Night Shift is the largest and most recent brewery to step into the craft coffee game, they’re not the first. The trend arguably started with Two Brothers in Chicago, but was popularized by California-based Modern Times Beer, which announced their entry into the coffee market with a short blog post on February 6, 2013.
“This whole thing is, of course, an experiment, and we’ll have to see how it goes,” wrote founder Jacob McKean.
If it initially seems strange that a brewery might want to enter the world of craft coffee, the two industries actually have a lot in common. Both beer and coffee are cultural touchstones, and one can geek out on ingredients, production and flavor profiles. Additionally, both beer and coffee share some of the same production materials, and breweries can craft specific profiles to match those of their beers.
In Columbus, Ohio, Hoof Hearted Brewing recently started roasting their own coffee. Between leaving his old job as a wine salesman and starting the brewery, Hoof Hearted cofounder Trevor Williams worked at a Columbus-based micro roaster called Backroom Coffee Roasters. In late 2016 and early 2017, he passed his knowledge on to Brayden Volk, operations manager at the brewery, who now manages the coffee program. Like Oxton and McKean, Volk approached the coffee program at Hoof Hearted out of an interest in the process.