Bulk Cold Brew Coffee: 4 Coffee Shops Share How To Get Started
Four coffee shop owners spill their secrets about how to start selling bulk cold brew coffee to make up for lost revenue.
Summer is upon us, along with cold brew coffee season. And despite stay-at-home orders, people are still eager to get their cold brew fix.
I spoke with four coffee shop owners / managers who are creating bulk cold brew coffee offers for the first time to see how it’s going in the midst of the pandemic.
Hint: it’s going very well.
Bulk cold brew coffee sales are not only making up for lost espresso sales, they’re selling out like hotcakes.
This is a great time to experiment with a new bulk cold brew offer.
I’ll let these innovative cafes share how.
Jackson Bredehoft, Cafe Rica USA
Cafe Rica is a coffee shop based in Battle Creek, Michigan that does weekly pre-orders and pickups to simplify their cold brew production schedule.
How did you figure your pricing for the bulk cold brew?
We took what we charge per serving retail and extrapolated that for bulk. Then we added a discount percentage for bulk that we were comfortable with. Our gallon pricing comes out to being 22% cheaper in shop that it would be if you bought a 8 16oz cups of our cold brew.
How are you marketing the gallon of cold brew offering?
We have been marketing our bulk cold brew sales on our social media mostly. We have set up weekly pre-orders for pickup on Friday’s and have been invoicing customers so it is ready for pickup before they arrive. This has been reasonably successful the past few weeks and it may be something that we continue in the future.
What’s your best tip for other companies who may want to try something similar?
My best advice would be to believe in your product and in your pricing, up front it may seem expensive for that much cold brew in one sale but if your product is good enough people will pay for it. We believe that our cold brew is the best that you can find in this area and we want our pricing to be fair but reflect the quality of the product.
Taylor McAlpine, Sugar Browns Coffee
Sugar Browns is a coffee shop located in Lubbock, Texas that completely sold out of 64 bottles of cold brew in one day.
How did you go about pricing your bulk cold brew?
The cold brew and cold brew lattes are 4 – 12oz bottles that come in a four pack carrier. $16 for a cold brew pack and $20 for a cold brew latte pack.
When you break down the prices of each bottle its still very reasonable since part of the value is drinking them at your on convenience at home. I’d also think since they now can serve their own drinks from home we wanted the price to be high enough to possibly support the shop since they may not order their usual drink from the shop as frequently.
What do you attribute to selling out in one day?
Social media was the only means of promotion and so I think that selling 64 bottles in less than 5 business hours was the fact that its a great product and customer match. People want something that helps provide comfort and normalcy.
Add that to the fact people love our brand and our house made syrups and we recently started roasting our own coffee and its a killer combo. It was one of our higher performing post reaching 15k people organically. We had some great feedback from the comments that we’re considering for future offerings.
Did you make equal amounts of your three bottled products, or differing amounts?
With our first batch we did 4 4packs of each variety (Sugar Browns, Vanilla, and Regular Cold Brew). The Sugar Browns sold out first without much surprise.
Jazmine Wolff Shultz, Prairie Sky Breads
Prairie Sky Breads is a bakery and coffee shop in Minot, North Dakota that’s seeing a dramatic spike in revenue from bulk cold brew sales.
How did you figure your pricing for the bulk cold brew?
I charge $5 per 16 oz cup of cold brew and there are approximately 8 16 oz cups in a gallon. I wanted to give customers a deal for buying in bulk during COVID.
Why did you decide to use sweet cream instead of plain cold brew or with milk?
My sweet cream is a mixture of condensed milk, vanilla syrup and half and half. I decided to pursue that option instead of plain cold brew or milk because of the popularity of sweet coffee drinks currently. The sweet cream comes in separate 16 oz cups so customers still have the option of just buying plain cold brew if they like that.
Mostly, I’ve found a market in my town for the sweet cream option so when I went to gallon jugs it seemed like an obvious choice. I also attach recipes to the containers which customers have said nice things about.
How are you marketing the gallon offering?
I made a cool flier on CANVA and just use social media to market. Our Facebook page has really good engagement so we’ve had some pretty solid success just marketing it in that way.
We’ve also given some to the hospital lately which was really just us trying to do something for everyone working so hard but also had the unintended bi-product of grabbing us a few more customers.
On Sundays I usually mark gallons down $3 and hashtag Sundayfunday. So far it has taken the place of our espresso business which has tanked because we don’t have a drive through and our dining area is closed at this time.
Keely Carr, Keely’s Coffee House
Keely’s Coffee House is a coffee shop in Wasilla, Alaska that’s encouraging repeat cold brew purchases via reusable growlers
How did you figure your $18 price for the first growler + $10 for refills?
The growlers cost me $7 plus the logo sticker I put on them – didn’t need to make a profit on the growler itself, just enough to cover the cost.
We sell our biggest cup of cold brew (24oz) for $3.75- I did the math and figured $10 for 64oz.
How are people responding to the refill offer? Lots of takers?
We just started doing growlers adapting with the world right now. We have several loyal cold brew drinkers that are swapping and buying growlers, but not a huge number of people (yet).
How are you marketing the growler offering?
Marketing just on FB & IG. We did a giveaway for two growlers last week (trying to get the word out) and so it is starting to get some traction.
Takeaways For Launching A Bulk Cold Brew Coffee Offering
Don’t underprice your product. You make great cold brew that customers love. Believe in your product and sell it for what it’s worth.
A small discount is a great incentive. Anywhere from 12% to 23% seems reasonable. This lets your customers know they’re getting a great deal, while helping you secure larger a AOV.
Leverage social media well. Every new thing you do deserves an exciting post. Use emojis, share pictures, and make it very clear how customers can order from you.
A HUGE thanks to the coffee shops who shared insights on how they’re making this work ?
Go forth and sell bulk cold brew!
Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden
Freelance Coffee Marketer
I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.
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