Stockton Graham & Co. launched nitro cold brew coffee in Raleigh on May 22 to rave reviews during the four-day local celebration of good taste called The Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. On June 10, we will launch our nitro solution nationally at Coffee Fest Dallas. Drop by Coffee Fest booth #917 to speak to our coffee experts and sample the brew.
At the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival, customers lined up three-deep to taste our refreshing, sweet brew, which was featured in partnership with Café Helios. For the un-initiated, nitro coffee is cold brewed coffee that is infused with nitrogen gas. The gas transforms the cold coffee into a creamy, fizzy non-alcoholic beer-esque drink that can be enjoyed anytime of the day or night.
The Business Case for Nitro Cold Brew Coffee
Offering nitro coffee is a slam dunk for an independent coffee shop, restaurant or bar, according to Thom Swain, Director of Southeast Sales for Stockton Graham & Co. Both the Specialty Coffee Association of America expo in April and the National Restaurant Association show in May featured nitro coffee prominently and booths offering nitro coffee were packed.
It’s no wonder. There hasn’t been a alcohol-free beverage option in recent history that hit the sweet spot in terms of demand, profitability and ease of implementation. Here’s a break down of the business case for nitro cold brew coffee:
Profits: Roughly $1 in costs, which include coffee and nitrogen gas, can create a 12oz beverage that can sell at $4-$5. That’s a 400% profit.
Implementation: Simple nitro systems are readily available at craft beer supply and home brew supply stores. A basic system will cost roughly $1000, and will break even at 250 servings. Many independent shops are reporting sales of 5-10 gallons (or 50-100 servings) of nitro a day.
Differentiation: Nitro is a product that is becoming known to more customers but that is still generally difficult to find. “Shops that develop a nitro program now will be ahead of the curve, positioning yourselves as a destination for nitro even before the product becomes more available,” said Thom Swain.
Demand: Nitro appeals specifically to millennials, who according to a 2016 survey by TD Ameritrade, spend more money on out-of-house coffee than any other demographic. “Offering nitro will shore up this demographic and have this coveted demographic in your store morning, noon and night,” Thom said.
Our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee Recommendation
Through our research we have found that consumers in the 18-35 age group grew up on soda and have an affinity for the sharp, fruity flavor of phosphoric acid that gives soda its “pop.”
With that in mind, we recommend using East African coffees tapped with beer gas. This summer, we are recommending our Tanzania Peaberry that features juicy citrus and berry flavors. The nitrogen brings out a cane sugar sweetness that’s reminiscent of good southern-style sweet tea.
For a crisper and more fruity brew, you might try our Ethiopia Limmu. This limited-edition, natural-process, single-origin coffee provides a clean, sweet mouth feel and pops with the flavors of strawberry, raspberry and rose hips.
Both Tanzania Peaberry and Ethiopia Limmu are roasted to order at our Raleigh NC coffee roasting facilities.
When it comes to preparing and serving nitro cold brew coffee, a variety of systems are available. You may opt for a custom-made jockey boxes like the one we prepared for Café Helios at the Raleigh Food & Wine Festival. There are also relatively inexpensive countertop coolers and more elaborate full kegerator beer tap systems. Either of these options are available at places like Home Depot, home brew stores and restaurant supply stores. The team at Stockton Graham & Co. can discuss options based on your business concept and traffic and provide step-by-step guidance on brewing, gassing and serving nitro coffee.
If you are in Dallas for Coffee Fest, stop by our booth #917 to meet the team to sample our Nitro Cold Brew Coffee or call us at 800 835 5943.