Move over food trucks, and make way for coffee bicycles. When Mike D’Amico, his brother, and two best friends started selling nitro cold brew coffee via tricked out bicycles in Asbury Park and Hoboken, New Jersey, the quartet knew they had a good product. But they knew their cold brew was really hot when customer feedback edged from devoted coffee enthusiasm to gotta-have-it-right-now adoration and pleading requests for D’Amico and crew to park their bikes directly outside office buildings so they’d never be too far away when a cold brew was needed. It was time to ride on to even bigger audiences. Find out how NITRO Beverage Co. used RangeMe to “pedal” their product to Whole Foods Market.
The wheels start to turn
From selling nitro cold brew from their bikes, the brothers and friends ventured into kegs of the cold brew, selling to restaurants and businesses. It was successful, but explaining the system was a much bigger challenge than riding around towns offering their product.
“Selling kegerators to businesses that had never heard of a kegerator, and trying to pitch them to buy $800 worth of equipment and sell $5 cups of coffee was just unheard of at the time,” says Mike D’Amico, President of NITRO Beverage Co. “Three years ago, it just didn’t exist on the east coast.” It was a hurdle, but once the crew started gaining momentum, NITRO Beverage Co. became the name most associated with nitro cold brew in New Jersey.
Picking up the pace
But the company’s ultimate goal was to move into ready-to-drink products, and they eventually got there, with their first canning run in April 2018. And from there, they started to climb, expanding their business to local markets and small chain markets in New Jersey. Then D’Amico heard about RangeMe and sped up their ride to the top.
“Once we found out about RangeMe, I knew this is what would really get us in front of the right people,” D’Amico says. They signed up before they even had the renderings or cans of their product available. “When we saw the buyers that were on RangeMe, we knew that’s where we needed to be. If we wanted to get in front of the right people, it was where we needed to be.”
The platform’s ease of use was also a happy discovery for the team, as was the visible commitment of RangeMe to its suppliers. “RangeMe actually cares about the products as much as they do the buyers,” D’Amico says. “They don’t just care about the big companies like Wal-Mart or Whole Foods; it’s clear they are also in the corner of the suppliers, even if they’re small-time. RangeMe makes it fair for everyone.”
Once on the platform, D’Amico started contacting companies they wanted to work with, like Whole Foods, and received a pretty speedy response. “There’s nothing better than getting that response,” he says. “We’re thrilled to be working with Whole Foods now on the local level.” As part of Whole Foods’ local brand program, NITRO Beverage Co. initially launched in one rural New Jersey store, and after seeing success there, they landed in a second store. NITRO Beverage Co.’s cold brew products are now currently in two of Whole Foods’ New Jersey stores, as part of their local brand program.
NITRO Beverage Co. hopes to expand into more Whole Foods stores and secure positions with more big-box retailers. They’re currently in talks with another retailer in the mid-Atlantic to get their products in store. “Our goal is to expand our reach with our cans,” D’Amico explains. “We want to start spreading our products to the west coast. That’s our goal for 2019.”