The partnership precedes another collaboration with iconic ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s.
BY SAMANTHA TAMPLIN
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos courtesy of BLK & Bold
Two typical passions of many Americans are coffee and basketball. In fact, many people argue that basketball could replace baseball as America’s pastime. BLK & Bold, a popular coffee startup based out of Des Moines, Iowa, has found a way to combine the two passions as one stellar collaboration and coffee roast.
BLK & Bold Partners with the NBA
Co-founded by Pernell Cezar and Rod Johnson in the summer of 2018, BLK & Bold became the first Black-owned and nationally distributed coffee brand and tea distributor. Recently, the brand secured a multi-year licensing partnership with the NBA to invest in communities around the country.
“Our first NBA release ‘The Warm Up’ is a custom brew of medium-roast coffees inspired by the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conferences,” says Pernell, CEO at BLK and Bold. “‘The Warm Up’ also signifies players getting ready for a big game, and the average American getting ready to start their day.”
Pernell and Rod say that their goal with the partnership is to enhance the coffee-drinking experience for their customers with their new NBA fan-themed coffee bags, designed by BLK & Bold’s in-house graphic artist. These memorable bags incorporate elements of the league that they think true fans will appreciate, and will want to show off to their friends while enjoying the new medium roast.
“As true fans of the game, partnering with the NBA is a dream come true,” chief marketing officer Rod says. “It’s allowed us to expand our ‘For Our Youth’ initiative, as the NBA has also pledged to match our 5% donation to 15 nonprofits across the country. Through these efforts, our charitable partners have been able to develop necessary skills such as coding, embracing the arts, and urban farming that inspires them to make a change in their communities.”
Continuing the Work with Ben & Jerry’s
Pernell and Rod are also excited for another upcoming partnership with iconic ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s and the launch of a limited-batch flavor called Change is Brewing. This partnership is in support of the People’s Response Act from congresswoman Cori Bush to transform policy change in the U.S.
In the future, the pair plans to continue to promote social change while also showing consumers that BLK & Bold is more than just a specialty beverage brand, but also a platform for supporting youth in need.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Tamplin (she/her) is a recent graduate from Eastern Kentucky University with a B.A. in journalism. She spent her time in college writing and editing for the university newspaper, the Eastern Progress, and traveling abroad with the EKU Honors Program. Currently, she works as a barista for Cincinnati’s Coffee Emporium.