2016 has been an exciting year for Backyard Beans. When I left my job in 2015, we began a trajectory that started with the hiring of our first employee. At the onset of 2016, we continued this trajectory by promoting Bobby from production assistant to full time Production Manager and adding several team members to make our growth from a production and branding perspective more sustainable and achievable. Our team grew from two to six throughout the course of the year (although we are saddened to say goodbye to Luke as he starts a new chapter of his life in his home state of Mississippi.)
As many of you know, cold brew has always been an innovative product for Backyard Beans. In June 2016 we formally launched our Punch in the Face nitro cold brew cans after months of planning. Due to relationships we built with Whole Foods our cans are distributed across the entire mid-Atlantic region. At a local level, we partnered with a Lancaster based distributer and increased our self-distribution to make our cans accessible to customers in the Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg areas.
As rumors have indicated over the past year, we are working to open a coffee shop and public-orientated production facility in downtown Lansdale this year. We are excited about this opportunity! From a production perspective, the new facility will provide us more space; we also updated our coffee roaster to a Loring smart roaster (which we would consider “the Tesla of coffee roasters”). This roaster will provide increased production capability and consistency while being environmentally friendly with best in industry energy efficiency. Given the public oriented nature of our new facility, this roaster will be viewable from our retail space. Our retail space will not only include coffee roasted in-house, but will offer a variety of expertly crafted espresso drinks as well as locally-sourced baked goods and specialty treats. Local craft beers from Round Guys Brewing, PA-produced wine, as well as signature cocktails made with local spirits will be made available thanks to our partnership with Round Guys Brewing. The shop will open at 408 West Main Street in Lansdale early this spring.
Wholesale coffee brought us the opportunity to grow our geographic reach as we spread into new markets, such as the mid-west. We have also had the opportunity build and develop partnerships with several restaurants in the Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley areas.
As we look ahead to 2017, we are excited about the opening of our new production space and coffee shop. We are also looking to launch creative sales campaigns via our website and other online platforms in an effort to provide our customers with the best coffee experience available. We are looking to hire a full-time marketing and events manager who will be responsible for (among other things) managing and running our portfolio of farmers’ markets. Bobby will continue to run our wholesale coffee and roasting operations, while Josh shifts focus from production to cold brew operations.
On a personal level, Laura and I had a milestone year with the birth of our first child, Hailey Rose. While many of you have had the opportunity to meet little Hailey at our farmers’ markets, she will quickly become an integral part of café life when we open in the coming months!
We hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year! Enjoy your coffee!