Stumptown was one of the first major players in the cold brew coffee game and has continued to be one of the most recognizable cold brew brands on the market. Now, the Portland, Oregon-based coffee roaster is hoping to make a splash with a new carbonated product it’s calling “Sparkling Cold Brew". (With a catchy, off-key theme song!)
As the name suggests, Sparkling Cold Brew toes the line between fizzy cold brew and coffee soda. The beverage, which is set to roll out in 12-ounce cans next month, is being launched in three varieties: Original, Ginger Citrus and Honey Lemon. Beyond the bubbles, the Original version is also different from Stumptown’s typical Cold Brew Coffee thanks to the addition of 23 grams of cane sugar, enough to make each can clock in at around 100 calories. (The flavored versions also pack about the same sweet punch.) Additionally, Sparkling Cold Brews only offer up about half the caffeine of an equal amount of Stumptown’s regular cold stuff, meaning these carbonated beverages appear to be aimed more at more casual coffee fans than true cold brew devotees.
According to BevNET, the new product stems from experiments in the brand’s New Orleans branch. “If it’s 90 degrees with 100 percent humidity, you probably don’t always feel like a hot coffee, and we wanted to have options other than just cold brew on draft,” Josh Groff, Stumptown’s vice president of marketing, was quoted as saying. Baristas began mixing soda water with cold brew concentrate, then adding in flavors, and the idea behind Sparkling Cold Brew was born. The brand says it went through as many as 50 different iterations of the drinks, including, unsurprisingly, some cola-style versions that never made it past the testing phase. Needless to say, coffee-flavored cola has been a bit of a hard sell over the years, with even the biggest names like Pepsi (Pepsi Kona) and Coca-Cola (Coca-Cola Blak) taking failed cracks at the style, so Stumptown is probably better off putting those thoughts aside.
That said, the ready-to-drink cold brew market has grown far more competitive in recent years, with plenty of companies hoping to be people’s caffeine fix on the go. Of course, Stumptown has plenty of brand recognition to help give them an edge in this area – though it’ll be interesting to see whether a cold brew-soda hybrid can find its niche in the already-saturated coffee market.