Having partnered with a variety of prominent craft coffee makers to build its portfolio of high quality cold brew for their keg distribution business, New York-based Joyride Coffee recently brought on its biggest partner to date.
Through an agreement with Starbucks Coffee, Joyride is now producing and distributing Starbucks brand draft cold brew and nitro cold brew for the coffee giant’s foodservice accounts at hospitals, bookstores, colleges and offices in New York, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
After a soft launch with about 100 Joyride customers several months ago, Joyride is ramping up distribution for Starbucks’ draft coffees, according to the company. As the company moves forward, its founders see the Starbucks name helping to reach a new customer base that has not yet been exposed to craft brands.
According to CNBC, the move is part of a solidification of cold brew as a part of Starbucks’ business model. In November, the company stated on an earnings call that cold brew was one of the fastest growing products on its cafe menus and offers nitro cold brew in about 1,500 stores.
When reached for comment, a Starbucks spokesperson only stated “We work with many third-parties, including Joyride, to bring the Starbucks Experience to customers across our foodservice portfolio.”
Speaking to BevNET, Joyride co-founder and chief strategic partnership officer Noah Belanich said the partnership represented the company “hitting its stride.” The company is focusing on growing in its existing markets rather than chasing widespread expansion across the country, he said. In particular, colleges and universities are one channel that Joyride sees as having big potential for the company to grow in. The company currently has strong placement in offices and restaurants.
“I think one of the reasons why Starbucks came to us for this is because we were ready in a lot of the channels that they were really looking to push this product in,” he said. “This is an expansion of cold brew, not a radical change of direction.”
Joyride is also doubling down on its keg business, discontinuing its bottled business this month.
With the addition of Starbucks, Joyride recently upgraded its New York and San Francisco facilities to scalability but has not altered its brewing process. The company is exploring building a new facility next year, Belanich said.
“Our current technology is incredibly scalable, so we can always bring on new brewers, new productions pretty quickly,” he said.
In addition to producing its own coffees, teas, and seltzer, Joyride also distributes coffee from brands such as Stumptown, Blue Bottle, and Intelligentsia, as well as kombucha from GT’s and Health-Ade. Belanich said he did not think having Starbucks in the portfolio would create competition, but would rather lift the draft cold brew market overall.
Founded in 2011 as a food truck business, Joyride’s various brand partnerships have sometimes left it in something of an identity crisis, torn between whether it is a distributor or a beverage company. With Starbucks entering the fold, Belanich said it has become clear that Joyride is a beverage business first and foremost.
“For a long time we really relied on a lot of the brands on our platform to be the drivers behind it,” he said. “But over the past year or two I really think we’ve become known as a brand of brands.”