Tiny coffee company hopes to expand business after winning Super Bowl ad


Tiny coffee company hopes to expand business after winning Super Bowl ad

Mike Brown was bagging coffee beans out of his mother’s basement only two years ago. Now, his small business, Death Wish Coffee, is about to go very big: It will have a 30-second commercial in the third quarter of the Super Bowl. The company, based in Round Lake, N.Y., is the winner of the software maker Intuit’s small business contest. Brown recently hired two employees to prepare for a jump in business, giving him a staff of 12. Death Wish currently sells about 1,000 pounds a day, a number expected to increase considerably after its Super Bowl spot runs.

If even half a percent of the people who watch the commercial decide to buy a bag and give it a try, and 90 percent of them recommend it to others, we could have some amazing growth in the future.

Mike Brown

The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the U.S., and the ads get almost as much attention as the game itself. Brown’s commercial shows a Viking galley ship in stormy waters with the crew exhorted to keep rowing. The ship and the sea end up in a cup of Death Wish coffee downed by a man in his 21st century kitchen. Intuit has chosen to back a coffee ad at a time when smaller coffee chains are exploding and other so-called “third wave” roasters have grown their brick-and-mortar footprint. But Brown says Death Wish isn’t about those trends.

We don’t fall under any of the trendy coffees — it’s not third wave, or fourth wave … It’s a throwback, I’d say. It’s a working man’s coffee. It’s that deep, dark brew you drink in the morning just to get your butt out the door and get you moving.