In this episode, we continue our Australian Cold Brew Series as we’re joined by Luke Docherty from That Cold Stuff out of Western Australia. That Cold Stuff is a husband and wife cold brew team started by Luke and his wife Nicky.
Highlights & Takeaways
Got the idea to start That Cold Stuff after a visit to the US and trying nitro coffee for the first time
Took a bit of experimentation and research prior to finding the right mix/process
That Cold Stuff found a nice niche within the active lifestyle community, health food stores, etc.
Using a pouch verse a bottle to differentiate their product
Episode 69 Transcript
Brendan Hanson: Hey there. Welcome back to another episode of the Drips And Draughts podcast. Today we continue our Australian cold brew series as we’re joined by Luke Docherty from That Cold Stuff. This is part five of our series which you can find by going to dripsanddraughts.com/69. We’re also putting together an Australia cold brew series page on our website. That page will have links to all episodes as well as to all the websites and social media accounts for all of our Australian cold brew guests. If you want to see that page you can go to dripsanddraughts.com/aucoldbrew.
Outside of the Australian cold brew series, another thing we’re working on is getting together a cold brew cocktail e-book and we’re trying to make it a collaborative e-book. We’re trying to get our customers, our friends, just anybody who’s listened to the podcast or maybe used one of our cold brew systems. We’re basically just trying to get cold brew cocktail recipes submitted to us along with a higher quality picture so we can put together an e-book and feature some of our clients and customers in a collaborative e-book and hopefully get them, or you, in front of a customer base that they might not normally be in front of.
We’re hoping to get that e-book done, basically one page per cocktail, nice picture of the cold brew cocktail along with the recipe and then we’re hoping to get a logo so we can actually link to each one of you who do submit a recipe. If you’ve got any interest in being part of that project go to dripsanddraughts.com/coldbrewcocktails, that will redirect you to a form where you can submit a recipe. These recipes can be anything you want. They can be alcoholic, they can be non-alcoholic. They could be seasonal so really have at it. Have some fun with it. The only criterion that we’re really going to have is that it needs to have a cold brew in it.
Again, if you want to be part of this project go to dripsanddraughts.com/coldbrewcocktails. Alright. That does it for the intro. If you’re looking for links or show notes for this episode, you can go to dripsanddraughts.com/69. Let’s get into today’s interview with Luke Docherty from That Cold Stuff.
If you’re looking to learn more about cold brew or draft coffee, make sure you check out Keg Outlet’s Ultimate guide to Cold Brew Coffee and serving coffee on draft. But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Here’s Daniel Browning from the Browning Beverage Company in Marfa, Texas.
Daniel: I got on the Internet and started looking around and I found Keg Outlet’s Ultimate guide to Cold Brew Coffee and read it a couple more times than I’ve read anything in my life, that was pretty much all the research I needed.
Brendan: If you’re looking to start your journey with a cold brew or draft coffee check out the Ultimate Guide to Cold Brew Coffee and Serving Coffee on Draft, a free 34-page e-book offered at kegoutlet.com. You can get there through the Drips and Draughts website by going to dripsanddraughts.com/ultimateguide.
Hey there, you’re listening to the Drips and Draughts podcast. As always I’m Brendan Hanson and today I’m joined by Luke Docherty from Western Australia. How are you doing Luke?
Luke: Yes, good. Thanks, Brendan. Thanks for having the time. How are you?
Brendan: I’m good. As I told you before, it’s a little bit earlier than I typically do these but I appreciate you getting me up early and get my day going.
Luke: [chuckles] Yes. No dramas mate. I found it a bit of a cure.
Brendan: Yes. Luke, you actually run a husband and wife business with your wife Nicky, called That Cold Stuff. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Luke: Yes. Sure. We’re basically a concentrated cold brew drink. Founded the brand probably nine months ago now, after a trip to the States actually. Yes, we got back home and I wanted to find the cold stuff.
Brendan: Got you.
Luke: Yes. I couldn’t find it. We decided if you couldn’t find it why not make it and the rest is history so they say.
Brendan: Wow. So it’s the trip to the United States that kind of cued you guys and got you guys going?
