Breaking! U.S. Brewers Cup Champ Andy Sprenger To Open Roastery in Colorado

Andy in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, where he won second place in the World Brewers Cup—he missed first place by a mere half a point!

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.

Andy in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, where he won second place in the World Brewers Cup—he missed first place by a mere half a point!

Andy in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, where he won second place in the World Brewers Cup—he missed first place by a mere half a point!

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.”

An accomplished cupper, Andy earned his Q Grader certificate this last year.

An accomplished cupper, Andy earned his Q Grader certificate this last year.

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.

Two-time U.S. Brewers Cup Champion (performing his first winning routine in this photo) will hop to the other side of the table in Boston: he'll judge, not compete.

Two-time U.S. Brewers Cup Champion (performing his first winning routine in this photo) will hop to the other side of the table in Boston: he’ll judge, not compete.

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!

 

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.