Small Business Spotlight: Cold Brew Coffee Is On The RISE


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- In this week's WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by BNB Bank -- "Community Banking From Montauk To Manhattan," Joe Connolly meets the founders of RISE Brewing Co.

The Connecticut-based cold brew coffee brand started a few years ago out of an East Village apartment and now has several high-end clients. 

"Cold brew coffee as a category has exploded. Within food and beverage, specialty coffees is one of the fastest growing categories and cold brew, and specifically nitro, lead that growth," co-founder Melissa Kalimov said. "We're seeing just the average customer switching to this more and more every day."

RISE is an all organic nitro cold brew coffee. 

So what does that mean?

"We let coffee beans sit in cold water in big beer brewing tanks, we have a brewery in Connecticut. The coffee beans sit in water overnight, the flavor naturally comes out. When you brew it cold, there's no acidity in our coffee, very small amounts, so the coffee tastes naturally sweet," co-founder Jarrett McGovern explained. "And then similar to what Guiness would do, we infuse our coffee with nitrogen. The nitrogen makes our coffee taste creamy, gives it a creamy head and a cascade and basically we can make black coffee taste like a latte without cream, sugar or any bad chemicals."

McGovern said nitrogen acts as a natural preservative and keeps their coffee tasting fresh for over a year.

They also make sure to use really good water.

"Over 90 percent of coffee is water so we make sure our water is purified, we actually add back in minerals so it tastes like spring water so at the ground level use really good water," McGovern said.

Their product, which comes in kegs and cans, can be found in offices, restaurants, and bars all over the Tri-State area and the Pacific Northwest. 

"We ended up brewing it and basically making small mini-kegs and we walked around New York City, we walked around Brooklyn, we walked into restaurants and we said, 'Hey we have nitro cold brew coffee. Would you like to try it?' One of the first accounts we got was a restaurant in Brooklyn called Colony. And as we walked into Colony they were literally fixing their espresso machine and they said, 'Hey you're here, you know a lot about coffee, can you fix our espresso machine?'And we told them we don't know how to do that in terms of actual mechanically fixing it but we can fix it by providing a solution that you're familiar with," McGovern said.

The restaurant had about 10 beers and a wine on tap, so RISE replaced the lowest performing beverage wih their coffe.

"So they had volume coffee that they didn't have to brew and worry about every morning consistency and a really cool experience for their customers from that point it grew from restaurant to restaurant in Brooklyn to Manhattan. And office to office," McGovern said.

Their cold brew coffee can also be found in the Yankees dugout and the Red Sox clubhouse.

"It's a natural, organic way to get really clean energy and I think the players really appreciate that because they care about what goes in their body and it helps them perform," McGovern said.

McGovern is one of our panelists at the Small Business Breakfast on March 26 in Stamford, Connecticut. He'll share how you can grow your brand and connect with high-end clients like they have. Click here for information and tickets.