Gregg Wilson, the neighborhood coffee roaster, will debut Hollow Grounds. The artisan coffee will replace his self-branded Hardboiled Coffee, which was named for Wilson's coffee shop that closed on July 24.
The Beverly businessman struck a partnership with Neil Byers of Horse Thief Hollow in the waning days of his North Beverly shop. Wilson moved his 10-kilo coffee roaster into a small corner of the popular brewpub at 10426 S. Western Ave.
From there, he's continued to provide wholesale coffee to Horse Thief Hollow as well as several other local vendors including Ellie's Cafe, County Fair Foods and Wolf's Bakery in nearby Evergreen Park.
"I'm not married to the old name," said Wilson, whose retail coffee shop was a nod to his passion for crime noir.
To celebrate the name change, Wilson will sell his newly branded coffee in one-pound bags that feature one-of-a-kind artwork from members of the Beverly Area Arts Alliance. The group is the driving force behind the self-guided tour that showcases neighborhood artists.
The bags cost $20 and a portion of the proceeds will support the art walk, Wilson said.
To further promote the brand, Byers will unveil Hollow Grounds Oatmeal Stout on Saturday. The surprisingly light beer uses Wilson's coffee as an ingredient and will have a regular place on Horse Thief Hollow's beer menu.
"We are both genuinely interested in artisanship and hand-crafted supplies," Byers said Thursday.
Wilson's coffee is made from beans imported from a family-owned farm in Honduras. He roasts his product himself in small batches and regularly donates the warm beverages to neighborhood events and fundraisers.
Horse Thief Hollow's charitable efforts and neighborhood involvement were cited as a significant factor when Byers won the 2015 James Tyree Emerging Business Leadership Award from the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce on June 9.
Byers, a Beverly resident, took home $25,000 along with the award, which he's using as seed money to distribute his beer outside of the restaurant. He's targeting the first quarter of 2016 for his efforts to materialize.
As the distribution takes off, Byers hopes to sell Hollow Grounds coffee alongside his beer. The pair have discussed adding several varieties of coffee to Wilson's repertoire should the partnership prove profitable.
Wilson seemed excited about the pairing, despite the name change. He said the like-minded approach with Byers seems to have the potential for longterm success.
"He was a home brewer. I was a home roaster," Wilson said. "If both of us together can leave something behind that people can be impressed with from a food and beverage viewpoint, that is really cool."
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