High Brew Coffee sees ‘hyper-growth’ of cold-brew drinks helped by $4m investment

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

High Brew's line of five cold-brew coffee flavors includes one dairy-free option.
High Brew's line of five cold-brew coffee flavors includes one dairy-free option.

Related tags Coffee

High Brew Coffee, a ready-to-drink cold-brew coffee manufacturer, is set to expand its distribution to several major markets including New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Austin, and Houston, thanks to a $4 million cash injection from CAVU Venture Partners and distribution partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple Group. 

Founded in 2014 in Austin, Texas, by David and Elizabeth Smith, High Brew Coffee currently has over 14,000 accounts in all 50 US states including major retailers such as Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Safeway, and Target.

Cold brew 101

Cold brew coffee is a method where coffee grounds are steeped in cold or room temperature water instead of hot water. The resulting drink is less acidic than regular coffee, and proponents say consumers can use less sweeteners as a result, according to Euromonitor International.

“Our cold-brew process delivers twice as much naturally occurring caffeine, 2/3 less acid and a smoother, bolder taste compared to traditionally hot-brewed coffees,”​ High Brew Coffee co-founder David Smith told Beverage Daily.

High Brew Coffee comes in five flavors: Double Espresso, Mexican Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate Mocha, and dairy-free Black & Bold, each containing less than 8 grams of sugar and 60 calories per 8-ounce can, with the exception of its dairy-free flavor which has 20 calories.

Cold-brew recognition

Consumer awareness of cold-brew coffee in the US is “very low,”​ according to Smith, an area High Brew Coffee is hoping to change.

“Most people still think cold-brew means iced coffee”

High Brew Coffee

“Most people still think cold-brew means an iced-coffee,”​ he said.  “As more brands and coffee shops develop cold-brew products, people will continue to learn the benefits which will prove this really is a trend and not just a fad.“

Major beverage franchises like Starbucks have also entered same market with its own line of RTD cold-brew coffee beverages.

“We are actually excited to see Starbucks enter into the cold-brew space because of the low consumer awareness,” ​Smith said.  “Their entrance will educate more consumers about the process and benefits which we welcome. High Brew just plans on making their cold-brew products taste better!”

Rapid expansion

Its explosive growth is a benefit as well as a challenge for the company, Smith told BeverageDaily.

“It’s very challenging to manage hyper-growth in early stage companies. We grew 270% YOY from 2014 to 2015 which was our first year in business,”​ Smith said. “Staying ahead of this growth with a solid supply chain, experienced sales and marketing teams, and the necessary capital to fuel the growth is essential."

Added functionality

High Brew will also release a dairy-free 'Latte' line this summer all made with almond milk.

“Over 30% of consumers in the US today are lactose intolerant. And we have another new line set to launch in Q3 that brings even more functionality to our cold-brewed coffees,”​ Smith said.

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