On Canning A Brand

On Canning A Brand
April 30, 2019 Summit Coffee
In Blog

Brian, the coffee professional: I’ve never really liked cold brew. I find the taste metallic, gritty, heavy, sometimes unpalatable.

Brian, the entrepreneur: Cold coffee, especially RTD (ready-to-drink) beverages is the fastest growing segment in specialty coffee.

Coffee Brian: Hot take — cold brew isn’t great. Have you ever had a great cold brew? Iced coffee is way better.

Business Brian: I bet we can make a good cold brew. Why not?

Coffee Brian: I don’t want to put out a product we’re not psyched about.

Business Brian: Great, me neither. Watch this.

These cans, pictured above, tell a story of believing in our brand, recognizing a gap in the market, and committing to produce something great. Not until we designed our new retail bags, identified our brand colors, heck identified our brand, did I think that we had any business in the cold brew business. But when I first saw our new logo, our new Neptune Green mountain, on a Whole Foods shelf, I knew we needed to push this brand to new segments. That was January, and now, on the last day of April, we’re bringing cold brew cans to market.

On the top of each can are our three core brand focuses at Summit: coffee / community / collaboration. This project is the result of all three.

On the coffee front, we agreed upfront that if we’re going to put something in a can, it had to be representative of our coffee. After all, if these cans are in markets and grocery stores, at restaurants and at events, a lot of people will taste Summit for the first time from these cans. So Evan and his team sampled a handful of coffees, with a handful of ratios and extraction times, and decided that our organic Basecamp blend was the home run for cold brew. It’s like chocolate milk with some citrus in a can. Refreshing, drinkable, clean, crisp.

On the community front, we outsourced our design needs to the Tyler Helfrich-Brooke Basinger duo, who took the genius behind our new retail bags and translated it to a can. Same logo, same colors, different space ratios, different copy. And these two mothers of toddlers somehow did it within our generous 48-hour timeline.

On the collaboration front, we had the biggest challenge. How can we scale this? On an early-morning run with my friend John (who also happens to be an owner of D9 Brewery), we worked for miles down NC-115 on this idea — how can D9 use its brewing capacity and infrastructure to help us can coffee? John rallied the D9 team in place, and in no time we were talking through details of production.

The result? It’s the Summit Coffee brand, in a can. The beauty of the can (it’s so Instagrammable) matches the teamwork in production, which matches the quality of the coffee. It’s here, it’s cold, it’s brewed, and in a few weeks we’re hopeful it will be on shelves for everyone to enjoy.

Hot take: there’s a cold brew we like. We just made it.

Comments (2)

  1. Gary Andrew 6 months ago

    Well done, Brian! Looks like an exciting new product for Summit.

  2. Joey 6 months ago

    Love the can design! I feel like I”m back in Army Land Nav school!

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