Maine’s favorite liquor is getting a 21st century reboot.

Next month, M.S. Walker, the company that makes Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy, will release the first new style of the beloved tipple in almost a generation.

Allen’s Cold Brew Coffee Flavored Brandy will make its way into Maine stores in early May, said M.S. Walker Executive Vice President Gary Shaw.

The new take on coffee brandy will not replace the company’s signature offering, which has been Maine’s most-purchased spirit for decades.

“The cold brew launch is its own product,” Shaw said. “It was really just in looking at the world of coffee and looking at this growth of cold brew coffee, it is just amazing.”

The Norwood, Massachusetts, company plans to pair the launch with a $25,000 commitment to help Maine hospitality workers who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.


Cold brew coffee is made by steeping coffee grounds in cool water for 12 hours or more. The result is a brew that is smoother, less bitter and with more delicate flavors.

Popularity of the beverage has surged in recent years, and it has quickly become a staple of cafes and coffee shops. The National Coffee Association estimates 10 percent of coffee drinkers reported having a daily cold brew in 2017, up from just 1 percent two years before.

M.S. Walker plans to capitalize on that popularity. It worked with a Rhode Island coffee company to make a cold brew extract from Colombian beans.

The result is a version of Allen’s that is smoother, gentler and with less acidity, Shaw said.

“It has that softer, creamier style that cold brew carries,” he said. “To us it seems like a natural thing to do – it is clearly what a large consumer base has embraced.”

Tasting notes describe Allen’s Cold Brew as “full bodied and velvety” with notes of “chocolate, caramel, mocha and nuts, complemented by notes of bourbon, vanilla, wood, dried cherries and dried raisins.”


The new drink will get dressed-up packaging, too. It will be delivered in glass – not plastic – bottles, with an updated label style to differentiate it from traditional coffee brandy.

This is the first new iteration of Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy since the company tried out multiple flavored versions about 20 years ago, Shaw said.

“We want it to be different,” Shaw said. “We certainly don’t want confusion that we are changing the formula – it is a new launch.”

Maine sales of Allen’s Coffee Brandy have declined in recent years as some drinkers have gravitated toward other spirits including Fireball Cinnamon Whisky and Tito’s Handmade Vodka.

But the spirit still has a tight hold on Mainers and the state’s culture. By volume, it is still by far the top-selling liquor in the state, moving nearly 90,860 cases in 2019, about 27 percent more than the second-biggest seller, Tito’s.

The Pine Tree State is the only major market for Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy. The Allen’s website makes a point to describe it as “a Maine tradition.”


M.S. Walker plans to set up a donation program for Maine hospitality workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic in line with its launch. More than one-quarter of the state’s food service and lodging workers have filed for unemployment since March.

“We’ve committed a minimum of $25,000 for seed money to put in, and we’re hoping to increase that,” Shaw said.

The company already has refitted its production facility to make hand sanitizer for first responders, he added.

It is working with trade group HospitalityMaine on a charitable grant program, but details have not been worked out, Shaw said.

“We’re desperately trying to have a venue so the money doesn’t go nationally – it goes back to Maine,” he said.

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