Breweries Find That Coffee Is Their Second Favorite Beverage

Breweries Find That Coffee Is Their Second Favorite Beverage


Many brewers see a bridge connecting their day and night clientele. “The market is a natural crossover,” said Sean Arroyo, the chief executive of Heritage Brewing and Veritas Coffee. “Most beer consumers are coffee consumers.” The brewery was founded in 2013 in Manassas, Va., about 30 miles southwest of Washington, by military veterans. From its inception, it has sought to make coffee a company pillar. “We brew early in the morning, and we needed that fix,” Mr. Arroyo said, laughing.

Heritage bought a small roaster, installed it in the brewery and started experimenting with cold brew extracted under nitrogen pressure. (Mr. Arroyo says the process creates greater consistency.) Feedback from taproom customers helped Heritage fine-tune its technique before starting Veritas in 2015.

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Heritage Brewing’s operation in Manassas, Va., features brewing tanks and a coffee roaster.

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T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

Today, you’ll find the coffee in cans and on tap at Heritage Brewing Company Market Common Brewpub & Roastery in Arlington, Va. It opened in April, merging a coffee shop with a restaurant, beer store and brewery. “Throughout the day, we transition into meeting our consumers’ needs,” Mr. Arroyo said, adding that Heritage aims to open a coffee shop next spring in Chantilly, Va., about 25 miles west of Washington.

Installing a coffee shop lets breweries maximize square footage at an early hour, when taprooms would typically sit silent. “The cafe activates our space at a time when we wouldn’t otherwise be open,” said Jacob McKean, founder of Modern Times Beer, which began brewing and roasting coffee in 2013.

A year ago, Modern Times set aside part of its taproom in the Point Loma section of San Diego for a cafe. It opens at 8 a.m. daily and sells flights of cold-brew and pour-over coffee made with beans that it ages in rum barrels.

The approach borrows serving styles and flavoring techniques from the beer world, enticing customers with a different kind of buzz. “People that come into our tasting room for beer are really excited about trying our coffee once they’re here,” said Mr. McKean, who noted that the brewery has extended its cafe hours to 5 p.m. It’s “definitely awesome” to have nonalcoholic options in the tasting room, said Mr. McKean, who will offer coffee at forthcoming outposts in Los Angeles; Encinitas, Calif.; and Portland, Ore.

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The Modern Times taproom in the Point Loma section of San Diego set aside a section for coffee. It opens at 8 a.m. daily and sells flights of cold-brew and pour-over coffee made with beans that it ages in rum barrels.

Credit
Tara Pixley for The New York Times

The company also uses its roaster to create blends that are infused into beers, like the smooth and chocolaty Black House stout. (Purpose Brewing & Cellars, which opened in Fort Collins, Colo., in August, also custom-roasts coffee for its beer.) Modern Times sells its beans at its taprooms and online, and cans its cold-brew coffee. This maximizes the brewery’s packaging expertise and canning machinery.

“It’s not running 24 hours a day,” Mr. McKean said. “By canning coffee, we’re finding another way to put that equipment into use when otherwise it would’ve been idle.”

Whether coffee or beer, all Modern Times products share similar logos and labeling. In Pennsylvania, Vault and Pretty Bird stay distinct brands, even though the production brewery and roastery share the same building, and coffee regularly finds its way into beers like the Breakfast Stout, also starring oats and maple syrup. The aim is to let both companies stand on their own.

“The intention isn’t to say, ‘Vault does beer really well, so they should be able to do coffee really well,’” said Mr. Cain, the Vault owner. “To us, Pretty Bird means good coffee and Vault means good beer.”

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The weekday crowd at Modern Times in San Diego.

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Tara Pixley for The New York Times

Not all breweries separate their beer and coffee brands. Last August in Flint, Mich., the hard-hit auto manufacturing city, Tenacity Brewing reconfigured part of its home, in a former firehouse, into Heyday Coffee Roasters. It roasts the beans used in its espresso drinks and draft cold brew, which customers can enjoy in the brewery’s quiet, couch-filled den.

Heyday has attracted early risers like Crystal Pepperdine, the founder and executive director of Flint Handmade, a nonprofit arts organization. On the first Friday of every month, she runs Craft, Coffee and Donuts, which draws craft enthusiasts to the taproom. “It’s just like getting together with a friend over breakfast at someone’s house,” Ms. Pepperdine said.

Community sits at the heart of coffee and beer. “You sit around in the morning with a cup of coffee, then you sit around at night with a glass of beer,” Mr. Arroyo said. “To merge those two cultures just seems natural.”

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