Diversifying Your Brewery: Coffee


Our “Expansion Series” addresses tips for managing the multiple production processes involved with diversifying your business into other growing segments of the craft beverage industry.

We previously tackled the basics of setting up a Cidery and examined the world of Spirits and Ready-to-Drink Cocktails.

In our final article of the series, we research the fast-growing trend of roasting, packaging, and serving coffee and cold brew.

Why Coffee?

Why coffee now, when it’s been one of the fastest and most consistently growing industries over the past 20 years? According to the Specialty Coffee Association, “only 9% of adults in the U.S. were drinking specialty coffee daily in 1999 and 41% were drinking daily in 2017,” a 32% increase over 18 years. This is due largely, in part, to the consistent trend of evolving tastes and the emergence of gourmet and ready-to-drink coffee.

A prime example of a craft brewery taking on coffee production in recent years has been Modern Times Beer. “The café activates our space at a time when we wouldn’t otherwise be open,” says their Founder Jacob McKean. This enables them a crossover to coffee drinkers and vice versa. Taking on a business that operates during typically closed hours maximizes their square footage.

Breweries that’ve excelled in this arena are roasting and barrel-aging their beans, operating full-service cafés with baked goods or brunch available, and packaging whole bean and blended cans of coffee, as well as nitro cold brew.

As a result, they not only have specialized beans for use in their imperial stouts, they also have a whole new operation that provides another source of steady revenue.

Start Percolating

While operating a café out of your existing space might work for some breweries, others may not have the space or be ideally situated to draw regular “9 to 5” foot-traffic. Existing breweries such as Oskar Blues, Two Brothers Artisan Brewing, and Dark Horse Brewing have all established new locations to expand into the craft coffee crowd.

Having identified your new location, there are several things to consider when it comes to sourcing your product:

  • Do you already have a wholesaler in mind?
  • Will you be roasting your own beans?
  • If you’re not roasting, who will handle this for you locally?
  • What specialty beans will you offer? Fair Trade, Organic, the locale, etc.

When Modern Times set up shop in Portland, Oregon, they delayed selling beans on-site until they could figure out how to expedite the most freshly roasted beans possible from their primary facility in San Diego. This will be resolved once they expand into a new space, which will include a new roaster, in the next year or so. Providing the freshest beans possible should be kept in mind when determining whether to roast them yourself or how far away your roaster will be.

Customers of all stripes are demanding the freshest, sustainably sourced, and ethically produced products on the market. Much like the craft beer you’re likely already brewing, people want to know the story behind the coffee you’d be producing. Nail down customer preferences before going all-in on your product and be sure to do a proper “cupping” before settling on which beans to use.

Managing the Business of Beer and Coffee

Brewing beer, roasting coffee, and packaging it all yourself can be a complex undertaking. You’ll likely be storing inventory in different places and using different accounts for your finances. There’s also the regular tasks of purchasing, sales, POS, forecasting, and reporting.

Having now examined the complexities of diversifying into three of the most popular business lines in the craft beverage industry today, it’s clear that they each possess their own complexities. It makes having a system like Orchestrated even more important when it comes to properly managing all the aspects of your business.

Orchestrated users rely on this all-in-one solution to enable them to make the best business decisions by being provided with a single source of the truth.

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