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VOL. 129 | NO. 2 | Friday, January 03, 2014

Memphis Made, Reverb Unite for Coffee Stout

By Andy Meek

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A partnership between a small production brewery in Memphis and a micro coffee roastery hints at new developments for each venture in 2014.

Memphis Made Brewing Co., which launched in mid-October and is based in Cooper-Young, has teamed up with Reverb Coffee Co. to produce Reverberation, a Belgian-style coffee stout.

Memphis Made co-founder Drew Barton said the brewery, which scored quick success with its inaugural limited-edition beers, had been considering the possibility of creating some kind of coffee stout. A desire to work with a local coffee-maker, and the happenstance of getting an email from Reverb’s owner, led to the tie-up.

Jeremy Harris is the owner of Reverb Coffee Co. Reverb and another venture, Memphis Made Brewing Co., have teamed up to launch Reverberation, a Belgian-style coffee stout.

(Submitted Photo)

“This is definitely something we want to do more of,” said Barton, who added that Memphis Made going forward will release new beers roughly each quarter.

At the same time, it will continue to put out specialty brews like Reverberation. Rather than have a year-round flagship beer, Memphis Made will produce mostly seasonal beers, according to a recent blog post from the company. The first two beers the company rolled out were South Cooper Saison and Parkways Pale Ale. Their names were a nod to the company’s Memphis roots – one referring to the historic parkways that once made up the city’s boundaries and the other to the brewery’s headquarters at 768 S. Cooper St.

Barton and Memphis Made’s co-founder, Andy Ashby, also are among the organizers of the Cooper-Young Regional Beerfest.

For his part, meanwhile, Reverb owner Jeremy Harris has been keeping an eye out since launching Reverb in early 2013 for ways to make more people aware of his coffee – and to get it into more hands.

Without a physical storefront for Reverb, Harris set out to get his java onto the shelves of local businesses.

“There’s a cafe opening up in the University of Memphis area that’ll be using my coffee,” Harris said. “I’m still throwing around the idea of opening a cafe of my own, a small coffee shop, and what that might look like. My biggest thing right now is trying to make more partnerships and develop wholesale contracts. That would allow me to open a coffee shop a lot more stress-free.”

Reverb coffee is available at Memphis businesses such as Maggie’s Pharm in Overton Square and the Cash Saver at 1620 Madison Ave.

Harris’ launch of Reverb grew out of international mission work he was involved with for about two years – toward the end of which, he says, he was working with a nonprofit in Malaysia. As part of that, he helped start a coffee operation there.

Reverb’s website presents customers with coffee options from five countries: Burundi, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Tanzania and Sumatra. In a previous interview, Harris said he wanted Reverb “to be a go-to name for coffee in the city,” and, indeed, its tagline of sorts is “Great coffee for a greater good.”

The idealistic nature of that phrase comes from the reason Harris chose the name – reverb, connoting the idea of an echo.

Harris said his ideas include eventually teaming up with churches and other organizations in the city, as well as eventually hiring employees from underprivileged neighborhoods. His plan also is to open a public roaster at some point, so local customers and visitors can watch the process that coffee goes through “to get from the farm to your cup.”

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