Coffee pasteurization has risen lately due to the increase in popularity of pre-packaged cold brew coffee. Cold brew suppliers are realizing that retailers, distributors, and customers are not realizing that refrigeration is required. This leads to an education problem that is really difficult to overcome. So, naturally, suppliers are turning to pasteurization to eliminate the need for refrigeration and this also allows for an increased shelf life.
When expanding distribution to new territories, suppliers have less control of how their products are stored and transported. For this reason, many canned coffee producers add a pasteurizer when they become regional suppliers.
Hopefully, you are just focused on improving QA/QC (quality assurance / quality control), but some cold brew coffee suppliers find the need for pasteurization the hard way.
Coffee with residual sugar is prone to refermentation or spoilage and can easily become a problem. If there is any bacteria, bugs or yeast in the coffee, they will consume that sugar, ferment the coffee, create alcohol and carbon dioxide. That CO2 will continue to build and the can will explode or, in the case of a bottle, the cap/crown might pop off. Quite often, the crown won’t pop off, instead the bottle will explode (aka bottle bombs) and this can lead to serious injury, harm, and lawsuits. When they don’t explode, but still fermented, these are referred to as gushers. When a consumer pops the cap on the bottle, the CO2 pressure is release and it gushes and foams out of the top.