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Cold Brew Challenge Study Found Success


Steam Dot employs 45 people at two shops in Anchorage, Alaska. The company's key product and market is cold brew coffee. 

The Challenge

SteamDot invested a significant amount of time and resources into developing a canned cold brew line and was one of the first to market in the state of Alaska for locally-manufactured canned cold brew. Originally they were approved to sell the product in the refrigerator section of local retailers and within their own retail location. However, due to regulation changes this approval was pulled. Eventually they were able to negotiate a situation where they could continue to sell the product at the existing retail locations but Steam Dot couldn't expand to any new ones unless they could prove that it was a shelf-stable product. This greatly hindered the company's growth and put them in a position where their return on investment would not be realized unless they could achieve shelf stable approval. For help Steam Dot turned to the Alaska MEP, part of the MEP National Network™.

MEP is an essential asset for local manufacturers. We now have 100% market share in the state and are expanding to the lower 48! This project gave us the necessary information to grow, and has been transformational for us. The fine folks there are easy to work with and very resourceful. Plus, they’re just nice people!

— Jonathan White , Manager

MEP's Role

To achieve shelf stable approval SteamDot needed a lab that could test the cold brew product and empirically prove that it was food safe at room temperature for at least 6 months. The Alaska MEP assisted in coordinating a relationship between Steam Dot and a lab capable of completing a challenge study, as well as ensuring that proper funding was available to complete the project. To do this, the lab received a sample of SteamDot's product and monitored it for harmful growth over the course of 6 months. At the end of the 6 months the sample didn't have any growth and passed with flying colors.

The test results enabled SteamDot to receive shelf stability approval and begin expanding into new locations and markets. Though it was not an ideal situation, the approval has enabled the company to save costs and expand in ways they didn't know were possible. 

Created February 4, 2023