Founded in 2014 in New York City, Rise Brewing Co. was originally a few friends who started hawking kegs of nitro cold brew — that is, cold brewed coffee charged with nitrogen to make it rich and creamy, like Guinness — to local restaurants. Soon they started rolling out the kegs into office kitchens, and in 2016 started canning their brews and selling them through retailers along the East Coast. In May of this year they started selling their cans via Amazon.
According to COO Melissa Kalimov, Rise Brewing Co. is the U.S.’s first shelf-stable nitro cold brew. The cans have a widget at the bottom very similar to the one in a Guinness can, which replicates the nitro beer experience (and gives you the *crack* — hisssssss sound when you pop the top). See the video below for the full sound experience. (Apologies for the low quality, I took the video one-handed.)
Cold brew has also been experiencing a boom these past few years: it has more caffeine and less acid than hot coffee, so it gives you a stronger buzz and less of a stomachache. From 2015 to 2017, cold brew sales grew by a whopping 370% to $38.1 million.
And while products like the Gravity Cold Brewer, the Dash Cold Brew Coffee Maker, and the PicoBrew Z Series let you make your own cold brew at home, adding nitro to the mix is outside most home barista’s skillset. Nitro certainly isn’t necessary to get the cold brew buzz, but it is pretty tasty: it’s smooth, creamy, and has a frothy head — sort of like iced coffee meets Guinness. Many coffee shops have hopped on the nitro trend, including Starbucks, who put nitro cold brew on tap in 2015.
In addition to their original black brew, Rise Brewing Co. also has a few more adventurous flavors. Last summer they launched two new cold brew options, one mixed with lemonade and the other blood orange juice. In August of this year, the company launched their nitro latté line, with both traditional and oat milk options. “With so many cold brew coffee makers coming into the space, we wanted to show ourselves as innovators,” said Rise co-founder and CEO Grant Gyesky.
Bringing oat milk into the mix was a smart choice for Rise Brewing Co.. The 2018 Square Coffee Report released last month showed that oat milk is the third most popular alternative milk in the U.S., but that could soon change — sales have increased by 425 percent since June 2017. Oat milk also has less separation and, in this ex-barista’s opinion, goes better with coffee than almond or soy milk. Plus, it won’t affect people with nut or soy allergies.
I had the opportunity to try the brew out for myself and let me tell you, it’s pretty darn good. There’s a distinct oatmeal flavor to the oat milk latte, but I actually liked it — and as someone who’s lactose intolerant, I could drink it without a stomachache. (I’d recommend skipping the more adventurous Lemon and Blood Orange cold brew, however.) The one problem is that it’s almost too easy to drink: the creaminess makes it go down smooth, so you can end up drinking one super-fast and not realize it until the jitters kicked in.
Rise cold brew cans retail from $2.99 to $3.49, which is cheaper than a cold brew from your local coffee spot (at least in urban areas). Add the portability aspect — and the fact that you don’t need to keep them chilled — and Rise Brewing Co. is a great option for caffeinating on the go, or keeping on hand for the mid-afternoon office lull.
Apparently, other people think so, too. The company raised $2.3 million in July of this year, bringing their total funding to $4.9 million. Let’s see if they can keep milking the coffee trends.