Cornelius is a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Firewater Media, a powerful combination of digital publishing, live events, and marketing capabilities, creating a multimedia company for the beer, wine, and spirits industries. Founded in 2008, our network includes B2C and B2B digital publishing, events and social media marketing for beer, wine and spirits brands of all sizes and capabilities. Firewater Media operates some of the industry’s most innovative consumer and trade platforms, including Bonfort’s Wine and Spirits Journal, Bottlebooks USA, Drink Me, Craft Spirits Carnival, San Francisco Vintners Market, Wine 2.0, RadCru, and Wine Blast. Prior to Firewater Media, Cornelius helped successfully launch Bulleit Bourbon and Don Julio Tequila with industry giant Diageo’s Reserve group. Cornelius has been a wine and spirits judge for the American Distilling Institute and WSWA annual wine and spirits competition, and he regularly reviews, beer, wine and spirits products for Drink Me and Bonfort’s Wine and Spirits Journal. He has conducted interviews with industry titans including Peter Mondavi Sr., Jean-Charles Boisset, Tom Bulleit, Tito Beveridge, and Martin Miller. Cornelius has been a guest speaker at the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium, the Wine Industry Technology Symposium, and Women for Winesense. Cornelius is interested in angel investments in innovative consumer products in technology, food, non-alcoholic beverages as well as beer, wine and spirits brands and companies.
Natasha Swords is an accomplished editor and writer with 20+ years of creative composition, reporting and management. She hails from Dublin Ireland where she held the position of Editor at Jemma Publications. Natasha honed her editorial skills by delivering engaging content on a wide range of topics, before finally focusing on the alcohol beverage and cannabis industries. She is Editor-in-Chief at Bonfort’s Wine and Spirits Journal as well as Drink me Magazine, where she leads all editorial content from story-idea generation to commissioning freelance writers and photographers. She also heads up CannEpoch, a lifestyle publication for the newly cannabis curious. In 2018, Natasha launched Bonfort’s Wine and Spirits Journal from inception, as well as the Bonfort’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a top-tier industry event connecting leading brands with key buyers. Steeped in the alcohol industry media, she was previously editor of Off-License Magazine, California Beverage News and Patterson’s California Beverage Journal (now Tasting Panel Magazine), and ran corporate communications for a number of alcohol supplier companies including TGIC (now Guarachi Wine Partners) and distributor, TITAN Wine and Spirits.
Philip Dobard is Vice President of the National Food & Beverage Foundation (NatFAB) and plays an integral role in all its programs. He serves as Director of The Museum of the American Cocktail and President of Pacific Food & Beverage, NatFAB’s Los Angeles-based West Coast operations. He leads Nitty Grits Media and produces NatFAB's Pacific Taste, The Thoughtful Feast, and Touring the Cocktail events. Under the Nitty Grits Media banner, he’s executive producing several web series, among them Drinking Heads, Eating Heads, Touring the Cocktail, and World Eats. Philip produced the series Deadtime Stories for Nickelodeon, and his film Grave Secrets enjoyed its world premiere at the San Diego Film Festival. He served as General Director of Opera Columbus and Professor of Arts Policy and Administration at The Ohio State University. At the University of New Orleans, Philip directed the Graduate Program in Arts Administration and conducted research sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and Pew Charitable Trusts. He completed graduate studies at UCLA, is an advisor to the Art Institute of California, Los Angeles, contributes to several publications, among them Bonfort's Wine and Spirits Journal, Drink Me Magazine, Nitty Grits, and The Tasting Panel Magazine, and regularly serves as a judge at cocktail, spirits, and cooking competitions.