Stumptown Gives Dairy Aisle Cold Brew Boost

In the 10 cafes of Stumptown Coffee Roasters, whether you’re in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle or Portland, Ore., president Joth Ricci said that about 80 percent of patrons visit the condiment bar and add milk, cream or sugar to their cold brew coffee.

With Stumptown in a strong position to bolster its ready-to-drink portfolio, Ricci and his partners didn’t need to extend too far from the comfort level of their customers. With the company’s latest product, Stumptown added the milk itself and cartoned the coffee.

“Our consumers are basically already doing it,” Ricci said. “So we thought we’d give a way for them to take it home.”

Released this past New Year’s Eve, “Cold Brew Coffee with Milk” further entrenches Stumptown in the ready-to-drink coffee category, while giving it a surprising new push into the dairy aisle. To affirm the verisimilitude of freshness, the product has a 21-day shelf life, compared to the 90-day shelf life of the original cold brew. It’s packaged in a brown and gold carton of two sizes, 16 oz. and 64 oz, and made with the same milk found in their cafes, produced by Sunshine Dairy Foods, which is also based in Portland.

Ricci said that along with the hints from cafe customers, the innovation of companies such as International Delight and Starbucks and the proliferation of almond- and coffee-flavored milks influenced the release of this latest product. Yet, while these companies have opted for mostly plastic or glass packaging, Stumptown’s carton is what he hopes will separate it from the competition, invoking nostalgia and the retrograde feel that permeates throughout the brand. The “stubby,” a dark amber glass bottle that contains the original cold brew, has established this old-school identity since its debut in the summer of 2011.

The cartons can be found exclusively in the Northwest in participating Whole Foods stores, New Seasons Markets, Zupan’s Markets and Green Zebra Grocery. If the positive feedback via Stumptown’s Facebook and Instagram accounts leads to strong sales, Ricci said that the product could be distributed to the other regions where the coffee is sold.

Depending on the account, you might find the cartons in a ready-to-drink coffee section next to the original cold brew or instead in the dairy section. At such an early juncture, Ricci said that he’s willing to let the market develop the product’s category and cooler placement.

“Because this is a new product and a new price point for the dairy case, we’re just kind of evaluating where the best place is for it long-term,” he said.

Until that happens, and until he learns if this product could serve as the benchmark for more line extensions, he’ll continue to learn from Stumptown’s wholesaler partners, third-party cafes and its own cafes.

“We get the opportunity to see what the consumer wants every day,” Ricci said.