Understanding Cold Brew Innovation with David Smith, Founder & CEO of High Brew Coffee

High Brew Coffee, a leading cold brew brand based in Texas in the US, was born from the adventure of a lifetime.

The story began when founder David Smith and his business partner sold the iced tea company they spent over 10 years building. After years of hard work, David and his family took the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream on the open seas. During their adventures, David and his wife Elizabeth stayed alert by cold brewing coffee that was bold, smooth and packed with natural caffeine. It was that experience that inspired David and Elizabeth to craft a premium ready-to-drink cold brew coffee in a can, that’s ready whenever and wherever you are.

We sat down with David to find out more about High Brew, its ground-breaking approach to innovation, and where the market might be going next.

1750: Thank you for joining us. Please tell us more about your cold brew coffee philosophy.

DAVID SMITH: We strive to make the best-quality cold brew we can at every step of the process. From sourcing direct trade beans that benefit the farmers to brewing a product for the end users who take our product to get maximum productivity in their next adventure. At the same time, we want our brew to be authentic and approachable. This is not a $6 coffee shop latte, but the drinking experience rivals that at a much more affordable price point and with a convenience that is totally unmatched.

1750: What makes High Brew unique as a business?

DS: We’re a nationally distributed brand but we’re able to be nimble. In 2020 and 2021 alone we’ve already launched five innovations, with more in the pipeline, to continue to fuel the needs of the growing subset of RTD coffee consumers. We anchor our brand and business in quality coffee. From there, we can have our core line, plant-based alternatives, new nitro brews, self-heating cans and even cold brew with added brain health. All of which brings value propositions to a set of consumers, while simultaneously not sacrificing the boldness of our coffee. That’s why it’s so important that we’re getting the best beans, and maintaining that direct trade relationship to ensure our coffee wins on taste first.

David Smith High Brew Coffee
David Smith

1750: Tell us about your product portfolio.

DS: The High Brew family has grown a lot in the past few months! We started with four core SKUs back in 2013 – Double Espresso, Mexican Vanilla, Salted Caramel, and Dark Chocolate Mocha. We’ve since added a Dairy Free/Sugar Free Black and Bold and a +Protein Creamy Cappuccino to our core 8oz line.

What’s especially exciting is the new innovation. First up are our two new Nitro Cold brews, both in 12oz cans with a nitrogen widget built in. Fresh nitrogen is released upon opening, which makes our bold brew even better by adding natural sweetness and a creamier mouthfeel. We’ve got a black, and just released a Sweet Cream that is already a new favourite amongst High Brew fans both old and new.

Meanwhile, our new and improved dairy free, plant-based lattes are now in a nitrogen widget can as well, which elevates our premium blend of coconut and cashew milk even further. These truly creamy and delicious lattes rival any coffee shop experience.

1750: How important is sustainability and Direct Trade to your business?

DS: Sustainability is a huge element of what we do. We need the best beans to make the best coffee, and we need to do right by the coffee farmers and support those who make it all possible. Being able to purchase beans that give back to the farming community in a time when so much coffee revenue isn’t making it back there. This means a lot to us.

We need the best beans to make the best coffee, and we need to do right by the coffee farmers and support those who make it all possible

1750: What role has Finlays played in the history of High Brew?

DS: Finlays is a valued partner, helping us source high-quality Colombian beans that create the smooth, never bitter, cold brew coffee flavour High Brew is known for. High Brew has also partnered with Finlays on new product development and innovation ideas. We also work together regularly to produce cold brew coffee for all of our production runs at various co-manufacturing partners across the country.

Finlays also plays a role in sending our cold brew coffee to development and co-branding partners of High Brew to create new products and ideas. As needed, Finlays provides recommendations on usage to our partners, and assists in technical specifications around our cold brew coffee.

High brew coffee farmer

1750: Why do you think cold brew coffee is growing so quickly in the US?

DS: Consumers are looking for alternatives to sugary coffees and alternatives to energy drinks. Cold brew naturally provides sweetness and removes acidity. The less bitter flavour profile creates the best tasting iced coffee out there. Even the more indulgent varieties have much less sugar and fewer calories than the alternatives.

1750: What are some of the challenges facing cold brew?

DS: Educating the consumer on the benefits and differences between cold brew and a traditional hot brewed product. Many people still think that cold brew simply means an iced or cold coffee. Actually, the brewing process is very different with the absence of heat.

‘Consumers are looking for alternatives to sugary coffees and alternatives to energy drinks’

1750: What is future of cold brew coffee?

DS: The future is in innovation. We will see more functionality and plant-based varieties with various usage occasions. We will see more products outside of beverage. High Brew is well positioned to evolve with the consumer and deliver products to meet these ever-changing demands. Whatever the industry and consumers throw at us next, we’ll be ready.

1750: Thank you for your time David!

For more information visit www.highbrewcoffee.com or click here to find out more about cold brew coffee at Finlays

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