It’s a name you know and love: Andy Sprenger ”the United States’ only Brewer’s Cup Champ (he won the national title both years the competition has taken place). Revered for his exceptional palate and technique, and beloved for his modesty and graciousness, Andy is one of the really, really great guys in our specialty coffee industry.
So when he told me he was leaving his longtime employer, Ceremony Coffee Roasters out of Annapolis, Maryland, to start his own coffee company, all I had was excitement for him. I know it was a momentous decision for Andy ”he told me all about how much he learned at Ceremony, and how thankful he was to his boss, Vince, for the opportunities the work has afforded him.
As with all important matters, Andy made this decision with his wife, Laurel. They look forward to moving their family to Colorado, where Andy is originally from. Andy tells me he will be opening a roasting company that initially focuses on wholesale at the end of summer/early fall of this year. The company is as of yet unnamed. “I will source and roast mind-blowing coffees that any cafe in North America would want to serve,” he told me. “But the heart of the business will involve making deeper connections between producers and end consumers.”
If Andy’s history is any indication, he’s set to succeed: Andy not only has won the U.S. Brewers Cup twice, but he missed first place in the World Brewers Cup by just half a point. In a few weeks in Boston at the 2013 U.S. Brewers Cup (held at the SCAA show), Andy will step to the other side of the table to judge.
“It was a tough decision not to compete, but my wife Laurel and I agreed that I should focus my energy on planning the next step in my career,” he says. But he can’t stay completely away from competing: Andy will throw his hat into the ring in both the U.S. Cup Tasters Championship and the U.S. AeroPress Championship.
Though Andy is excited about the next step in his coffee career, and the opportunity to move back to his Colorado roots, bidding farewell to his friends at Ceremony is still bittersweet. “If there’s anything I’d like to say to my co-workers it’s that they will be greatly missed, and to keep up the amazing work,” he says ” And to my boss, Vince, thank you for providing a job that enabled me to support my family and offered so many opportunities to grow in my knowledge and love of coffee.”
Well said, Andy. And congratulations ”we wish you all the best in your new venture!
Thanks for this well written article. You describe Andy well: a gifted and gracious roaster with a humble spirit. His first love is family, birding and the world’s poor. He has a passion for social justice for coffee growers and encouraging everyone he meets. His coffee reflects his passion. I have had the privilege of enjoying his coffee for many years.
I join my brother Keith in both thanking you for this well written article, and congratulating our brother Andy for all he has done in the coffee industry. The great thing about Andy is that his deep care and commitment to excellence in pursuit of the best coffee is outweighed by his commitment and care of his family, friends and co-workers. We expect great things from Andy, and our prayers are with him, Laurel and their children as they begin this new adventure!
Does that mean Denver? I hope so! Denver is by far the greatest city in the world. Its science. And we have such a quickly-growing coffee scene now! Four great shops are opening within 2 months!
Thank you so much for the article! You are right! Andy is a very good person and deserves every accolade he gets. It is amazing to see how great he is at what he does and the passion that he has for it. It all comes down to his work ethic and dedication to be the best that he can. I am very proud of him and wish him the best of luck in his new business. Thanks once again for such a nice article!