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Drive-thru beverage chain Swig poised for massive expansion with ‘runway for days’

CEO Rian McCartan shares how the beverage chain is capitalizing on being a category of one.


One of the hottest restaurant categories today is drive-thru coffee, with brands like Dutch Bros, 7 Brew, and Scooter’s quickly expanding across the country. But those chains aren’t alone in the drive-thru-only, caffeinated-beverage space. In fact, another brand has a much less crowded path toward national expansion.

Swig, the Utah-based concept with 59 locations in seven states, offers soda-based beverages that leverage the likes of Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper and mix in creams, purees, and other ingredients. This distinct menu — which also includes energy drinks and water-based options — has helped Swig make a name for itself and ink franchise deals for hundreds of locations. CEO Rian McCartan believes Swig has “runway for days.”

McCartan joined the latest episode of Take-Away with Sam Oches to talk about how the brand plans to capitalize on essentially infinite runway and how it manages to do the unthinkable: work with both of the soda titans, Coca-Cola and Pepsi. 

In this conversation, you’ll learn more about why:

  • The first rule of expansion is to remember your roots
  • You can be highly technical and highly personable at the same time
  • Scarcity marketing can be a successful growth strategy
  • Beverage concepts will always find an audience, but they must be unique and relevant to survive
  • By tapping into customers’ emotional relationship to products, you build trust and show those customers that you’re listening to them

Contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

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