Luke: It was. Yes. We came over in October last year for our tenth wedding anniversary. We went to San Francisco and stumbled across a little Brazilian cafe that was serving Nitro at the time and from there I did a little bit of research into what Nitro coffee was and I was a little bit lost for words when they said a coffee that looked like a beer. I did a bit of research and found it was cold brew essentially and then everywhere I found cold brew in that three weeks we were over there I made sure I drank it and yes, got hooked on it in the trip and obviously came home and started making it.
Brendan: Awesome. That’s funny. I think I’ve heard quite a few people now from outside the States say that they visited either New York or San Francisco, a big city and then ended up going home and started making their own cold brew. When you guys started making it was it like this is going to become a business or did you just start making cold brew at home for your own enjoyment.
Luke: Well, I started making it up at work actually and to be honest with you, it was horrible. I thought it was amazing but everyone I gave it to just gave me the obligatory smile and nod, “Yes, it’s delicious,” but as we did a bit more research into methods and different coffees we could use and what not, we perfected what we’ve come to be now and we actually got good payback. Once we started getting actual positive feedback. We started talking to some friends and just sampling it out to everyone and we decided that we’re going to look into packaging it and we didn’t expect it to be where it is today but we thought we’d give it a shot and it’s doing all right.
Brendan: Right on. That story reminds me of home brewing. We parallel the beer industry a lot in this podcast and yes, just what you said, how it was first pretty horrible when you first tried it or when your friends tried it. I think that happens to a lot of home brewers. Their first batch of beer that they make is just terrible but the person who made it usually won’t admit that. They’ve got some pride in it. They’ll take it all down and go from there. But yes, that’s cool, learning as you go and then actually turned it into a business. What was it that made you say we’ve got something here, let’s start a company.
Luke: Initially there were a couple of friends who said they didn’t like coffee and they tasted it and initially– well, straight away they came back and the feedback was, “I don’t like coffee because of the bitterness,” and with the cold brew, obviously, as you know, it takes away a lot of that bitterness so they all over sudden liked what they were drinking. We went from there.
We had a bit of a business plan, just target some local cafes and what not to allow them to offer cold brew. If we’ve got people who are drinking this who don’t usually drink coffee and then it’s in a coffee shop or cafe, yes, it’s just another avenue for stores and what not to make a little bit of money. We hit a few road blocks with that and we ended up going down the fitness path and, yes, as you may have seen, we’re really into health and fitness industry now which has been, like I said, a surprising twist in the story, I suppose.
Brendan: Yes. I think we’ve seen a lot of cold brew companies pop up in the health and fitness industry as it’s obviously a low-cal energy drink or no calorie energy drink, I suppose. Cool. That’s been you guys’ target market and your target path?
Luke: Yes. It has been, for sure, probably for the last nine weeks or so when we initially launched it, it went straight into supplement stores. It was just a case of right place at the right time. When we did the sample day, there was a lot of girls and guys getting ready for a figure competition and body building competitions got three weeks out. [unintelligible 00:09:41] brown rice, their chicken their broccoli and their black coffee and once again 95% of them didn’t like the taste of an Espresso which was a surprise to us. We loved that coffee whether it’s hot or cold but, yes, these guys had a taste in it and some of them became addicted to it, I guess.
Brendan: Yes. It’s hard not to. When I was first introduced to cold brew, I started making it at home like crazy and I’d always have some in the fridge. I think it’s an amazing product.
Luke: Yes. Sure.
Brendan: You guys are located in Perth, Western Australia. What’s the overall fitness scene over there? You guys got CrossFit on every corner and is it pretty active over there, pretty active lifestyle?
Luke: Yes. it is. There’s certain areas around Perth that is more active than others like the Bay Side locations and what not but, obviously, with the rise of CrossFit across the globe, they’re popping up like churches. [laughs] Personally, I don’t do CrossFit, however, since being around those people, getting in the crack and train with a few of the guys that we sell the coffee to, they’re just positive energetic people all the time. It’s a really good scene and community to be around. I’m more into the Brazilian jujitsu side of things, I’ve got numerous contacts within the MMA world. Talking to the CrossFit coaches and talking to the BJJ coaches, I saw that both sports complement each other I figured why not.
Brendan: Yes, absolutely, built in marketing plan there.
