By Jill Nagy
What a difference 30 seconds can make. Since a 30-second advertisement was televised during the NFL Super Bowl on Feb. 7, Death Wish Coffee in Round Lake has seen its sales multiply three to four times, has increased its staff, ordered new equipment, added new products and rented an additional warehouse, according to company owner Michael Brown.
Current sales volume is now 1,500 pounds per day, said Brown. Before the ad ran, it was less than 500 pounds per day.
After an initial surge, things leveled off somewhat but “it’s been holding pretty steady.” The company has more than 2,000 recurring customers and a mailing list of 250,000.
Consequently, Brown said, “I have a lot of big plans.”
He is looking for a larger location so that he can bring all the company’s activities under one roof. Currently, they have four separate warehouses. Most sales now are online but the new location will include a retail outlet. In addition, the coffee is sold at Price Chopper, Hannaford, Healthy Living Market, and Saratoga Coffee Traders.
The company offers three coffee varieties: Death Wish, Valhalla Java, and Barrel Brand. Death Wish, the flagship product and best seller, is a dark brew with 200 percent more caffeine than traditional coffee. Valhalla Java is a full roast, but not as dark as Death Wish and with a caffeine level similar to traditional coffee varieties. Barrel Brand is aged in whiskey, rum and bourbon barrels. He plans to add a cold brew coffee.
Most of the company's sales are made online through DeathWishCoffee.com. They sell internationally, Brown said, "but Capital District customers are our best customers and closest to our hearts."
The company won a competition held by software maker Intuit for the 30-second spot. They beat more than 15,000 other small businesses in online voting by the public and Intuit employees.
RPA Company prepared the television ad for the Super Bowl but, Brown said he was there "every step of the way," attending the filming, where he was sprayed with water during the pirate ship sequence.
"I pretty much went along with what the directors said," he reported, but made sure that everything "fit my brand."
Previously, the company's advertising consisted primarily of online still pictures, some video, and some local radio advertising. Now, Brown is thinking about more online videos and additional local radio and television advertising. He wants to explore using more traditional media.
Brown, previously an accountant, "fell in love with coffee … I spent a lot of time in coffee shops and eventually decided to open one."
His coffee shop, Saratoga Coffee Traders, opened in 2008 at 447 Broadway in Saratoga Springs. Death Wish was launched in 2012.