On the surface, the concept of alcoholic cold brew coffee doesn’t sound all that newsworthy. Coffee beers—especially dark coffee stouts that often have cold brew-like flavors—are common. Meanwhile, cold brew specifically has been used in all sorts of beer styles including examples like Saranac Cold Brew Coffee Lager and Rouge Cold Brew IPA. We’ve even seen so-called “hard” cold brew before, which is not beer at all, but just boozy cold brew: A brand called Bad Larry’s Cold Hard Coffee was introduced last year.
So when Café Agave announced it was releasing a “first-of-its-kind” canned “spiked” cold brew, it was easy to wonder what’s really so “first” about it…until we saw the ABV—which is a whopping 12.5%.
Not that most drinkers need a refresher, but by comparison, Budweiser clocks in at a pretty standard 5%. Bad Larry’s is a still sensible 6%. Instead, Café Agave’s 12.5% is closest to a glass of red wine. To be fair, Café Agave’s Spiked Cold Brew Coffee is sold in 187-milliliter cans, a bit over six ounces, meaning its serving size is more akin to that glass of wine. Still, Café Agave has something wine doesn’t have: caffeine—about as much as a half cup of coffee.
Clearly, you can get super boozy coffee stouts. Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout is a massive 12.9% ABV. But these beers are usually marketed at the beer geek crowd. Cold brew is specifically marketed to people who are looking for a caffeine kick. “We are all constantly on the go, non-stop, 24/7,” Café Agave Co-Founder Ami-Lynn Bakshi said in a statement. That doesn’t necessarily sound like the profile of someone who wants to chug the equivalent of a glass of wine.
Caffeine and alcohol are the two most widely consumed drugs in the world, and people have been mixing them since Jack met Coke. But the release of Café Agave is definitely noteworthy because if you do see it on the shelf, you should at least know what you’re getting yourself into before drinking one. “Spiked cold brew” sounds pretty innocuous. But Café Agave is pitching something more than that.
Yup, meet the cold brew for the EDM crowd.