PNW men shake up drink industry with hard coffee in a can

Local

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — During the pandemic, many people discovered a love for cocktails in a can — but a group of friends in the Portland and Spokane area came up with an idea for something they thought was underrepresented: hard coffee.

The ready-to-drink industry exploded during the pandemic. But Vince Siler thought RTDs could use a little caffeine boost. After all, we are in portland.

“Everybody was at home, they just wanted to drink something,” Siler said. “So that sparked my idea of not seeing a hard coffee and being in the northwest — hard coffee is a dominant player.”

Siler called up his friend, Spokane restaurant owner Jordan Smith, to hash out a plan. They then brought Jay Carter and Philip States on as board members.

Together, they came up with KÄMÄ — a hard coffee in a can.

“It’s wine-based, we use wine to get our alcohol content, we’re getting our coffee right here in Portland,” Smith explained. “The caffeine in it is equivalent to about a half a cup of coffee. The thing we love is it’s only 100 calories, some of the other competitors are heavy so we wanted to keep it low calorie and vegan and gluten-free.”

They did all this in just over a year with a lot of guidance — including from Siler’s famous cousin– Trailblazer star and winemaker CJ McCollum. He said McCollum gave a lot of advice, some help with goal setting and really assisted in fine-tuning the idea.

Just like McCollum is blazing trails in adding diversity in the winemaking field, KÄMÄ is doing the same in the ready-to-drink industry.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us being 100% black-owned to show people how it’s done, be able to reach back down and educate and provide more opportunities for people,” Smith said.

KÄMÄ is sold in several local liquor stores and restaurants and bars. Check out their website here.

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