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Minnetonka-based Dashfire rolls out line of hard coffees - Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

September 2020

Dylan Thomas

Staff reporter

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business


Micro-distillery Dashfire is adding three

new canned “hard coffee” drinks to its

lineup of bitters, liqueurs and ready-todrink


Owner Lee Egbert said Café Dashfire is, as

far as he knows, the first line of hard

coffees produced in Minnesota. They’re set

to hit the state’s liquor stores this month.

The combination of booze and coffee is

trending with consumers. An article in the

September issue of Beverage Industry, a

trade magazine, highlighted recent data compiled by research firm Nielsen

that showed hard coffee sales totaled $18.9 million in the U.S. for the 52-

week period ending July 18, an 11,000% increase from the same period a

year earlier.

Sold in individual 200ml cans, Dashfire’s hard coffees clock in at 14%

alcohol by volume and contain varying amounts of caffeine, typically less

than the amount in a cup of coffee. Developed with input from Minneapolisbased

Five Watt Coffee, flavors include Rum Café Mocha, Rum Golden Latte

and Bourbon Cold Brew.

Founded in 2012, Minnetonka-based Dashfire’s early focus was bitters —

botanicals infused into an alcohol base that add a dash of flavor to

cocktails. The family-run company later added a line of ready-to-drink craft

cocktails, available in both 100ml cans and 750ml bottles.

Egbert said sales of Dashfire’s ready-to-drink cocktails overtook bitters last


“Our core business changed overnight,” he said. “… Credibility and being

able to do quality are the checkmarks you need to hit in order to do this.

Bartenders have known us. We’ve been trusted in terms of cocktails for a

long time.”

Those pre-mixed cocktails have also helped Dashfire weather the pandemic.

Much of the company’s bitters were sold to the bar and restaurant industry,

and revenue from that side of the business took a big hit earlier this year

when restaurants across the country either closed or changed the way they

operate to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Egbert said ready-to-drink cocktail sales also slowed for a time, a

phenomenon he chalks up to shoppers choosing curbside pickup over instore

purchases, particularly in the early phases of Minnesota’s pandemic

response. Dashfire’s canned cocktails are often found near the checkout,

making them an easy impulse purchase. Egbert said their canned cocktails

also benefit from retailers who like the drinks hand-selling them to


Dashfire was expecting significant growth in ready-to-drink cocktail sales

this year. Taking the pandemic into account, Egbert said, “We’re probably

sitting very similar to where we were last year at this point.”

But there’s still time for Café Dashfire to boost the company’s 2020

performance, and Egbert predicted they could be the key to his business

growing through a difficult year.

“I think the coffees are actually going to put us in a positive light for the

year,” he said.

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