The Power Of Cold Brew

March 21, 2018

Why should cold brew be on your list of considerations in 2018? Consider its popularity and rapid growth. The cold brew segment grew 580 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to research from Mintel and sales are still increasing every year. Plus, cold brew companies are focusing on the micro market and office coffee service (OCS) industry with versatile options from the container it comes in to its concentration. Offering this coffee option, which has been around for half a century, in micro markets and OCS, just makes sense.  

Focused on the industry  

Many cold brew makers are specifically reaching out to the industry, trying to find a place for cold brew in micro markets and coffee service.  

"In direct collaboration with our wholesale team, we regularly seek unique partnerships with companies, including creative integrations in micro markets as a supplier, to innovate and expand upon the reach of our product offerings, " Gretchen Koch, director of marketing for Peet's Coldcraft, told The company has worked with Sodexo Convenience Solutions, Canteen Vending, Byte Fridge and Eat Club Snacks. It even created a branding opportunity with operators using the Fixturelite micro market system. There is potential here for operators wanting to expand with assistance.   

Desired by the consumer 

Cold brew coffee is specifically more palatable to Millennials and Gen X-ers who are in the workforce, visiting micro markets and coffee break rooms. They find that it offers a smoother mouthful and bolder flavor. This trend can be seen in coffeehouses around the country and in the cold brew options selling many break rooms. It's a change from the traditional "hot" coffee model.  

"We now live in an ice age. And, the single best method of extracting cold coffee to be consumed on ice is cold brew pressed – hands down. Bigger flavor, less acidity, and longer life," said Todd Carmichael, La Colombe CEO and Co-founder. Many consumers also prefer cold brew over other cold, caffeinated beverages because it is more natural. The ingredients in cold brew coffee are just that: cold brew. Cold brew is being seen as a healthier option compared to other high-sugar drinks.  

One drink, multiple options 

There are many ways to offer cold brew in a micro market and OCS. It can come in individual glass or plastic bottles and metal cans as ready-to-drink offerings. This solution works well for limited space and budget as choosing and stocking is similar to other PET cold beverages.  

For operators looking to deliver a fresher, higher volume solution there are concentrate and Bag in a Box options as well as packs that allow for the location to make the cold brew. For example, the most recent Readers' Choice New Product of the Year OCS winner, Farmer Brothers Artisian Collection Cold Brew is a cold brew option that makes filter packs. 

The final category is fresh cold brew brought in using a kegerators and delivered via tap at a workplace breakroom. Preparing and handling fresh cold brew does take some considerations, though, such as maintaining proper temperature, consistency of flavor and safe food handling practices. Freshly made cold brew needs to be pasteurized to eliminate harmful bacteria. End to end cold brew transportation needs to be planned as if cold brew gets warm, it turns sour or bitter.   

This ever-popular drink has been gaining momentum with steady growth. Cold brew is not only a popular offering for consumers, it is one more and more operators are opting to deliver to customers, 38.6 percent in 2016 compared to 25 percent in 2014, according to the State of the Industry Reports. In order to stay competitive, it's time to consider cold brew.