A pair of coffee pros with a wealth of experience on the Arizona coffee scene have launched 1912 Coffee, a full-service marketing and consultancy firm with lofty ambitions to elevate coffee quality and culture throughout the state.
The coffee expertise behind 1912 comes from Jonathan Carroll, co-owner of Phoenix’s Songbird Coffeehouse, and Ron Cortez of roaster Cortez Coffee Co. in Tempe. While the two have maintained a wholesale relationship for years, they’ve also had many a conversation regarding the state of Arizona coffee and how it might be improved, or at least better marketed, on a shop-by-shop basis.
With a name referencing the year Arizona joined the Union, the business is being pitched as “the Grand Canyon of coffee marketing and branding,” as it hopes to fill some holes not only in existing businesses, but in the bigger image of Arizona coffee.
The list of services 1912 is offering to independent coffee retail and roasting clients includes social media planning and delivery, web design and maintenance, photography, videography, event planning and booking, barista training, quality control programming, and virtually any other day-to-day operational requirement. “We’re trying to reach the small shops and help them with any services we can provide,” Carroll told Daily Coffee News. “The goal is to help and promote the small, independent coffee shops because that’s where coffee culture comes from.”
Culture-building will also come in the form of 1912-produced events such as monthly latte art throwdowns at different coffee locations around the state. Carroll and Cortez have been busy lining up event sponsors and extending invitations to anyone in Arizona interested in coffee, with the goal of building local and statewide networks of coffee professionals.
While Carroll believes many of Arizona’s primary cultural and economic centers still have plenty of room for new coffee businesses, one of 1912’s ambitions is to shine a light for consumers locally and from out of state on some of the great coffee already happening in places like Phoenix, Tempe and Tucson.
“I think this state needs someone to step up and let people know what we have going on here,” Carroll said. “We think we can help grow the Arizona coffee scene into something more like what you see in cities like Seattle or Portland or New York. At the same time, I would’t want us to be like them… We have our own culture and we want to develop that.”
Carroll said 1912 is particularly interested in working with clients who aspire to improve communication with patrons regarding coffee quality, sourcing and coffee’s journey as a whole — rather than those merely hoping to make a quick buck in the growing industry. “Ron and I certainly aren’t salesmen,” Carroll said. “But we’re passionate about what we’re doing, and we’re excited about what we’re doing for the coffee scene in Arizona.”