Sippin On Indo: Snoop Dogg Enters Cold Brew Coffee

Sippin On Indo: Snoop Dogg Enters Cold Brew Coffee

Get this Dogg a drink.

Rap legend and prolific entrepreneur/marketeer Snoop Dogg has stepped into the ready-to-drink coffee space with Indo, which is launching its line of unflavored cold brew, packaged in 12 oz. cans, online this week.

The brand is the brainchild of Michael Riady, a former real estate investor in Southeast Asia who pivoted into the specialty coffee business in 2017 as a partner in Los Angeles-based, Indonesian-focused roaster and cafe Tentara Surf & Coffee Roasters. After the company’s two physical stores shuttered during COVID, Riady continued to import and roast Indonesian coffee and sell it online while mulling his next move. Citing The Honest Company as an example, he set his sights on securing an “A-list” celebrity partner with whom to grow a revamped version of the brand.

In the midst of that search, Riady reconnected with an old friend from Los Angeles with connections to the entertainment industry, which led to an introduction to Snoop Dogg. The hip hop icon joined Indo as an equal equity business partner shortly thereafter and his impact was immediately felt; it was his idea to change the name.

In an email to BevNET, the rap legend explained “Michael Riady came to see me with the best cup of coffee that I’ve ever had and from there we came together to create a company that embodies my belief in hard work and ownership.”

Over his career as a businessman, Snoop Dogg has occasionally dabbled in the beverage industry, mostly as an alcohol marketer. Longtime fans will recall his memorable ads for St. Ides malt liquor in the early 90s, but his track record stretches well into the 2000s (as a pitchman for Blast by Colt 45) to the present day, where he’s currently seen in commercials for Corona. He’s been particularly active in wine as of late, having worked a multi-year partnership with Australian label 19 Crimes (alongside frequent pal Martha Stewart) and releasing a limited edition Death Row Records red wine. In a nod to his breakout single “Gin & Juice,” in 2020 Snoop collaborated with celebrity spirits seller Trusted Spirits on Indoggo, a gin infused with natural strawberry flavor.

Better known for his love of cannabis, Snoop said his personal relationship with coffee goes “way back,” having helped fuel himself and collaborators during long nights in the recording studio. Getting involved in a coffee brand felt “like full circle for me as an owner and creator,” Snoop said in an email.

“My first record was Gin and Juice, you know the lyrics,” wrote the hip-hop icon, who is credited as a co-founder. “I was ‘rolling down street smoking indo, now I’m drinking Indo.’ It’s always been my 1-2 punch.”

With Snoop on board, Indo’s aim is to “make coffee cool and fun” and serve as a contrast to existing specialty brands in the RTD space, Riady explained, sprinkling in references to inspirational names like Red Bull and Liquid Death. The rapper himself is not featured or mentioned on the can; Snoop will promote the brand “in ways that he wants to,” Riady said, while he focuses on executing on the business. On its website, the brand is teasing the tagline “Sip It Like It’s Hot,” as well as forthcoming episodes of “The Owners Series” that spotlight creators and entrepreneurs such as artist Esther Anaya and CocoTaps founder Coco Vinny. Indo also had a marketing presence at Shaq’s Fun House, a music festival created by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal that took place over Super Bowl Weekend.

When asked how he planned to promote the company, Snoop mentioned targeting specific consumer audiences including “college kids that need to fuel the dream, the nurses putting in long hours, or the engineers putting in the long hours in the studio.”

The coffee itself is a low-acid, organic Indonesian single origin with 250mg of caffeine per can, and is now available online at the brand’s website and via Gopuff, Bevmo and in all hotel rooms at Resorts World Las Vegas, a $4.3 billion resort, mall and casino complex that opened in 2021. The suggested retail price for one 12 oz. slim can is $5.99, and distribution is set to continue through authorized retailers like Erehwon, Albertsons and Safeway in the months ahead.

As Indo ramps up, Riady emphasized that the core of its business is still roasting whole bean coffee, which it continues to sell online. The company is also working on another RTD product: a 10% ABV espresso martini, priced at $24.99 per 4-pack, currently available for waitlist. Even with a big name partner, Indo remains a small operation: the team is less than 10 people, and just closed a pre-seed funding round from friends and family last year.

“The fact that Liquid Death was able to take a massive global commodity as a product and make it really successful kind of shows you where coffee is going as well,” he said. “You just have to dive deeper into the whole industry and look at all the different segments of what the competitors are doing and find your own niche. And that’s what we’re doing here.”