Hot coffee out of a can? To the uninitiated, it might sound bizarre, but a new company called Hotshot wants to bring hot canned coffee, which is extremely popular in Japan, to American markets as soon as this coming January.
Founder Danny Grossfield says he started learning about these products after a visit to Japan where he bought canned coffee out of a vending machine and was surprised when it came out hot. He was even more surprised by what else he learned. “Believe it or not, the biggest brand in Japan is called Georgia, owned by Coca-Cola,” Grossfield told Beverage Daily. “They’re doing $3 billion in canned coffee sales in Japan, but why aren’t they doing it in the States? The big companies know the success of it [in Japan], they just aren’t sure it’s going to catch on in the US.”
Hotshot has been in the works for two-and-a-half years, figuring out things like nailing the perfect temperature and finding an acceptable insulated can. Distribution is also a challenge since the US vending machine market is different than Japan’s. Instead, Hotshot coffee will be sold out of a Hot Box – which will be available both for retailers and home (and cannot, despite the name, also be used for getting high in your car).
Grossfield says the brand will first target college students (some of whom may recognize the company from its appearance on the show Shark Tank), and will be available in Espresso, Caramel, Vanilla Frappe and Hot Chocolate varieties. From there, he see tons of potential for his brand: Even if they only sell a third as much hot canned coffee in the US as they do in Japan, that’s still $1 billion. I’m guessing he’d be happy with that.