From cart to empire: The Nitro Bar’s rise

From cart to empire: The Nitro Bar’s rise

"Empire Rise"

Audrey Finocchiaro and Sam Lancaster are the masterminds behind The Nitro Bar, a thriving coffee enterprise emanating from humble beginnings as a portable cart. The determined duo began their venture in 2016, making less than $100 daily at local Rhode Island farmers markets. 2017 marked a pivotal point for the ambitious pair, as they bet on a delivery van, setting the foundation for a mobile coffee shop business model that quickly proved successful.

The Nitro Bar’s unique frothy brew captured the market’s attention and quickly became popular. Offering their beverages in kegs for assorted events ensured profitability. Despite initial financial issues, this underdog couple persevered, gradually securing their brand’s reputation as a distinguished specialty coffee provider in Rhode Island.

Their iconic cart, constructed from wood and bicycle tires, represented their unwavering commitment. They toiled tirelessly, mastering the intricate process of crafting the perfect nitro cold brew. The most challenging hurdle wasn’t the technicality of brewing but rather preserving a balance in their partnership and personal lives despite the pressure.

The Nitro Bar’s story took a positive turn when they became favored by Brown University students.

Conquering coffee: The Nitro Bar’s trajectory

Astonishingly, their maiden campus visit saw them netting $400 in merely 30 minutes. Their sudden popularity marked a shift in their journey. They expanded their offerings and established local restaurant collaborations to serve their cold brew during winter, driving their annual sales to hit an impressive $4.5 million last year.

Today, their initial coffee cart service has transitioned into a sprawling business. They now operate three cafes and a coffee trailer and offer nitro cold brew at over 50 locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, employing 50 dedicated staff members. Always striving for growth, they’ve expanded their product range to accommodate a variety of food options, redefining their brand.

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In 2017, venture capitalists injected a financial boost of $100,000 with 10% interest, with an option to convert the loan into a business ownership stake. Today, the co-founders continue to repay their investment, and the venture capitalists, thoroughly impressed with the brand’s growth, have opted for the stake in business ownership. As a result, Audrey and Sam retained complete control while leveraging the expertise and resources of their new partners. Their story is a testament to the power of love, dedication, and belief in one’s brand.


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