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Bay Area Coffee Pioneer George Vukasin Passes Away at 82

george vukasin

George Vukasin at the cupping table. 2012 photo by Peerless Coffee.

Bay Area coffee pioneer, past National Coffee Association president and longtime Peerless Coffee CEO George Vukasin passed away last week at the age of 82.

Vukasin was the son of Peerless founder John P. Vukasin, a Yugoslavian immigrant who settled in Oakland in 1920 and launched the Peerless Coffee company four years later. Following a decorated military career, George Vukasin joined the family business in 1957, helping build the company into one of the country’s longest running commercial coffee roasteries.

His children, George Vukasin Jr. and Kristina Brouhard are currently at the helm of 96-year-old Peerless, which operated within a small shop at Washington and Ninth Streets before the company moved into a larger facility in 1975 at Oak and Third Streets, where it remains headquartered today.

Throughout his career in coffee, Vukasin served multiple terms as president of the National Coffee Association and was the recipient of a Manuel Mejia Coffee Medal of Honor, presented by the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) for his work with Colombian coffee producers.

Vukasin’s legacy outside of coffee is equally robust. According to his obituary, Vukasin was a former Oakland city council member, vice mayor, port commissioner and president of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Board of Directors, while also serving on the boards of numerous local nonprofit and charitable organizations.

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