one step and then see what doors open. Mm-hmm. And then be willing to explore those doors as you go. And you’ll actually find where you need to end up. And it might be different than what you thought. Yeah.

 

Diana: I’d love that P.O.V. That’s pretty fantastic. Well, so what’s next for you or Hoplark? What can you share with us? And what do the next six months look like?

 

Betsy: Yeah, well, we’re super excited. You know, I just started this role as CEO in January. And so.

 

Diana: Official.

 

Betsy: Official. And we are looking at making the brand more holistic, telling more stories about the brand itself. People love the product, but we really haven’t built the brand or tapped into the power of the community that we have. Mm-hmm. We’re gaining some distribution, so look for it in your stores in both the tea set, the wider set, and the nonalcoholic beer set. But we’re just really focused right now on building that community, living our best life as these hophead nerds that we are. We’ve been creating some really fun content. Not so drunk history, for example.

 

Diana: That’s fun. Super fun.

 

Betsy: We’ve got a lot of fun things coming up here.

 

Diana: Oh, my goodness. That sounds great and I’ll be looking forward to that. Okay. I have one last question before we wrap it up. And it’s this. Are there any other women leaders that you would like to elevate for the work that they’re doing right now?

 

Betsy: Well, I, I’d like to just shout out to kind of one of my circles. Okay. I have a group of women who are all from General Mills and wonderful ex-General Mills ers who all have created their own careers. Gayle Peterson, who’s the CMO of Ecolab. Elizabeth Daly, who actually still runs recruiting at General Mills. Sebastian Tanaka, who is Chief Commercial Officer over at some doing some awesome work.

 

Diana: Yeah.

 

Betsy: Joanna Vargas, who is now a fractional CEO at Noble with Christen and Lizzie and the amazing work that they’re doing. And Angie Rossi, who’s my co-leader in O.C. Geddie, runs innovation at being Filipino and Sam Filipino. And. And this group of women is my constant network. Someone where whatever problem you have, at least once a day, I get a text from one of them. And to be able to support and lift up each other’s journeys as we go and run companies and influence and build a network out of that. We have a whole network of other companies that we work with and amazing founders. And it’s just been a remarkable network to be a part of.

 

Diana: Oh, that sounds amazing. I’m super jealous. Yeah. Well, thank you so much for that. Now, we have been talking with Betsy Ross, CEO of Hop Clark. Betsy, where can people learn more about you and your company?

 

Betsy: You can find us at Hoplark.com or follow us at Drink Copilot and Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn, And you can find me at LinkedIn at Betsy for us.

 

Diana: Love it. Thank you for your time today, Betsy. I am so happy to have spent this time with you and I look forward to seeing what’s next through the work you’re doing. Thank you. And yeah, thank you listeners for your time today. If you like this episode, please share it with a friend. Otherwise, have a great rest of your day and we’ll catch you next time on the Get Her podcast.

 

Produced by Heartcast media.

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For Diana, a fierce determination to pursue what’s right is rooted in her DNA. The daughter of parents who endured unimaginable hardship before emigrating from Eastern Europe to the U.S., she is built for a higher purpose. Starting with an experience working with Jane Goodall to source sustainably made paper, she went on to a career helping Corporate America normalize the use of environmentally responsible products and materials before coming to Retail Voodoo.

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