Luke: Yes that’s right. [laughs]
Brendan: [laughs] One thing that I noticed when I was checking you guys’ company out is, you guys don’t bottle or can it, you put into– What do you call it? It’s like a pouch.
Luke: Yes, stand up pouch.
Brendan: Stand up pouch, what made you guys go that route in terms of your packaging?
Luke: Initially, it was the looks, to be honest. As with everything if something is good in the eye, you’re going to have a look at it. I thought anyway if something looks good, you’re going to look at it more than you would something else. However, not to say the other brands that are in bottles don’t look good, but we also wanted to stand out from the pack, I guess.
A lot of the guys down here in Australia are doing a very similar packaging style. There’s the three or four styles that are really common, and through the research and what not, we found there weren’t too many pouches out there. And then once we looked into it a bit further, we found the pouch shipped a little bit easier, it’s a bit more cost effective. Another one was that it’s more environmentally friendly.
Brendan: When it’s empty you can just toss it and recycle it, I suppose.
Luke: Yes, that’s right, yes.
Brendan: Nice. And what’s the volume of one of those pouches, is it comparable to what somebody would get in a bottle?
Luke: Yes, at the moment, we do a 500ml pouch and when you have a look on the market down here, most bottles come in between the 500-700ml. And being a concentrate, say, you get about 10 coffees or cold brews to a pouch, 50ml per shot sort of thing.
Brendan: Okay, unless you really want to jack it up and just turn that pouch into one or two cold brews. [laughs]
Luke: [unintelligible 00:13:31] does that, yes. [laughs]
Brendan: Yes, and just stay awake for 36 hours.
Luke: You can use certain points.
Brendan: When you guys are packaging those, do you guys use a co-packer or you guys are able to package those yourselves whats that look like if you don’t mind?
Luke: Yes, we package it all ourselves.
Brendan: You do it yourself?
Luke: Yes, at the moment, it’s all manual labor.
Brendan: Wow, okay. I know that’s how a lot of companies start, even with bottling. Filling bottles and then capping them themselves, that’s cool. If you don’t mind me asking, what’s a typical volume or run when you actually do those pouches.
Luke: We are doing roughly 50 liters concentrate per run.
Brendan: Gosh, that’s a hundred pouches or so?
Luke: Yes, it is.
Brendan: Okay, nice. And then, do you guys sell online? I’m sorry I didn’t even hop online to research this at all.
Luke: No, that’s alright. We do sell online. We run a few tests and what not to see if the product shipped interstate. Initially, when we approach our clients in the stores and in the gyms and what not, we don’t want to flood the market so we don’t want it to be in the supplement store and then two blocks up, it is in a gym. If we have one stock list in one suburb then we keep that design for them. Our idea of us going online was purely to services interstate clients and people who wanted to try it from interstate basically. If we get any inquiries through the website in WA if there’s a stock list near those people, we will drive towards them rather than the website right there.
Brendan: Nice, that’s cool, try to get people to go retail if you can. I like that. You mentioned being in a health food store or a fitness store, do you or your wife have any background in health and fitness industry or is it just–?
Luke: Yes, we both have had our own journeys. I came back from Iraq in 2003. Like I mentioned before, I was in the military. I hit a bit of a wall and blew up, gave up on all my training and what not, blew out to about 152 kilos which I think is maybe 280 pounds. Maybe.
Brendan: I was going to say double or even it might be three.
Luke: Yes. [laughs] I was a big lad, it took the birth of my first child to bring me out of that place, the state I was in. I spoke to a doctor and what not at the time and he put it pretty bluntly to me. My was wife was having our first kid and he said to my wife if I didn’t to do something pretty drastic pretty quickly that my daughter would be putting me in the ground before she was six.
Brendan: Oh, man.
Luke: Yes, it snapped me out of it. I got into fitness, I quit smoking. I actually never drank coffee but when I quit smoking it was all coincided into one big start to the journey, I suppose. I quit smoking. To replace the cigarettes, you’re in the military, you’re having breaks all the time and [laughs] everyone smokes, and I replaced smoking with instant coffee. I couldn’t stand the taste of it but it grew on me and it was better than cigarettes. Off I went. I started training and here I am today now, 92-93 kilos and as healthy and as fit as I’ve ever been.
