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Forget beer — iced coffee kegs are the hottest new trend

Aug 08, 2023

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Goodbye, K-Cups. So long, afternoon Starbucks runs.

The latest trend to hit New York offices is the iced coffee keg — an idea pioneered by Queens-based Joyride Coffee Distributors.

From startups to fashion, law firms to finance, more and more New York companies are rethinking the water cooler — and are abuzz with the company’s cold-brew keg delivery, one of the few of its kind to exist.

Launched by brothers David, Adam and Noah Belanich, Joyride provides deliveries of artisan coffee grounds, tea and 5-gallon kegs filled with concentrated cold-brew coffee to offices like the social news and entertainment website BuzzFeed — whose staffers were first rewarded with a Joyride iced coffee kegerator in 2013 after the site hit a company-wide goal.

“I knew everyone would love it, and we couldn’t pass it up,” says chief of staff Jamie Urso. “It’s still a huge hit in the office, even over the winter months.”

Over the past year, Joyride has grown from five to 15 employees and doubled its delivery fleet — and it’s still growing. Youngest brother Noah recently moved to San Francisco to start a Joyride office there, where 30 of Joyride’s current New York clients have satellite offices.

But Joyride didn’t start out delivering coffee kegs to cubicles: The brothers originally conceived the company as a mobile food truck slinging upmarket frozen yogurt. The van hit the streets in the summer of 2010, and the brothers decided to offer Stumptown coffee to keep customers coming during the winter months. In 2011, after rising customer demand, the trio expanded the business to bring craft coffee to offices.

“People drink coffee in three places — home, work and a cafe,” Adam explains. “[But] you can only get good coffee in two of those places.”

Indeed. After just one month, office deliveries outpaced the amount of java being served from the truck.

In November of that year, Joyride sold its food truck and decided to focus on roasting artisan coffee to order, grinding and delivering it to offices. Since the brothers made cold-brew concentrate for their food truck, they packaged it in growlers. The following summer, some customers were ordering so much cold-brew that they couldn’t fit it all in their fridge.

“They said they wanted more, but they didn’t have space for it,” recalls David.

At the time, coffee shops were installing iced coffee kegs for internal use, so the brothers decided to replicate them in the office.

Joyride’s first kegerator was installed at Gawker last May — and the media company’s kept it ever since. It even maintains a website where workers can check if the keg is empty or not.

People drink coffee in three places — home, work and a cafe. [But] you can only get good coffee in two of those places.

It’s been a hit with other companies, some of which redesign their office spaces to accommodate the kegs. Colleen Quinn, office manager at Shop Architects, says when her firm was designing a new office space, they made sure to plot a spot specifically for Joyride’s kegerator in the common area.

“It is absolutely a treat for people,” she says. “The product is very strong and meant to be diluted at a one-to-one ratio with water or milk. I think our staff is drinking it practically straight, giving them a significant buzz.”

Quinn says the cold brew tap has toppled the water cooler as a gathering spot — and it’s a hit with clients who visit the office, too.

“It’s a popular place to take a five or 10 minute break and check in with other teams and staff members,” she says.

It’s even cut down on the need to run out for a cuppa joe.

“People seem to take coffee breaks in-house now, taking a walk to the common area to make a coffee and chat for a moment before returning to their desks,” she adds.

“We’re bringing the cafe experience to the office,” says David.

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