Cuvee Coffee: An Evolution from Product to Brand

Cuvée Coffee: An Evolution from Product to Brand

Earlier this month, Cuvée’s Mike McKim invited registrants from April’s Luncheon along with Austin AMA volunteers to his East Austin shop for a redux to hear the Cuvée brand story over complimentary local coffee and beer. Thanks to Mike and his staff for a wonderful evening! Here are some of our favorite takeaways.

A quality product.

Mike is a humble realist – he recognizes the work he has put into his extremely successful business, but he won’t shy away from the mistakes he made in the early days of Cuvée. Mike honestly admits that in the beginning, he did not recognize the importance of “a brand”, and instead focused all his energy on his product because he believed that a great product sells itself. And in the beginning, that philosophy worked. However, if that great product was going to go the distance, Cuvée needed a brand and story to sustain it.

An idea. Then, an ‘aha’!

When you think of coffee on the store shelf, you usually imagine earth-toned bags, right? A sea of brown is precisely what Mike found when he excitedly went to Whole Foods to see his first product on the shelf. Cuvée’s packaging looked like every other brand, so much so that Mike couldn’t find it. So when Mike’s wife suggested selling their beans in blue bags as a way to differentiate Cuvée, Mike didn’t shy away from the revolutionary idea. The blue bags jumped off shelves. Over the next 90 days after changing the brand’s colors, Cuvée saw a 300% increase in sales. The blue became the catalyst for their brand story…

Serious Coffee Doesn't Have to Take Itself So Seriously - We Believe in Liberating Specialty Coffee

“Transcend coffee…. find inspiration outside your industry.”

A set of steadfast company values.

Cuvée’s blue bag test made Mike realize that great branding + a great product can go the distance. Mike decided to formalize the company values swirling around in his head. These five values inform and frame everything they do:

Consistent Quality, Local Love, Authentic Relationships, Insatiable Ingenuity, Come As You Are

“As an entrepreneur, you should move away from saying, ‘Listen to me because I’m an expert”, towards “Let me listen to you…’”

The brand is alive.

Cuvee CoffeeWhat has kept Cuvée so successful? Mike says that today, he likes to think of the brand as a “living entity.” He makes sure to ask himself the questions that will keep his company on the right path: What’s important? What do we believe in? Who are we here for? How do we behave? What do we stand for? Every single one of those questions is one you should be able to answer, whether for your personal brand or for your business.

If you haven’t experienced Cuvee, check out their coffee bar at 2000 E 6th Street, or visit

Follow Cuvee on Facebook to find out about registration for their upcoming roastery tour on July 17th.

**Mike McKim and Austin AMA sends our sincerest apologies to the registrants of the April Luncheon for the scheduling mix-up. If you were unable to attend the June 4th event at Cuvée, we hope to make it up to you soon!

Images: courtesy of Cuvée Coffee

Austin AMA Marketing Jam 2015 with YETI Coolers. Grab one of three door prizes from the City of New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau

5 Things You Didn’t Know About New Braunfels

Living in the city of the Violet Crown, it’s easy to overlook the fun just down the road. So, why is the Austin AMA talking about New Braunfels? Hint: Austin AMA is having a big party on June 18 and our Hill Country neighbor just threw down the “door prize” gauntlet.

Without further ado, here are five reasons we love New Braunfels…

1) It’s home to the oldest dance hall in Texas.

Gruene Hall, built in 1878, is the oldest continually running dance hall in the entire Lone Star State. The 6,000 square foot, tin-roofed venue has played host to an array of incredible musicians, including Lyle Lovett, George Strait, John Hiatt, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Dixie Chicks, Chris Isaak, Merle Haggard, Little Richard, Willie Nelson, and many more. The hall, which has been used for a rather eclectic mix of events (from high school proms to badger fights), is now considered one of the best breeding grounds for new musical talent in Central Texas.

2) You can get your whitewater rafting on!

Austin AMA Marketing Jam 2015 with YETI Coolers. Grab one of three door prizes from the City of New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau.We bet you didn’t know you could ride some Class 3 to 5 rapids in the middle of Texas — but it’s true! Guadalupe River can flow up to 5,000 cfs during temporary releases from
Canyon Lake. There are three outfitters offering guided trips: Rockin R River Rides, Gruene River Co, and Mountain Breeze Camp, and if you prefer a slower pace, The
Comal River is a relaxing, spring-fed waterway that is perfect for tubing.

3) It has a rich German history.

New Braunfels was established in 1845 by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels, Commissioner General of the Adelsverein (also known as the Noblemen’s Society). The Adelsverein played an enormous role in the city’s German heritage, as they organized hundreds of immigrants to settle in the area in the mid-19th century. Since then, New Braunfels’ beginnings have been celebrated in a variety of yearly cultural events, the most famous of which is the annual Wurstfest — a celebration devoted to beer and bratwurst.

4) It has a taste of that old-school romance.

Looking for a new way to woo your lover? Get in your car, drive to the 30 acre lot of Stars & Stripes Drive-In Theater, tune into your radio, and settle in with some food and drink to enjoy a film on any one of the three large movie screens. Open year-round, the theater is a beautiful and fun throwback experience.

5) You can experience some of the greatest water thrills in the U.S!

Austin AMA Marketing Jam 2015 with YETI Coolers. Grab one of three door prizes from the City of New Braunfels Convention and Visitors Bureau.If you haven’t been to Schlitterbahn yet, you are missing out. The park offers something for everyone, whether you’re more of a “Lazy River” enthusiast or a “Bahnzai Pipeline” thrill-seeker. From young families to a group of friends looking for a weekend getaway, Schlitterbahn is one of our favorite ways to cool off in the hot Texas summer. The park
offers one and two day packages, as well as season passes that pay for themselves after just three visits — more reason to spend more time visiting New Braunfels!

And a bonus reason? The City of New Braunfels is generous. So generous, in fact, that they are providing THREE amazing door prizes at our annual party — the Austin AMA Marketing Jam 2015 with YETI Coolers!. Pre-register for Marketing Jam for a chance to win an adventurous tour, a wine tasting trip, or a Schlitterbahn Super Day pass.