Along the way, I picked up my own personal training goals. I had a bit of a vision that I wanted to help anyone that needed it basically, whether that was in the form of a business or whether it’s in the form of free information. It turned out I gave a lot more away than I sold so sort of been a part of that as a career path but, yes, it’s still something that’s really– Obviously, I’m really passionate about.
Luke: Yes. Nicky, she’s had her own journey. We’ve got two kids now and since the birth of that second child, she sort of worked hard to get the before baby body back [laughs] as most moms do and she’s down probably 30-35 kilos as well so we’re both really active in the industry as well.
Brendan: Wow, good for you guys that’s cool.
Luke: Thanks, man.
Brendan: I imagine that’s a pretty easy tie-in. When you guys go and pitch cold brew to anybody in the health industry, you guys feel pretty comfortable in that market it sounds like.
Luke: Yes, we do.
Brendan: Alright on. Another question and this is because I see cold brew and Nitro coffee popping up in a lot of health spots around here, why do you think it’s such a good option for the health and fitness industry or why do you think the health and fitness industry is grabbing on to cold brew and Nitro coffee like they are?
Luke: I think it’s purely because with us, the no sugar, the no dairy, just the no additives in general, and for most other cold brews, without saying, they all tend to stick to that no shit added in.
Brendan: Just coffee and water.
Luke: Just coffee and water, yes, can’t go wrong.
Brendan: Got it. It’s more of a– It’s pure and it’s healthy, right?
Luke: Yes, that right, yes, isn’t it?
Brendan: Got you. Talking a little more broadly, maybe Western Australia, and then we can go Australia wide, what’s the current landscape for a cold brew that you see right now?
Luke: I guess starting with here in WA, the cold brew scene, it’s relatively new. There are two or three brands that are starting to pop up in the market. I believe you guys have had one on your show. Over east, it’s like everything in Australia starts over in Sydney and your Brisbanes and your Melbournes. Yes, it won’t take us long over here but we’re a little bit behind but I feel, personally, that the Perth culture, and the beaches, and the weather, and everything suits cold brew.
Brendan: If it’s anything like Southern California and the west coast of the US, then I would imagine you guys have a great location for it.
Luke: Yes, for sure.
Brendan: You said you started probably about nine months ago, including your product research and testing and everything. Have you noticed any big changes in those nine months just in cold brew?
Luke: Not so much in WA. We’re starting to notice is, there’s a lot of experimentation going on with the Nitro and the kegged coffees in general. I’ve got a few close friends over in the east, and there’s one area of the coffee industry I really look forward to seeing expand. Just some of the stuff that it’s starting to pop up over there. Like I said earlier on, it’s only a matter of time before these things make their way over here and it’ll be Australia wide. They got Nitro and the kegged coffees, this going to be the place to be in a couple years’ time.
Brendan: Okay, so kind of jumping back, you guys I know you’re selling the pouches. Do you do any kegged coffee currently or any draft coffee at markets or shows or events?
Luke: Not yet. We have been playing around with the Nitro coffee. We’re hoping to be ready to launch that just before summer, just at local markets and what not. Just to see how it goes from there. We’ll see where it take us.
Brendan: Yes, you guys are in the middle winter right now. That’s right. What’s the weather like there today?
Luke: Where I work, I work up in the north of the states, it’s quite nice. We’re sort of seeing about 30 degrees during the day and drop down to about 15 at night. But down where I live, it gets a lot colder, it’s sitting around 18 during the day and five or six at night.
Brendan: Whoo, that’s chilly.
Luke: Chilly, yes.
Brendan: [chuckles] Have you guys seen– this is something we’ve asked some of the other Australians is, during the winter months, are you seeing a downtick or is it staying pretty consistent in terms of sales volume?
Luke: To be honest, we launched it at the start of winter, which wasn’t intended. [laughs]
Brendan: See if we can make this work. [chuckles]
Luke: Yes, that’s right. We launched it at the start of winter and just purely because we missed a couple of timings with our product. We weren’t happy with where we’re at when we wanted to launch it, so we always put it off. I’m really glad we did do that, because like you said if you can make it work in winter, then summer, well–
Brendan: It’s going to be a lot different in summer when you’re selling a cold product.
