Earlier this year, a gutsy new cold brew company called Keep It Cool emerged from Montreal. With the slogan on the company website reading, “We didn’t invent cold brew, but who the fuck cares,” and an effortlessly slick package design to match, Keep It Cool are not at all abashed about making a mark.
But what becomes a cold brew brand once the summer turns to fall? After riding out the 2016 heat wave through retailers in Montreal and Toronto, Keep It Cool officially opened a second brewing and bottling facility last month in Miami, seizing the opportunity to tap into a year-round cold brew drinking market. Outfitted in bottles that would look as comfortable on the refrigerator shelves of a corner coffee shop as they would at a high-end cocktail bar, Keep It Cool has an ever-increasing list of vendors including Tokyo Smoke, Kupfert & Kim, and Quantum Coffee, as well as Soho House’s Toronto, Miami, and Malibu locations.
Although Keep It Cool is fresh on the scene, co-founders Roy “Buck” Riettie and Shayaa Scott will tell you their cold brew, its signature taste, the design, and their partnership have been years in the making. The two met on opening day of Riettie’s Buck 15 Espresso Bar in Montreal’s trendy St. Henri neighborhood. Coincidentally, Scott had his eye on building out a coffee shop in the exact same location—he was one of Buck 15’s first customers.
Over the years, Buck 15 Espresso Bar has been the testing ground for Keep It Cool. Riettie has been actively introducing customers to his cold brew and measuring response to the intended company name by using “Keep It Cool” as the shop’s internet password. Scott says, “[Roy] has been holding that bottle for seven years and not showing it to people. He knew that he needed to put cold brew in those bottles.”
Keep It Cool is made with single-origin beans from Toronto-based microroaster de Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters. “We are using, in my opinion, the best coffee in Canada,” says Riettie, “We find that using de Mello Palheta, the consistency [in the roast] is always spot on. With our method of brewing, and their beans—it’s the perfect marriage.”
Riettie and Scott brought on 1924 designer and illustrator Christian Watson to actualize their vision for a vintage-inspired whiskey flask. Though the signature hand-drawn label featuring the bust of a lion is unique in its own right, Keep It Cool is making waves by offering different levels of customization to its retail partners. For stockists like Soho House Toronto that prefer more subtle brand integration, Keep It Cool provides a personalized interior label which is revealed only after drinking the cold brew. On the other hand, shops like Sorry Coffee Company, or Sweet Jesus, retail the cold brew with custom artwork inside and out. The results are undeniably handsome.
Keep It Cool retails in shops here in Toronto between $5 and $5.50 CAD per bottle. While wholesale options are available, you can also order the cold brew through their website in a six-pack, or by the dozen.
Though the company’s signature flask is made of glass, Keep It Cool also sources a plastic bottle which is suitable for sipping on at music festivals or for lounging poolside. And, in case you were wondering, Riettie and Scott’s cold brew will maintain freshness for up to six months—if refrigerated. In other words, you need to Keep It Cool.
Ashley Tomlinson is the founder of The Little Black Coffee Cup, a digital coffee publication based in Toronto. This is Ashley Tomlinson’s first feature for Sprudge.