Every year since 2016, Boyer's Coffee has recognized National Coffee Day with a large celebration that has included free coffee, music and raffles. This year, National Coffee Day falls on Tuesday, September 29, and despite COVID-19, Boyer's is still hosting an event, because it's got something even bigger to celebrate: having a place to do the celebrating.
Shortly after Boyer's closed its headquarters because of the pandemic, a fire broke out on March 31 in the 1920s schoolhouse at 7295 Washington Street. Gone were the roasting facilities, offices and cafe. "We pretty much lost the entire building," says Manuela Mishler, senior director of business management, marketing and e-commerce. "Because it burned so hot, we’re never really going to know what happened. We know it broke out in an area that was near our roaster; however, we don’t know if it was roaster-related or electric-related."
One positive note: Because of the pandemic, there were very few employees and no customers in the building, so there were no injuries.
That evening, owners Doug and Jason Barrow made the decision to rebuild. But rebuilding will take time, and the Barrows wanted to start selling coffee, so they launched a coffee truck — the Roast Rider — and set up a converted shipping container to house retail operations. Customers can purchase brewed coffee, espresso, tea and specialty drinks, as well as pastries and bottled beverages, from the food truck, and bagged coffee to go from the Coffee Cottage. Both opened for business on September 8 in the parking lot in front of the fire-damaged building.
"Throughout everything — COVID and the fire — Doug and Jason kept everyone on staff and paid even when we weren’t up and running," says Mishler. "They made sure when the cafe wasn’t up and running the cafe staff was helping in roasting."
The company relied on support from the Denver coffee industry to keep their roasting business, roasting beans at other companies' facilities — even those of competitors.
Sadly, all of the historic schoolhouse is gone except for the exterior brick walls, which are structurally sound. "We have the opportunity to make it exactly what we want it to be," says Mishler. "We want to rebuild as efficiently as possible."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
In the meantime, the truck and Coffee Cottage have also allowed Boyer's to adapt to new pandemic-based health regulations, using signage to direct the flow of traffic in the big outdoor space "We want to make sure everybody is practicing social distancing, but we still want to celebrate coffee," says Mishler.
This National Coffee Day celebration will include the same deals that Boyer's has offered for the past four years: free drip coffee from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m and half-off all other beverages, plus 25 percent off bagged coffee.
Past events have attracted 1,500 to 2,000 guests throughout the day, who come for food trucks and live music as well as coffee; Mishler says he's expecting smaller crowds this year.
If you can't make it out for National Coffee Day, the food truck and Coffee Cottage are open from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.