Luke: Yes, that’s right. One other thing we have relied on with that is we show how versatile our coffee is. As I mentioned earlier in the show, it comes in a concentrate. I’ve sort of like it to cordial. You pour a little bit in and you can mix it with whatever you want, so whether it’s coconut water, or on almond milk, or soy milk. In a couple of days, really cold winter mornings, I was just mixing it up with a little bit of hot water and having a hot coffee, which was equally delicious as the cold.
Brendan: Actually, that’s what got me going on cold brew initially. That’s how I was first introduced to it, having the concentrate and pour in some hot water into it to dilute it. I just fell in love with it that way. I actually fell in love with cold brew being hot. I, obviously, went down the rabbit hole and started kegging it and filling it with nitrogen and all that other fun stuff. It’s an amazing product.
Luke: Yes, it is so versatile.
Brendan: Absolutely, so right now you guys are just doing a single SKU or a single concentrate? Do you guys have any plans to add in maybe different origins, or blends, or even like a ready-to-drink that doesn’t have to be diluted?
Luke: We are sampling at the moment some 100 ml ready-to-drink pouches just purely for pre workouts, which are going down quite nicely. We’re also looking at a few different options when it comes to flavoring and ready-to-drink sort of stuff. I’m not sure whether we will go down there completely ready-to-drink up front. We may just see how we go with the flavoring and what not.
Brendan: Sure. I got you. Well, cool. I think you alluded to where you see the cold brew scene going in the next one to five years, but if you could sum it up real quick where you think cold brew might go this next year in Australia and then in the next five years, what do you see happening?
Luke: Well, in the next months, hopefully, That Cold Stuff is at the top of the cold brew down here. In five years’ time, I could see Nitro coffees in all the different variations in more cafes and bars, then it’s not– I think if you’re going to be hard-pressed to walk past the bar that’s not going to have a Nitro coffee on tap.
Brendan: Yes, I agree, man. We were actually just talking about that here with somebody yesterday. Just saying how it’s starting to pop up in bars and tap rooms alongside 12 other beers. There’s now Nitro coffee on tap at the end of the bar.
Luke: It’s crazy how it’s established [unintelligible 00:26:56].
Brendan: Absolutely. Well, hey Luke, we’ve pretty much covered everything we had noted here. Is there anything else you might want to mention or throw out there?
Luke: No, just a quick thank you to everyone that supported us so far and if you haven’t checked us out yet, check us out on Instagram, Facebook, ThatColdStuffAU. We’re also online www.thatcoldstuff.com.au. Thanks again. Thanks for having us.
Brendan: Absolutely. We’ll put links to all those in the show notes and I’ll get some pictures from you when we’re done recording here or have you send some over so we can throw those into the show notes as well.
Luke: Yes, perfect.
Brendan: All right, Luke. Well, thanks for joining us today and hopefully we can send some traffic your way.
Luke: Yes, cool. Thanks, Brendan. Thanks for having me.
Brendan: All right, take care man.
Luke: [unintelligible 00:27:46]
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Brendan: All right. Thanks for listening today and thanks to Luke Docherty for joining us. Make sure you guys go check out his website, thatcoldstuff.com.au or you can find them on Facebook and Instagram at ThatColdStuffAU. Remember, this was part five of our Australian cold brew series. If you’re looking for any of the other episodes, you can find those by going to dripsanddraughts.com/aucoldbrew.
As I mentioned at the top of the show, we’re putting together a collaborative e-book about cold brew cocktails, so if you’ve got a recipe that you’d like to submit and you’d like your company to be featured, visit dripsanddraughts.com/coldbreawcocktails. Submit your recipe, send us a picture, and hopefully, we get you in the e-book. That’s about going to do it for today.
Remember, if you like our show, go give us a rating or leave us a review. You can do that on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, Google Play Music, wherever you get your podcasts from. A rating and review would greatly help us out and we’d appreciate it. One final thanks to Luke Docherty. Make sure you guys go check out That Cold Stuff. I’m Brendan Hanson and we’ll see you again next Friday on Drips and Draughts podcast.