We all know that winter is coming, but gray skies and dropping temperatures have little impact on consumers who prefer a glassed of chilled coffee to a mug of hot java.
Jenny Bonchak of Slingshot Coffee Company is counting on those dedicated fans from Massachusetts to Florida to make the Raleigh's business' seemingly off-season debut—a new, 64-ounce container of cold-brewed coffee, with its own tap—a success. Packaged like boxed wine, Slingshot's new format holds four times as much coffee as their 16-ounce bottle. And at around $15 for the box and $4-5 per bottle, it's value packaging that will a stay fresh for up to six weeks.
"Who wouldn't want their own personal Slingshot tap in their refrigerator?" says Bonchak, who launched the company in 2012 and is on track to produce as much as 10,000 gallons of cold-brewed coffee this year. "Bottles are great to grab on the go, but the box creates an option to enjoy at home."
Bonchak and her husband, Jonathan Bonchak (formerly of Durham-based Counter Culture, whose beans Slingshot uses exclusively), spent a lot of time this year considering options for selling a larger-capacity version of Slingshot. She believes they currently are the only producer of cold-brewed coffee in the U.S. packing their product this way for home use.
While boxed wines still carry a certain stigma of cheapness or low quality, Bonchak says they opted for the format for several reasons. Notably, it preserves the fresh taste of their high-quality brew for an extended period. With the exception of the hard plastic tap, the package is entirely recyclable, too.
This marks the second major product introduction this year for Slingshot, which collaborated with Durham Distillery to create Damn Fine Coffee Liqueur. It would seem that a boxed version of Slingshot's popular Cascara Tea—referenced this week by NPR's The Salt, which examined the growing popularity of the beverage—would be the obvious next step. But Bonchak says they are in no hurry.
"We're just focused on getting the Slingshot box into stores and filling holiday orders," she offers. "We're still a really small team. We'll take things on step at a time."
The boxed option, meanwhile, will be available starting today at local Whole Foods stores and many independent retailers, as well as online through the Slingshot website. Orders guaranteed for Christmas delivery will be taken through Dec. 11.
This post first appeared in Indy Week.