November 11, 2022 - 9:09 am

A Conversation with Brew, 20Fathoms’ Coffee Sponsor

By 20Fathoms

Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with the General Manager of Brew, Dani Farr, to chat about coffee and the start-up community. Brew is a popular coffee shop (and now bar!) in downtown Traverse City, as well as the coffee sponsor for the 20Fathoms’ coworking space. 

Brew exterior
Credit: Brew

Tell us about Brew!

Brew has been independently owned and operated for the last decade. It was originally started by Missy and Sean Kickbush and is now owned and operated by Fernhaus Studio, a local hospitality group. The mission behind Brew has always been to be a community-focused, inclusive space for locals and visitors alike. A place where people can connect over coffee, snacks, or an evening beverage. This mission continues today with a revived emphasis placed on our evening program. We really want to be the go-to place where people meet for pre- and post-dinner drinks and snacks.

Where do you source your coffee?

We source through Madcap Coffee. Ryan Murphy, our Director of Food and Beverage, is originally from Grand Rapids where he first learned about Madcap’s delicious-tasting coffee. And while we really like their coffee, what we love about Madcap is their business ethics and design-for-good mentality; donating at least 1% of their annual sales to causes, programs, and organizations that support their (and our) belief that coffee can fuel creative problem-solving our world needs. 

Credit: Brew

We’ve heard you are venturing into cocktails! Tell us about this coffee/cocktail combination.

We’re so excited about this! Brew has historically offered a small selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, it’s just never been the focus of our offerings. We knew there was a big opportunity to better our evening business and expand our bar program! 

One of the first things we did was call on Ryan (again!) to help us collaborate on curating a new selection of natural wines, both for serving by the glass, and to include in our new retail space by the bottle. Our selection is now rotational and offers guests a unique selection of natural wine not typically found in the region. 

Next, we partnered with the mixologist mastermind that is Roman Albaugh, Owner of The Bartending Company. Roman helped us to expand and elevate our cocktail offerings, while also training our staff in mixology and the art of making creative cocktails – he’s the best! 

The idea behind these changes is, again, that we want to be that place people visit before or after dinner to enjoy a drink and continue their conversations. It also allows our remote worker friends to seamlessly transition from morning coffee to evening cocktails. 

Brew cocktails
Credit: Brew

What about food? 

Our food program is still in the works. Our goal is to expand our offerings and provide guests with a more elevated, locally-sourced experience. We have some really exciting ideas we’re mulling over as a team; we’re hopeful that with the New Year, will come a revived menu. 

In the meantime, however, we do have a brand new retail section that we’re excited about! We’re now carrying thoughtfully curated snacks and beverages, wines by the bottle, and magazines (i.e. The Boardman Review!!). We’ve also stocked our grab-and-go cooler with in-house freshly made sandwiches, salads, and snacks for people who may be in more of a rush! 

Brew grab-and-go food
Credit: Brew

Who typically visits Brew? 

This is one of the hardest questions to answer because our clientele is really quite representative of our community and visitors. It consists of students, entrepreneurs, remote workers, families, and visitors. The diversity of our demographic is one of the things we love most about Brew. It’s not just a space for me or you, it’s a welcoming space for everyone. 

Can you tell us more about the identity and company culture of Brew? 

Brew is a place where everyone is welcome. Its identity is really the culmination of shared experiences and memories that have been made here. It’s quirky and comfortable – a place that feels like returning home.

As a team, we have several values that are important to us – equality, open-mindedness, acceptance, active listening, and quality service, just to name a few. We are a progressively inclusive space and even have it stated above our front door: “Everyone is welcome here.” It’s very important to us that people from all walks of life feel welcome and comfortable when they’re in our space – like they’re part of a family.

Why did you choose to partner with 20Fathoms? 

We chose to partner with y’all because we are on a similar mission to serve our local entrepreneurs and business folks. Quite a few of our regulars use Brew as their occasional office or meeting space, so we understand the importance of good coffee when dreaming big and working hard. 

Plus, it just wouldn’t be right to keep coffee this good away from the people.