The U.S. Roasters Guild and the Roaster Guild of Europe — two trade guilds of the Specialty Coffee Association for professional coffee roasters — have officially announced the launch of the unified Coffee Roasters Guild (CRG) and a newly appointed Advisory Council.
“Over the past decade, the global roasting community has been seeking more representation and access to quality education and events. The unification [of the guilds] enables the community to achieve just that,” Emilio Lopez Diaz, chair of the new advisory council, told Daily Coffee News. “As a trade guild, our duty will continue to be ensuring that our members, their businesses and coffee community, succeed with the support of a solid educational program, member network, and event platform.”
Last year, after the SCA merger, a unification committee was established to explore the idea of bringing the two roaster-focused guilds together to work collaboratively on developing standards and providing greater access to resources and opportunities for the coffee roasting community.
“The Committee certainly identified challenges associated with a global guild, such as maintaining local relevance, and increased international travel costs,” noted Isa Verschraegen, guilds director for the SCA. “That said, it became clear that the many benefits of a unified Guild that welcomes and represents an international roasting community far outweigh the potential challenges.”
After significant discussion and consideration, the leadership groups of the heritage guilds voted in August, resolving to move forward with the creation of an organization that would represent their global membership. Bylaws were approved and a plan was put in place for the launch of the new guild.
The Advisory Council held their first official meeting this past January, where they discussed expectations and transitional goals for the guild. In its first year, the council will be composed of members from both heritage guilds — chaired by Emilio Lopez Diaz, with Sonja Björk Grant as vice chair, Jen Apodaca as second vice chair, Konrad Oleksak as immediate past chair, and members-at-large Joe Marrocco, Tony Auger, Filip Åkerblom, O.M. Miles, David Myers, Filip Bartelak, Morten Münchow, and Joanna Alm.
The CRG will retain its existing committees (Communications, Membership and Events) and is adding three new committees (Competitions, Sustainability, and Equity, Inclusion & Diversity).
“We truly believe that these new committees, and the diverse members who are leading them, will help the CRG meet the needs of the global roasting community,” Diaz said. “We’re overjoyed to see that the community is already responding. In the last couple of days since we announced the official launch of the CRG, we’ve received dozens of emails from members around the globe who want to be part of our committees, events, education programs, and volunteer force.”
The current focus for the newly established guild is to work towards bringing its members together into one global roasting community. Diaz noted, “Year one will involve creating a robust framework of operations, where our constituency is well-represented on the committee level, and at the Advisory Council level.”
Upcoming events will include the Coffee Roasters Guild Retreat — a U.S.-based event hosted at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, this August — and Coffee Roasters Guild Camp — a Europe-based event to be held in Portugal this fall.
Their new logo and branding, along with CRG merchandise, will be released at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle. In the meantime, they have launched a temporary website and social media pages for the unified guild have been rolled out on Twitter and Instagram, with a joint Facebook page coming soon.
“Once we — the staff, the leadership, and volunteers — are all accustomed to our new operational structure, we will be in an excellent position to reach and support communities that we had a hard time getting to before, such as the small and further away communities as well as the booming ones such as South Korea and China,” Verschraegen said. “We can’t wait to connect with our members worldwide.”
Lily Kubota is the managing editor and digital content manager for Roast Magazine. She is based in Southern California.