Episode 67: Jose Nieves & Miguel Cardona of Brio! Cold Brew

Cold brew, capital and coffee kegs: The Brio! Boys brought it all to the podcast table this morning, and they definitely made us go “WHOA!”

Welcoming the Brio! Brothers to our podcast.

Welcoming the Brio! Brothers to our podcast.

Miguel Cardona and Jose Nieves are childhood best friends turned business partners, collectively creating their unique, farm-to-bottle Colombian cold brew. With Jose as the company’s taste buds and Miguel creating the visual brand, the two hustled to bring their product to 60 locations in Gainesville and Whole Foods statewide.

The Brio! Boys were just two kids out of college with a passion and a desire to work for themselves, a sentiment that our host, Collin, knows all too well. But creating your own startup takes more than just drive. You have to know your industry, build a brand and navigate through a mountain of paperwork.

“There’s not a checklist of items where you can just go one by one and say ‘This is how you become a business,’” Miguel said. “It took us from August to April to get through all the red tape.”

On April 11, 2018 Brio! made its first sale, and since then the pair have hustled to get their product in every store possible. The secret to their early success? Networking.

You’ll find the Brio! Boys toting their sales backpacks with samples and SWAG pretty much everywhere they go. For them, grinding isn’t just for coffee beans. From selling their product door-to-door to hand-bottling every ounce, Miguel and Jose never shy away from hard work. 

Brio Gear

“When we received the first order from Whole Foods, it was a bigger order than we were anticipating, and for a whole month straight we were spending about 12 to 16 hours [a day] in the kitchen hand bottling and hand dating, so that was insane,” Miguel said. 

A piece of advice from the boys: Time is money. Value it, keep track of it and don’t waste it because in creating a small business, every second counts. If time management isn’t your strong point, get someone on your team who can keep you on track. It’s all about surrounding yourself with people who balance out your weaknesses with their strengths.