Putting Craft in Coffee

A Double-shot of Brand Innovation

Caribou Coffee is one of the most recognizable coffee brands in the US, especially across the midwest. They needed a fresh way to amplify their biggest launch of handcrafted drinks in the last decade. And they wanted it to catch the attention of a broader, younger audience who frequents smaller, more niche roasteries. It’s an audience that likes to dive deeply into their drinks. The challenge was reshaping the brand perception of these future Caribou converts by highlighting a side of the familiar coffee chain that most people are unaware of.

Meeting Our Target Customers On Their Terms

How do you attract this new, younger audience that places a premium on quality and experience? You go where they are with a message that resonates. These craft aficionados avoid bland, uninspired recipes, eschewing conventional coffee shops for unique places with creative flair. The same attention to detail they admire in coffee, they also admire in all facets of their lives, from the art they hang on their walls to the beer they drink. When you’re attracting an audience this discerning, it’s critical to show up authentically and in the right places. That’s why Caribou activated at craft-focused weekend hotspots Bauhaus Brew Labs, Tattersall Distilling and Number 12 Cider House with a flexible, mobile solution that went way beyond the standard sampling truck or tent.

image of younger people interacting with caribou coffee
image of younger people interacting with caribou coffee
smiling and trying different coffee drinks
smiling and trying different coffee drinks

A Handcrafted Experience

A custom sampling bar was created to match the aesthetic of these craft spaces while staying true to the Caribou brand. The clean, contemporary setup was complemented by a plush lounge that was as Instagrammable as the branded wall next to it. Each part of the experience was thoughtfully designed, down to the smallest detail, including how attendees tasted the collection. Flights of coffee with tasting notes were delivered, just like craft drink spots provide. Because sometimes you’ve got to blend in to stand out, and the flavors spoke for themselves.

Proving Craft Is About The Process

By highlighting the commonalities between a Caribou experience and craft beer and spirits, it showed consumers the craft-focused side of a popular coffee chain. It also proved good coffee doesn’t happen by accident. Like any craft beverage, it is artfully created and meticulously scrutinized, but it doesn’t have to be served by a specialty shop.

social media collage
social media collage

Extending Reach Beyond Events

Caribou’s craft message didn’t just disappear once the sampling events ended. A photo and video capture at each event led to the creation of extensive digital assets that Caribou and local influencers pushed out through a deliberate owned social strategy. And instead of the typical event recap video that would only show people the fun they missed out on, an entertaining branded piece was created that would stay relevant, even as summer faded. It all kept the conversation going for weeks and served as the whip on the matcha tea latte proving Caribou is craft.

The Impact

After the first event, drink sales for two of the three drinks had spiked 27%, their biggest week to date since the initial launch. Social shares and engagement spiked, and in the end, 3,600+ drinks were sampled and over 1M+ people were reached.







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