Video: Grady’s Cold-Brew Opens Up on “Bean Bags,” Non-Traditional Retail

The bootstraps-from-Brooklyn sensibility was in full effect.

Grady Laird and Dave Sands, co-founders of Grady’s Cold-Brew, were holding down the fort at the company’s first Winter Fancy Food Show booth, and with their week-old beards, rolled-up flannel and perfectly un-coiffed hair, the pair could have effortlessly transitioned from their role as company spokesmen to that of models for an Urban Outfitters ad.

Considering Grady’s recent foray into the trendy retailer, it could very well be a future role for Laird and Sands. Known for its bottled New Orleans-style cold-brew coffee concentrate, Grady’s recently gained national placement in Urban Outfitters with its new “bean bag” do-it-yourself kits, which allow consumers to brew the coffee with the convenience of a portable and shelf-stable product.

The bean bags are paper pouches that filled with 2 oz. of coffee, with each bag able to make 10 oz. of Grady’s concentrate. The bags are sold individually and in metal canisters that hold four bags per package.

Speaking with BevNET CEO John Craven, Sands described the bean bags as a critical extension for the brand, which had been limited at retail because its primary offering, the bottled liquid concentrate, requires refrigeration.

“We’ve lived the life of having a five-week shelf life in a perishable good that’s in a heavy glass bottle that’s got to be kept refrigerated,” Sands said. “This is the first time that we’ve been able to make something at scale. First the first time ever, someone can send us a [purchase order] and take 5,000 units and we can ship them off, and we’ don’t have to worry about the shelf life anymore.

Sands noted that the bean bags are also carried nationally by Anthropologie, a sister company to Urban Outfitters, as well as Bed Beth & Beyond. While the bean bags are also sold at 300-400 grocery accounts, the product’s ability to gain shelf space outside of conventional grocery is a positive and welcome step for Grady’s.

“It’s opened up new retailers for us, people that reached out to us initially because they loved the branding, but when they found out it was perishable, they didn’t want to carry it,” Sands said.

In the this video, filmed from within Grady’s booth at the Winter Fancy Food show, Sands shares more about early distribution wins for the bean bags, and opens up about his views on growth and awareness of cold-brew coffee. He also offers his take on the importance of the specialty channel in the brand’s development.