Growing Companies

Let's say you enjoy your morning latte – piping hot, ready to go at a moment's notice.

But you're not in the mood – or don't have the time – to brew your own. There's no way you're waiting in that drive-in line at McDonald's. And the Starbucks down the road can get a little pricey every day.

Boy, does Steve Hatch have a deal for you.

Hatch, the CEO of Copper Mountain Beverages, is launching his company's first product line – Hot2Go, a packaged latte that he boasts has real milk, is ready to heat and drink, and tastes as good as more expensive coffee beverages.

"You pop off the top … put it in the microwave … and enjoy it," Hatch says. "We're an alternative, convenient way for the consumer to drink hot coffee lattes whenever they want one."

It's an idea whose time has come, Hatch says.

Coffee is right up there with beer as Americans' third favorite beverage, behind sodas and bottled waters. Nearly 80 percent of adults drink coffee. Among those aged 18 to 24, 40 percent drink at least a cup a day, and among those 25-39, 54 percent are daily drinkers. Those last two figures, Hatch's research shows, are increases of 30 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from a year ago.

Another trend, he says, is for less expensive, more convenient coffee blends. And currently, Hatch said, Hot2Go is the only product of its kind on the market. He cites figures that ready-to-eat-and-drink coffee, cocoa and tea products could be a $1.2 to $3.4 billion market in five years.

So he's positioning his newly formed company to dominate the market. He offers three flavors of lattes – French vanilla, mocha and hazelnut, in both full strength and light versions. By September, he hopes to add cocoa and light cocoa to the product line. By spring of 2012, hot teas-to-go are planned.

Hatch, a marketing executive, helped develop the product, which he says uses a process similar to canning fruits and jams and jellies. That, he says, means it can use real milk, but is shelf-stable and does not need to be refrigerated.

He started his company in October 2010 at the Hamilton County Development Co., and already has reached what many consider to be the Holy Grail for distribution – Walmart is selling his product nationwide. Sam's Clubs are next, Hatch says, and he's working to get his product in other stores around the country.

Currently, it's being sold in individual packages; six-packs are in the near future, he says. The price should be between $1.60 and $1.80, cheaper than a convenience store, fast-food restaurant, or coffee shop products.

"It's the same quality at a fraction of the cost," he says. "And it's ready is 60 seconds."

By Paul Long
Copper Mountain Beverages
1776 Mentor Ave., Suite 250
Cincinnati , Ohio 45212
Steve Hatch