What's Brewing

The Future for Cold Brew Coffee

We started Antler & Bird with the intention of creating a great ready-to-drink coffee purely through our interest in coffee. Naively, we weren’t thinking of the current and potential market for our product, we weren’t thinking about a ‘gap in the market’, and we had no plan on how to convince the public to pick up a drink that they are not at all familiar with.

Yesterday I was walking through the small town of Frome and I passed a woman who wasn’t part of our 'target demographic' and she said to her friend “I really fancy a cold brew right now”, I looked at my friend in shock. For the rest of the day, I was thinking about how the term Cold Brew, in the space of a few years, has gone from being speciality coffee nomenclature, to everyday small talk. Since the start of A&B, I’ve felt the need to explain what cold brew is, less and less. Thanks are due, but I don’t know where.

Australia and USA are undoubtedly the biggest force in the introduction of Cold Brew Coffee, and it’s great to see the popularity increase year-on-year but I was a bit skeptical about whether the trend would repeat in the UK. The British are quite particular about what they eat and drink, and I used to think that trying to convince an English person to put down their tea and pour a cold black coffee over ice would be near impossible. But after hearing the woman yesterday, I’m sure that the aforementioned conversion, will be a regular occurrence. 

Thanks to the winning combination of luck, timing, and word-of-mouth, our drink has developed legs so powerful, that I will be seriously surprised if you can’t buy a Cold Brew in every supermarket within the next 2 years.

Fast Growth Needs Investment

Starting a business is quite different to how I envisaged. I imagined there would be a few hurdles at the beginning but after creating a product and interest then securing accounts we would quickly break even. Much of this has come true, however I never imagined how much of a spending machine a year old business could be. 

Another realisation I’ve had is just how much money most start ups have behind them. Many start ups give an image of ‘zero to hero’ but I think the reality is there are quite a few zeros behind them. This doesn’t come from spite, I just feel it’s something that is kept behind closed doors as it’s not the most romantic image for a business that is trying to sell you something.

The very nature of our fast growth business requires considerable capital to maintain growth. This is a catch 22. We are growing before profiting, money comes in and leaves before we pay ourselves. We received a £25,000 loan from Virgin. This was so ideal for us at the time. We took some huge steps forward with this money and we are now in a position most businesses would take a few years to get to. 

We have a product, we can produce an endless amount of the product, the business model makes a profit with all the costs in mind. However young businesses are unpredictable and we will spend money on the development of our brand to keep us at the forefront of this demanding wave of the industry. Not one penny of the loan has been misspent and has added huge value to our business. But we’ve realised that in order to grow at this pace we need some form of capital injection (more detail on why in full proposal). This is not a position of ‘keeping our heads above water’, it is us saying we are not prepared to slow down our growth. Our business is undoubtedly going to continue to increase in size, but for the time being we need to take a large slice of humble pie, and offer anyone that’s interest, a slice of our pie.

We have written an investment proposal and will potentially be looking at crowdfunding. But if you have any advice, questions, or interest, please please do get in touch at info@antlerandbird.co.uk

First Blog Post

After a year of trading we feel it's necessary to keep our customers in the loop, this blog aims to inform and involve. We want to hear from you before we make our big decisions. Our product is transparent (figuratively and literally), and we want the brand to be as well. 

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So what's new? In February 2017, we received a loan of £25,000 from Virgin Start Up. This allowed us to freshen up the branding, pick up any loose ends, and majorly upscale our manufacturing capabilities. From this, people got talking (thank you to those who do). Distributors started approaching us, as well as big boy retailers. These things take a while, so we have to keep quiet for a bit, but I can say that we will soon be stocked in hotels, café chains, and some high end stores. We are working with Diverse Fine Foods, who stock thousands of shops across the UK. This means all of you curious potential stockists can buy directly from Diverse, win win.

On Thursday, we got a phone call from Virgin. They were calling to tell us, that the application we sent a few weeks ago for Foodpreneur 2017, had been picked in the top 16 of thousands of applications. We will be pitching on Thursday 1st June. 

We'll slowly be releasing the news on the new stockists, so hold tight. 

I know it's cliché, but thanks to everyone who has been supportive to us in the first year. Without you buying our coffee and talking about our brand, it would still be being made in my parent's house. Head of Sales - the customers, we're done with ineffective sampling, the majority of our stockists have got in touch through recommendation. Every restaurant says they're the best, but you only go to the ones your friends recommend. We love our product, and we will continue to make it the best we can, if people want it that's great, but I'm not gonna be shoving it down people's throats. 

Thank you. Be bold, drink cold, or don't.

Theo x