What drives someone to start a business? “For us, it’s about creating the highest quality coffee product while staying true to our roots,” says Annie Mitchell, co-founder of Bottleshot Cold Brew. Together with partner Charlotte Dales, the American duo decided to launch their cold brew coffee company upon realising they couldn’t find the authentic cold brew that they grew up drinking in New Orleans in London. Mitchell’s enthusiasm and confidence in her product is highly visible every time she talks about it. Clearly, cold brew isn’t just a drink, but a movement that she and the Bottleshot team hope will really take flight in the capital. From partnering with Soho House to the support she’s gained from the local small business community, food and drinks writer Ina Yulo chats with Mitchell about her life as a founder and all things coffee.
What made you decide to make the leap across the pond and what has living in the UK been like so far?
I was living in New York, ready to leave the city but not quite ready to settle down in a suburb, so we looked abroad and thought let’s go and see the world! I expected to move for 1-2 years, and within 6 months, it was obvious we didn’t want to leave any time soon. The idea to start Bottleshot in the UK also originated during those early days. Needless to say, we’ll be sticking around for a while!
What do you miss the most about New Orleans?
Beignets…and family…but Beignets. Art. Jazz.
What is the ethos behind Bottleshot Cold Brew?
We’re in it to inspire productive days, high energy workouts, and focused creativity. It’s also about helping you better manage those slower mornings and slump-y afternoons that we all inevitably face. Making our product as sustainable as possible is another top priority, from obtaining Rainforest Alliance certification which ensures that our coffee is ethically sourced and partnering with Urban Mushroom to repurpose our coffee waste, to choosing a recyclable can to serve it in. There’s so much more we aspire to do in that realm, so those initiatives are only the beginning.
What are some of the benefits of cold brew coffee? Why do your customers love your brand?
We brew our coffee for 18 hours, which gives us the proper amount of time to extract the best flavours. Slow and steady wins the race as they say. The resulting taste is naturally bold, sweet, and nutty and doesn’t need artificial ingredients to cover it up. It’s strong in caffeine and significantly less acidic than hot coffee (60% less). Both of our flavours have zero added sugars and the recipes contain minimal ingredients.
You’ve found a real partner in Soho House. How has that collaboration helped your business scale and grow?
They’ve been such an asset. As a new brand in the F&B space, having the direct line of feedback from servers and customers has been invaluable. They’ve also helped us with design, which their brand has clearly mastered -– I wish they’d makeover my home.
Small businesses have been struggling more than ever during these unprecedented times. How have you responded to this and how are you looking to adapt your gameplan?
We’re doubling down on digital efforts to help our customers restock from home. We’re also thinking ahead to the next quarter about how to put our brand in a strong position to grow once the world starts to stabilise again. Lastly, we’re asking ourselves how can we, as a coffee brand, do our part to support those who need caffeine now more than ever. Medical staff and mothers were the first two groups to come to mind so we’ve been sending ambassadors from both realms cold brew to give them a much needed boost!
How have you leveraged the local founders community in getting started and also as a support system?
I never knew I’d enjoy networking until I quit my corporate job. Everyone in the entrepreneurial and F&B space is incredibly supportive of each other. I’m part of several organisations, growth groups, Facebook chats, etc. but my go-to when I have a problem is to think about a SMB company who has likely experienced a similar challenge. I ask them for their advice, and how can I help them in return.
You recently launched the new Cold Brew Oat M*lk. Tell me more about that and why you saw a gap in the market.
When you’re shopping in the supermarket you’ll notice that juice and seltzer brands have had a complete shake up where they now offer healthier, tasty options, which consumers like us are loving. But what about the coffee & energy drinks? Your options are primarily artificial and carcinogenic, or an excessively sweet “latte” that’s loaded with sugar. Aside from wanting to satisfy your sweet tooth or last minute desperation, why would you choose this as your coffee resource? We want to create access to high quality coffee that can stand on its own without artificial ingredients to mask the taste, and no added sugar that’ll create a sugar drop in 30 minutes. Our cold brew oat m*lk is a dairy-free, high-energy coffee drink that is smooth, oaty and not excessively sweet. Plus, oat m*lk is easier on the environment than other alt-milks.
Once the lockdown is over, where can we find you: 1) Enjoying a meal, 2) Grabbing a drink, 3) Squeezing in a workout
All three together. I actually love doing a long run on a Sunday that ends outside of a pub for a burger & beer as my reward. If you have any good outdoor pub recommendations East or West send them my way! I’m always trying to end up somewhere new.