Expo West 2018

High Brew Coffee positions itself as energy drink and soda alternative with fizzy cold brew launch

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

"We want people to understand that it’s in the can for a reason. This is really, truly to be convenient," High Brew Coffee CMO says.
"We want people to understand that it’s in the can for a reason. This is really, truly to be convenient," High Brew Coffee CMO says.
High Brew Coffee unveiled its sparkling cold brew range at the recent Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, California, positioning itself as a better-for-you soda and energy drink alternative.

The carbonated launch is the next part of the company’s evolution of cold brew which started with pure cold brew coffee products and expanded to a protein-fortified version, said High Brew Coffee chief marketing officer Mari Johnson.

“We’re not telling consumers to stop drinking soda, stop drinking energy drinks. We’re just seeing a natural progression that consumers are looking for more diversity in their beverages and we’ve got the convenience,” ​Johnson told BeverageDaily.

“We know that they’ll probably drink some of those other products as well, but we’re an alternative.” 


High Brew Coffee contains about twice the amount of caffeine compared to regular coffee but without the added sugar of soda and energy drinks.

The sparkling cold brew range comes in three SKUs – classic black, vintage vanilla, and midnight mocha – retailing for $2.49 to $2.99 per 11-ounce can, three ounces more than the products in the core range.

“The core line is a little more for a slow enjoyment, but we felt this was more of a ‘chug-able’ product and people wanted a little bit more,”​ Johnson said.

High Brew is targeting a Summer 2018 launch date with the product first being available on Amazon to start.

“It’s (Amazon) a nice place to incubate our product,”​ she said. “Where we see the great opportunity with Amazon is with ‘Subscribe & Save’ where people will get it as a regular delivery and they don’t pay for shipping.”

Consumers still not quite savvy to cold brew

Cold brew coffee brands continue to crop up suggesting consumers are very aware of the trend, but according to Johnson, there is still a learning curve associated with category.

Cold brew coffee sales surged 460% between 2015 and 2017 hitting an estimated $38.1m last year, according to Mintel.

“Surface understanding to cold brew is pretty low, but it’s not a barrier to trial. It’s certainly not keeping consumers from trying the category,” ​she said.

For High Brew Coffee, the key has been demoing and sampling its products at outdoor places that attract young consumers looking for a convenient, quick caffeine fix.

“Music festivals we found to be a sweet spot because they’re multiple days, they’re very long days, it’s typically really warm, and people are looking for a little pick-me-up and we’re they’re for them.”

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