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The 30 Seconds That Changed This Entrepreneur’s Entire Life

Like many Americans, Mike Brown watched the Super Bowl this year for the commercials. But he was waiting to see one ad in particular — his own.

The owner of the Death Wish Coffee Company had entered Intuit’s Small Business, Big Game contest for a chance to win a 30-second ad in the Super Bowl 50. Brown said seeing his company’s commercial on the screen was “life-changing.” “It was the high of all highs,” he adds.

Within seconds of it airing, more than 150,000 visitors hit Death Wish Coffee’s website. The company’s sales that Super Bowl Sunday were reportedly 20 to 25 times higher than what they were on an average Sunday.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_3H_Y5QUWw&w=560&h=315]

Six months later, that 30-second ad has changed the entire trajectory of Brown’s coffee business. Death Wish’s website traffic has leveled off and is now reportedly averaging 12,000 visitors a day, which is still double what it had per day the previous year.

Sales are also up. In 2015, the company brought in about $6 million in revenue. By June, the company had already matched and exceeded last year’s number with a whopping $10 million in sales.

But don’t be fooled – this is not a story of overnight success. When Brown first started his company in 2012, he ran into financial trouble, sold his house and moved back in with his mom at the age of 30.

“I was running low on funds, so I had to borrow money from my mom to meet payroll,” Brown told Fortune in January. “That’s when I hit rock bottom, and I got serious about online marketing and selling my coffee online.”

Based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y, Death Wish claims to be “the world’s strongest coffee” with 200% more caffeine than a regular cup of coffee. It has 10,000 reviews and reportedly more five-star reviews than any other coffee bag on Amazon.com.

Following the Super Bowl, Brown is still trying to keep up with demand. He has doubled the size of his staff (seven to 14 employees), and has expanded from 10 to 150 grocery stores in the Northeast. Brown’s next step includes making more hires and consolidating the operation under one roof; the staff currently works out of four different warehouses.

The company’s cult-like customer base can also expect a new product from Death Wish in the next few months – cold brew. Brown hopes it will help the company close the year with sales between $15 and $20 million.

“People recognize our name now. They recognize the brand,” he says. “It’s been like dynamite.”