Top-or­der brew

The Australian - The Deal - - First Up -

ON and off the cricket field, for­mer Test player Ed Cowan is chas­ing smooth shots.

And in a bid to share with a wider au­di­ence the ones he serves up out of the lime­light, the Syd­ney Six­ers and NSW opener has just ex­panded his Tri­pod Coffee busi­ness into Sin­ga­pore. The com­pany has come a long way since Cowan and his for­mer team­mate Steve Caz­zulino came up with the idea in the sheds one rainy day while en­joy­ing a brew.

“We’re still grow­ing and still kick­ing — as a young small busi­ness that’s two things you’re pretty happy to be able to say,” Cowan told The Deal.

The pair — who used to open the bat­ting for Tas­ma­nia — re­cently launched a re­cy­clable coffee cap­sule, an Aus­tralian first. It's been well re­ceived in the fast evolv­ing mar­ket, which didn't ex­ist be­fore 2000.

“It’s grown in terms of over­all con­sump­tion but also by the num­ber of play­ers in the mar­ket — it’s more com­pet­i­tive,” Cowan says. “We’re see­ing two fac­tors at play. One, price is be­ing driven down, which we knew was com­ing. But two, there’s also a big­ger fo­cus on greener prod­ucts, and we're at the fore­front of that.”

Cowan sees Sin­ga­pore as a spring­board for Tri­pod. The com­pany has es­tab­lished a ware­house there and plans to ser­vice Hong Kong, Thai­land, Viet­nam and the rest of South­east Asia from the city.

“Sin­ga­pore is easy Asia, in a sense,” Cowan says. “We feel as though there’s a huge mar­ket up there.”

In Aus­tralia, Har­ris Farm has just picked up Tri­pod Coffee as a retail client but Cowan says it’s been gen­er­ally tough get­ting his prod­uct on to shelves. “Re­tail­ers are a bloody hard nut to crack,” he says. In fact the whole pro­ject has been a “bloody hard slog” for the pair, he ad­mits, but “a great chal­lenge”.

“My cricket’s prob­a­bly im­proved the harder I’ve worked with the coffee — I used to go home and brood about a dis­missal, now there’s al­ways some­thing to dis­tract me.”

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