High Brew secures $17m funding: ‘We are just scratching the surface when it comes to the convenience channel’

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

High Brew secures $17m funding, 2m cases expected to sell in 2017

Related tags Convenience store

Austin-based High Brew recently closed $17m of new growth capital led by BIGR Ventures, further propelling the brand’s accessibility and penetration, and signalling investor sentiments that cold brew coffee has officially spread its wings beyond hipster coffee shops and is dallying with the mainstream.

"Witnessing the growth of High Brew over the past three years has been an amazing ride​,” said High Brew​ founder and CEO, David Smith. "With the closing of our Series B funding, we will be able to reach even more markets to elevate their coffee experience. As you can imagine, we are excited to write the next chapter in the High Brew story.”

Cans of High Brew’s cold brew coffee can be found nationally in retailers like Target, Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, and Sprouts. It’s also the number one selling cold-brew in convenience stores, according to Smith, citing data from Nielsen pulled on February 11, 2017.

But Smith wants to do more: “We are just scratching the surface when it comes to the convenience channel. This is not only a ‘sweet’ target channel, but also target consumer,” ​he told FoodNavigator-USA. “The C-store consumer now will have alternative and accessible options for natural energy and better tasting coffee that were not previously available.​”

Hot future for cold brew

Packaged and ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee sales have climbed consistently for the last few years. Though numbers vary, data from Mintel and SPINS both show that sales in the category have doubled year over year​ in 2015. It is expected to hit $18bn by 2020, according to data​ by market research company Packaged Facts.

Cold brew coffee’s growth has made it a contender to fill the void created by dropping soda sales​, and as a result, cold brew brands are like Stumptown​, La Colombe​, and a variety of smaller start-ups​ are gaining traction.

“The momentum is coming from diversified offerings with both pack type and ingredients that fit the consumer lifestyle. The consumer wants it all and they want it to be convenient, which is why we feel High Brew Cold Brew is well positioned,”​ Smith said.

How High Brew is standing out, according to Smith, is with its packaging. “The can fits an active on-the-go lifestyle, which is perfect for this channel,” ​he added. “The design breaks through the clutter of what was a sleepy section of the cooler/store.”

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