La Colombe Draft Latte Is Only the Beginning
This morning, Todd Carmichael stood in front of the assembled media at his Fishtown cafe to show off La Colombe Draft Latte in cans. But as is often the case when Carmichael gets talking, there was a lot more shared.
Carmichael is releasing his draft latte in a 9-ounce can starting on March 1st. The 120 calorie drink with the simple ingredients list [reduced-fat milk, cold pressed coffee (water, coffee), cane sugar, acacia gum] will first be available at Philadelphia La Colombe locations and online. A four-pack will retail for under $10 and a single can will be under $3. Carmichael repeatedly stressed that he wants his draft latte to be affordable to just about anyone. As his company’s tagline reads, “America deserves better coffee.” In person Carmichael goes even further, stressing that “everyone deserves awesome” and that “Americans have good taste, but bad options.”
And what are the bad options to which he’s referring? Carmichael has set his sights on Starbucks bottled Frappucino. The coffee drink with sixteen times the sugar as his draft latte. Carmichael clearly doesn’t like the product but is thirsty for a piece of the ready-to-drink (RDP) coffee market. A market that is currently valued at over $1.7 billion per year and with expected growth rates of 27% annually. 97% of that market is controlled by North American Coffee Partnership (NACP), a joint venture of Starbucks and PepsiCo*. In year one, La Colombe hopes to make a sizeable splash. Carmichael has an order for 30 million newly patented cans with Philadelphia-based Crown Holdings. With that many cans, La Colombe won’t just be distributing to its own cafes and online, but are looking to distribute through channels like Whole Foods and pretty much anywhere you might find a Starbucks iced-coffee bottle.
And although Draft Latte will be the first of his “fourth wave coffee product” (defined by Carmichael as cold and mobile) to market, it won’t be the last. Next to market will be Pure Black & White, a mix of draft latte and La Colombe’s Pure Black coffee in a can. That will enter the market at a lower price and with more caffeine. Next up will be Mocha, a drink he’s especially excited about, promising it will be like drinking a chocolate cake but without all the sugar. A possibility, thanks to the sweetness that comes out through the nitrous oxide that’s injected into each can. His last entry for 2016 will be made with a milk alternative. Carmichael hasn’t chosen what that alt-milk will be but he’s considering the taste and environmental impact of soy, almond, coconut and maybe even hemp.
Carmichael states he’s bet his entire company on the draft latte in a can but the entrepreneur is far from finished. He’s already talking about better ways of preserving coffee, “keeping it alive longer.” He’s also looking for a mother nature friendly way to enter the K-Cup market and even searching far-and-wide for his equivalent to pumpkin-less pumpkin spice.
Carmichael, ever the adventure seeker seems particular fired up about his next challenge, bringing his coffee to the world.
La Colombe [Official]
* Statistics via Starbucks Newsroom