Taste Radio Episode 179

High Brew Coffee: David Smith


If you were an entrepreneur whose company was recently acquired for millions of dollars, what would be your next move? If you said, “Get on a boat and sail the Carribbean,” then you’re in good company. That was David Smith’s plan. After 13 years on the grind, Smith, the co-founder of organic tea brand Sweet Leaf Tea, was ready to relax. 

But after a few months at sea, he grew restless and soon found himself drawing up plans for a new business: cold brew maker High Brew Coffee, launched in 2013. Drawing upon the experience and team Smith cultivated at Sweet Leaf, High Brew got off to a fast start and has since become one of the top-selling brands in the competitive cold brew segment. 

In an interview included in this episode, Smith reflected upon his 20 year journey as a beverage entrepreneur, cutting his teeth with Sweet Leaf and his lifelong friendship with the brand’s co-founder Clayton Christopher, and why culture was “everything” at the company. He also discussed his next act with High Brew and how his prior experience influenced the launch and development of the brand, as well as the importance of planning for growth and why he believes that, no matter how well you plan, mistakes are unavoidable. This episode is presented by Flavorman, the beverage architects.

In this Episode

2:39: Interview: David Smith, Founder/CEO, High Brew Coffee — In a call with Taste Radio editor Ray Latif, Smith spoke about his foray into entrepreneurship and why his homebase in Austin has long been a hotbed for innovative startups. He also discussed learning on the job as the co-founder of Sweet Leaf, the simple, yet effective, communication and marketing strategies for the brand, the rule of thumb for vetting potential employees and whether he was satisfied with the sale of tea company. Later, he explained why, despite Starbucks’ dominance in RTD coffee, he saw an opportunity to launch High Brew, how past relationships and alliances played into the development of the brand, and why innovation has been key to its growth.

Also Mentioned

High Brew Coffee, Sweet Leaf Tea, Nestea, Lipton, AriZona, Starbucks