Business Matters: Bizzy Coffee takes off in Brooklyn Center
It may be sold cold, but it’s the hottest thing out there right now in the beverage industry. Cold-brew coffee has seen explosive growth. And nowhere is that more evident than at a place in Brooklyn Center.
The Birth of Bizzy Coffee
Inside a 7,000-square-foot warehouse along Freeway Boulevard in Brooklyn Center, Andrew Healy and Alex French have tapped into something that has taken off. They co-founded Bizzy Coffee, a cold-brew coffee that is part of the fastest growing segment in the beverage industry.
“The category keeps growing,” said Andrew Healy, co-founder of Bizzy Coffee.
The main difference between hot and cold-brew coffee is temperature and time.
“With cold brew, we’re taking ambient room temperature water and we’re soaking those coffee grounds in it for 18 hours,” said Healy.
Healy and French’s idea for a new coffee venture started percolating not long after college. Healy, now 30, and French, 29, began making cold-brew coffee in their kitchens.
“It was really out of a personal need,” said Healy. “We were drinking hot coffee. It was giving me a little bit of acid reflux and Alex didn’t want to drink hot beverages.”
Healy says cold-brew coffee has 67 percent less acidity than hot-brewed coffee, providing a more consistent, smoother taste.
“You don’t need as much cream and sugar to mask the bitterness of the acid,” said Healy. “And it’s much easier on your stomach. So I could drink it, go on a run or a bike ride and not have any acid reflux issues.”
Both Healy and French used cold-brew coffee to help them get through a 24-hour Tough Mudder obstacle race. Then soon after Healy’s work as a product engineer at Pentair and French’s work at General Mills, the duo decided to start a business.
“It really hits on all the major macro-trends within the industry. Sugar-free, lower calories, simpler ingredients, natural, organic,” said French on their cold-brew coffee. “And it’s kind of this new, trendy millennial market, so we’re like, let’s just throw it out there and see what happens.”
In nearly three short years, Bizzy Coffee has taken off. The business relocated to Brooklyn Center from Minneapolis last summer to allow for more room to grow.
“It’s exciting to have our own home, and make it our own space have a little bit of room to grow here,” said Healy.
And grew they did. Their business was aided by selling their product on Amazon.
“It’s something we started doing right away when we launched. And luckily it paid off really well,” said Healy.
Bizzy Coffee quickly became the internet giant’s top seller of cold-brew coffee. The company’s growth skyrocketed.
“Last year we grew 300 percent. The year before we grew 300 percent, so we’re growing really fast,” said French.
The company currently has five full-time and seven part-time employees. It plans to add more employees over the next year.
New Products Ready to Launch
The company has started making its cold brew for other coffee shops, as well as hotels and restaurants. Bizzy Coffee also launched a new mocha-flavored cold brew this month. And it’s taking a page out of the Franzia playbook by working on selling its coffee in a ready-to-drink bag-in-box.
Its top seller remains its 32-ounce bottles that you mix with water to make 16 cups of coffee. It also sells cold-brew coffee shots that are the equivalent of two shots of espresso. You can find their products online and at retail outlets like Lunds and Byerlys and Kowalski’s.
Bizzy gets its coffee beans from countries in Central and South America, areas where the company prefers the flavor from the beans. At its Brooklyn Center facility it doesn’t roast the coffee beans, but strictly focuses on making the cold brew.
“We worry about taking the bean and turning it into the liquid. That’s what we’re good at,” said Healy.