RISE Brewing Co. Is Officially On The Rise

Brianna Ciccotelli

Nitro cold brew coffee has become a common item on coffee shop menus over the last couple of years. RISE Brewing Co. founders saw an opportunity back in 2014 to make more out of their morning coffee experience. After crafting the perfect cold brew coffee, they infused their creation with nitrogen to create their very own nitro cold brew. With no artificial flavors, a natural sweetness and 80% less acidity than hot brewed coffee, RISE’s nitro cold brew is definitely on the rise. We caught up with RISE founder Hudson Gaines-Ross to learn about their dive into the coffee industry and the future of RISE.

How and when did you get your start in the coffee industry?

Back in 2014, my Co-Founders Jarrett McGovern, Grant Gyesky, Justin Weinstein and I started RISE Brewing Co. by cold brewing out of our New York City apartments (we now have a large brewery producing tens of thousands of kegs and cans daily!) because we were black coffee drinkers that expected more from the regular dull black coffee and preservative-packed coffee beverages on the market at the time. We brewed the best cold brew coffee we could without any preservatives and infused it with nitrogen to make the coffee frothy and creamy without any dairy. It was incredible!

When we made our first nitro cold brew coffee samples we did two things: 1) We stood outside of a Whole Foods Market in Tribeca with label-less cans handing them out to get honest customer feedback. We learned more from those 6 hours than the 6 months of “getting coffee” with people to learn about the industry. 2) We rode the subway with kegs and sampled them at a restaurant in Brooklyn—the staff was immediately ecstatic and asked for three kegs that Friday. We were like “Uh, oh. We have a business on our hands here!”

How long has RISE Brewing Co. been in business? Tell us the story of RISE Brewing Co.!

Around 2 years but the original idea came to us about 3 years ago. We spent a lot of time perfecting our brew the first year. It was a lot of work! And a lot of fun…

Where does the name RISE come from?

We had so many names. In fact, we have an old photo of Jarrett and me holding a whiteboard of all the names we were contemplating. RISE just feels good, you know? It’s strong, to the point, and feels like a brand you want to grab off the shelves or out of your fridge those early mornings before work and late nights with friends. It sounds refreshing too. It’s also lively! It’s not pretentious, which we heard was a common complaint for coffee drinkers when going into 3rd wave coffee shops. We want to be relatable and real. Most importantly, we’re all about NITROGEN infused coffee. So, naturally, our cold brew RISEs with a frothy cascade like a Guinness.

Where do your coffee beans come from?

Our brew is made with organic, single-origin, Fair Trade beans from Peru’s Chanchamayo Valley. We sampled over 100 bean profiles in the early days. We were basically caffeinated all day.

How would you describe nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee to an average consumer?

Think a super light, refreshing stout beer meets iced coffee with a frothy head. An infusion of nitrogen gives RISE its distinctive, creamy cascade. Put simply, it’s cold brew infused with nitrogen! How’s that?

What makes RISE Brewing Co. unique? How does RISE differentiate from other coffee shops?

We want to make our brand lively, approachable, and relatable, built around expecting more from beverages already on the market. We started RISE because we expected more from coffee, yet relatable, so we made a brand that reflects that! Melissa Bishop, our incredible COO, always says “we’re not coffee snobs, we’ve become coffee experts.” It’s true. We really don’t want to be pretentious and make people feel like they don’t get coffee culture. Coffee is a commodity. Let’s not treat it like it’s a luxury.

As a Co-Founder, I’d say our team makes the company unique. It’s all about people. We love what we do. I’m proud of everyone on our team that has made RISE what it is today—I can see everyone’s value here, there and throughout our brand. I wake up every morning beyond excited to jump right in because I know the team is as excited as me. I’m truly grateful.

What is the most popular drink on the menu?

Our first product the “Original Black”—organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, single-origin, non-dairy, kosher and 0 calories. It’s so frothy and creamy! We actually won “2017’s Best New Beverage” by the industry’s leading trade association, BevNet, because of its taste and standard. We love all of the support the BevNet team has given us to date. We owe a lot to them!

What is your average customer like? Do you have any regulars?

We don’t really have an average customer. We have young worker bees, fitness influencers, students, bartenders, NBA/MLB athletes, models, moms, dads, dogs…you name it! We have PLENTY of regulars at our cafe. However, most of our support comes from our regular customers who buy RISE online (get ‘em here) and our B2B clients—Facebook, Glossier, Juice Press, AWAY, Lyft, Dogpound, Shadowbox, etc. tag us up on social ALL the time!

What is your #1 tip for making good coffee at home?

Just grab a can of RISE, duh! It’s consistently perfect each time! That’s what I do every morning. 

How do you drink your coffee?

Right out of a RISE can! Double duh.

What is your daily uniform?

I wear all denim most of the time and can be seen with a RISE hat (get them here).

When you aren’t drinking coffee, what are you drinking?

I drink a TON of water and seltzer. I have a massive water filter thing at home and try not to purchase plastic bottled water ever. Always feel weird about it.

Does RISE have plans to expand? Possibly open another coffee shop?

100%. That’s all we’re focusing on right now. We’re expanding up and down the east coast and to the west coast pretty aggressively with our amazing distribution partners. We also now have e-commerce. Let’s also just say we have some eyes on some new product rollouts, international expansion and a lot of big brand partnerships in the pipeline. Shhhhhh…

We are excited to see how RISE Brewing Co. continues to rise in the coffee industry. Be sure to stay up to date on all things RISE and if you don’t live in NY you can shop their coffee online.

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