Online coffee sales shot up when COVID hit

Veteran-owned Black Rifle Coffee nearly doubled revenue in 2020

Evan Hafer on his veteran-owned coffee company’s mission

Coffee companies with online presence and subscription services saw an enormous boost in e-commerce sales in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic last year, an indication that consumers unable or unwilling to visit their favorite coffee spot at the start of the pandemic switched to making their brew at home – and many are sticking with it.

Bloomberg's Second Measure analytics service reported that coffee purveyors Peet's Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee and Philz Coffee – all three of which have both cafes and online direct-to-consumer sales – saw striking shifts toward internet sales at the beginning of 2020.

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While Peet's online sales averaged around 22% of its monthly business in 2019, that average shot up to 78% in April of 2020 for the Berkeley, California-based company as lockdowns hit much of the nation. During the same time periods, competitor Philz Coffee went from 17% of online sales to 72%, while Blue Bottle Coffee's online sales went from 19% to 86%.

The data show that as retail locations have reopened, online coffee purchases shifted back down for the three firms – but still remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

Those three companies are not alone in the online growth they saw last year. 

"The findings in this report match exactly what BRCC saw in terms of coffee club subscription growth," Black Rifle Coffee Company told FOX Business in an email. "In 2020, our revenue nearly doubled to $163 million. 70% of that was from e-commerce."

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In addition to an increase in e-commerce coffee customers, Black Rifle also saw a change in the way people were enjoying coffee. 

"There was a renewed interest in the art of growing, roasting and brewing coffee," the company told FOX Business. "We work hard to make an elevated coffee experience available to our entire community through the Coffee Club and our Coffee or Die blog, so we were able to strengthen relationships with new and existing subscribers in that way as well."

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