Rising to the Top of the Cold Brew Coffee Market

RISE founders, from left, Hudson Gaines-Ross, Jarrett McGovern, Grant Gyesky and Justin Weinstein stand outside their brewery. (contributed photo)


By Michelle Moskowitz
Sentinel Correspondent

Greenwich coffee lovers have much to percolate about this summer.

Last week a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that people who consumed two to four cups of coffee per day not only lived longer, but also had a reduced risk of death from heart disease, cancer and diabetes than those who did not imbibe the beverage at all.   

If health benefits aren’t enough of a reason to drink up, Greenwich coffee lovers can enjoy a cup of naturally sweet, nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee—thanks to the local RISE Brewing Co.

The organic brew is 80 percent less acidic than an average cup of hot coffee and carries an extra boost of caffeine.

The start-up beverage company, which launched in 2015, is quickly emerging as the leader in the cold brew marketspace.

The company was developed by four tight-knit childhood friends—three from Greenwich, who attended the Brunswick School—Jarrett McGovern, Grant Gyesky, Justin Weinstein, and Hudson Gaines-Ross, from Brooklyn.

While they were independently pursuing careers in other areas, McGovern (and his friends) began “tinkering around with making cold brew coffee” in his New York City apartment—just for fun—and, of course, to enjoy a great cup of coffee.

That tinkering resulted in what the team deemed as “the perfect cup of nitrogen infused cold brew” that they (and their family and friends) all very much enjoyed.

But due to their complex brewing process, including steeping the grounds, it took days to produce just one cup.

Through ample research and quality assurance testing, the team identified a process that would render their high-quality taste in large quantities, and in a shorter timespan.

They debuted their cold brew for public consumption at a friend’s trendy restaurant in Brooklyn—and the feedback was overwhelming. So much so that customers would constantly inquire as to where they could buy “that cold brew” outside of the restaurant.

Soon thereafter, the brand skyrocketed, and today RISE is sold and distributed in more than 2,000 locations nationwide through their kegs of cold brew on tap and in single-serving cans.

The company also provides kegerator equipment for locations that don’t have their own draft lines. The coveted brand is already a staple in over 400 corporate offices, including Facebook, Apple, ESPN and the New York Yankees.

Last December, the company opened a mini “RISE pop-up shop,” on the lower east side of Manhattan, open seven days per week and garnering much buzz among a hip, young customer base.

The company’s business development platform also entails “RISE in Retail,” whereby the cold brew is made available for customers at Manhattan venues such as “Away” on Bond Street, “American Eagle” in Times Square and in the lobby at the Dream Hotel—with expansion plans across the country currently underway.

The company recently was named winner of the BEVNET New Beverage Showdown 13, an early-stage beverage competition, where the brand was praised for its high-quality formulation, sales strategy and impressive distribution model.

Commenting proudly on the company’s big win, co-founder Gaines-Ross said, “We couldn’t wait to get the next BEVNET newsletters to see and hear what big brands were doing. Now in just two years to have won is pretty incredible.”

When asked what ultimately contributes to the brew’s great taste?

McGovern says that they use only the best ingredients, including organic, fair-trade beans sourced from Peru, and that their state-of-the-art filtered watering process produces clean, refreshing tasting coffee.

The nitrogen infusion is what adds a frothy texture that rises to the top of the drink when poured—yet it’s made without dairy, sugar, or additives.

Locals can get their RISE at Aux Delices, The Granola Bar, Juice Press and Green & Tonic, to name just a few spots.

Since the company’s inception, the brand has been proactive in promoting its local product by “constantly popping up” at community events, such as the Greenwich Town Party, The J-House Networking Business Event, the Greenwich Land Trust events and many others.

“The community has been awesome and likes to root for their own, especially since we are brewing our coffee locally (with their two breweries located in Stamford),” said McGovern.

Many of their investors are from Greenwich, including the Winklevoss brothers and Danny Masterson.

McGovern says the RISE staff of 20 is comprised of young, bright cutting-edge talent who are fully behind the brand and all that it stands for—great coffee that is sustainably sourced with no artificial ingredients.

Every Monday, the entire team attends a brainstorming session. “Everyone’s opinion is valuable,” says McGovern.

With their vast distribution team now securely in place, McGovern remembers fondly their first year in business, when he and the guys would “self-distribute their product at any hour of the night if/when necessary.”

When asked how the group decided on the company name, McGovern hesitated and smiled warmly.

“It wasn’t easy, actually, but we wanted a name that was up-lifting and happy—and to create a brand that was healthy and could be enjoyed throughout the day,” he said. He adds that the name signified a deeper meaning: “That our product could help people rise to the challenges of their day.”

While RISE is the first nitrogen-infused cold brew to launch in Connecticut, McGovern said Starbucks is now looking to get into the space, which he says is “actually flattering.”

Next up for the brand is the launch of their new coffee-lemonade drink, adding organic lemonade to their coffee brew, which McGovern likens to “an Arnold Palmer, but with coffee.”

This reporter, an admitted coffee lover herself, enjoyed the strong notes of the beverage and its added jolt, but took note of McGovern’s cool and laid back demeanor, after what was presumably not his first cup of the day, since the interview was conducted late morning—perhaps a testament to his youthful management style.

Asked what keeps McGovern up at night (as he is about to become a first-time father), he said, “Just to consistently provide our high-quality product and a great customer experience as we continue to expand.”

But after a thoughtful pause and a long sip of his icy beverage at The Granola Bar, he shared a memorable quote from his father, which he said resonates deeply among their close-knit, family-oriented team: “The harder we work, the luckier we get.”

Visit Jet.com or Fresh Direct for can delivery.  To learn more, visit risebrewingco.com.

About Author: Michelle Moskowitz

Michelle Moskowitz is a reporter and ambassador for the Greenwich Sentinel. Ms. Moskowitz has an extensive background in media serving as the head of LIFETIME Television’s new media division, covering events and news stories all over the country. She was also VP of Business Development at BestSelections.com, Senior Manager at Young & Rubicam, and ran her own boutique Internet firm with a focus on content development. Ms. Moskowitz has been living in the Greenwich community for over a decade. She graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Email: michelle@greenwichsentinel.com

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