Stockton Graham Launches Nitro Cold Brew Coffee

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.Nitro Coffee Stockton Graham & Co.

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

Nitro CoffeeOffering 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.”

Nitro CoffeeWith 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.

2016 Coffee Shop Trends

Coffee Shop TrendsEach year about this time, we forecast coffee shop trends for the coming year so our customers can position themselves for success. Whether you run a coffee shop, café, restaurant, kiosk or otherwise offer specialty coffees in your store, this list of 2016 coffee shop trends is for you.

Sense of Place

Everyone’s over the cookie-cutter cool that’s defined coffee shops for the last five years. You know the look: Blond wood, giant chalkboards, exposed pipe, Remy stools, vintage barn pendant lights.

As living and eating locally has become the trend du jour, consumers are more interested in neighborhood nostalgia and are looking for a coffee shops with an authentic sense of place. If your store is located on the site of an old barn or a school house, then go with that. If not, do some research to discover the look and feel that will give your store a sense of place like Amelie’s French Bakery in Charlotte, Wild Boar Café in Fort Collins or L’Hôtel de Vendôme in Paris.

Relatedly, nature will begin to take center stage inside coffee shops in 2016, and the color green will especially be on trend. In addition to coffee shops with outside garden spaces, don’t be surprised to see mixed-use greenhouse and botanical coffee shops popping up towards the end of the year.

Interactive Shops

Coffee shops have always been an easy place to socialize, whether your customers are on a first date, taking office work “off campus” or catching up with friends from across town. In 2016, stores will become even more interactive. Look for long-communal tables, sugar and milk served family style, and baristas who get out from behind the counter to interact with customers. Genius Bar-type brewing classes will become popular, as customers see coffee as more of an experience than a beverage. For inspiration, check out Pinewood Social in Nashville or Café Streets in Chicago.

Signature Blends

Nearly every store serves at least one “house special” coffee, whether its a flavored latte or a single-origin coffee. Baristas will start taking that trend to the next level in 2016 by becoming coffee mixologists. By mixing coffees from different places and different roast levels based on a customer’s flavor preferences, a barista will create a bespoke coffee blend for each customer. The result: a customer experience that can’t be replicated at any other store.

On Tap

2015 was the year that iced coffee took off, and this year it will be even bigger. Customers will enjoy cold coffee drinks straight from the tap like an up-scale bar or lounge, and Nitro coffee (that’s seeped coffee infused with odorless, flavorless nitrogen gas, kegged like beer and served on tap) will continue to be a big seller. In fact, this year you’re unlikely to find a successful coffee shop without a cold brew option (or two) behind the counter. Call to make an appointment at our Raleigh coffee roasting facilities to learn more about cold coffee beverages for your store.

Flavors, Flavors

Once considered the ugly stepchild of coffee, flavored coffee has become hot. In fact, Mintel Research reports that sales of flavored coffee are up 15%, with dessert flavored coffees leading the way. Put all the dessert-flavored coffees into a bucket, and sales are up a whopping 800% since 2010, Mintel research reveals. As we move into summer, which is the season for iced coffee, expect to see cold flavored coffees on tap, in frappes and on ice.

Mixed Use

Shops that focus on coffee have usually found that sales dip considerably from about 5pm onwards. That has prompted many stores to offer alternative evening and night time menus that entice morning customers back after dark. Applying for a liquor license and offering wine and cocktails is one popular choice. But other ideas include adding fresh baked breads like our customer Great Harvest Breads of Greenville, NC or chocolates like Chocolate Café in Southbend, IN or Cocoabar in New York City. The Office Coffee Shop in Detroit adroitly combines a coffee shop with a for-rent workspace; look for more work/coffee combinations and other mixed-use retail/coffee concepts.

All Wet

Well trained baristas know that water quality is one of the most important, yet overlooked, elements of coffee brewing. So in 2016, water will get its due attention. Check out the water tasting menu at 3FE in Dublin, Ireland and Maxwell Colonna Dashwood and Christopher H. Hendon’s book, ‘Water for Coffee.’ Stockton Graham & Co. offers training programs for owners, baristas and staff that address water quality, as well as the other five essentials of brewing great coffee.

Bitter: Sweet

Coffee has been traditionally served with sweet foods like cookies, chocolate and pie, of course. But 2016 will recognize an evolution in customers’ palates. Tropical Island Coffee & Café in Winchester, VA serves coffee with spicy jerk chicken and plantains while Chef Booj Supe of Gourmet Garage pairs a medium roast with mushroom and cheese risotto. Coffee shop trends will increasingly involve menu innovations and deconstructed classics.

To talk to a sales associate about how you can integrate any of these coffee shop trends into your business, call us at 800 835 5943.