We love profiling brand new, up-and-coming, and emerging coffee companies here at Sprudge. And at the same time, there’s something irresistable about a legacy story—learning about a company in the coffee game who has been around for generations, especially if they’re continuing to grow and innovate.
Ferris Coffee & Nut Co. has been family-owned and operated in Grand Rapids, Michigan since 1924. We last checked in with the company in 2018 after a gentle brand refresh, and now here in 2021 they’re back back in the news with a complete renovation—a bolder look, new packaging, and an eco-friendly initiative in collaboration with Savor Brands. The design is minimalist, understated, but feels like it has the weight and experience of history behind it. We think it evokes a lovingly retro apothecary pharmacy design style, and presents a striking contrast to the candy-colored day-glo cartoon approach to bag design we’ve profiled elsewhere in our Coffee Design series.
We talked to Ferris Coffee’s Sarah Eyk to find out more.
Interview condensed and edited for clarity.
How long has the re-design been in the works?
We began our brand redesign back in 2019. Beginning with updating our logo and moving into packaging updates, it was just time for a complete renovation.
Who designed it?
Whenever we can, we love to work locally within Grand Rapids or the state of Michigan. Lucky for us, we’ve teamed up with a great creative agency named Rocket Science. With their guidance and skills, we’ve been able to really elevate our look and create solid brand consistency. Rocket Science has been there since the conception of the redesign and created a strong foundation that took all of our classic elements and identities into new, bold looks. It was almost like going from original Nintendo graphics to new PS5 graphics- a complete overhaul of fresh looks.
Tell us about some of the new features of the design!
With the capabilities we have now, we were able to create fully-printed bags for our year-round coffees along with a generic bag that can be applied to single-origins that we roast. We recognized that our coffee identities from our old labels have become staples in people’s lives, so we didn’t want to completely take away that brand loyalty. So our year-round coffees (such as West Coast, Kent Club, 1924 Espresso, House, and French Roast) were each given a fully-printed bag updating their look with colorful eye-catching gussets that are odes to the previous labels.
For our single-origin bags, we wanted to elevate the look and feel specific, choosing a kraft finish with copper foil that shines in the light. Because we source and package specialty coffees, we wanted to convey that high-end quality to the consumer.
The back of all the bags feature a thank you to the customer. We wanted to call out that we do what we do for them and that they are part of the process of the coffee industry. Let’s face it, without the consumer, where would we all be? The other new exciting feature is our Brewing Guide. Whether a customer finds us on a grocery shelf or visits one of our five cafés in search of something special, we wanted to educate them to experience the best-tasting notes our coffees have to offer. The guide is approachable enough that anyone can begin to take more care pouring their morning cup of joe but we also hope that it might lead people down the path of intrigue to learning more about what really does make a good cup of coffee. We didn’t want to scare anyone away talking about water filters, grind size, or brewing methods but hopefully people will lean into educating themselves more- and we’ll be there to help!
Tell us about your participation in the Savor Brands Zero Waste initiative.
When we decided to re-design our coffee packaging, we started with the simple goal: reduce waste. From beginning to end of the supply chain, every aspect is taken into account for how it effects the planet. Obviously, the industry is still learning and innovating the best ways to keep product fresh and also reduce waste. For us, we saw the best way forward was working with Savor Brands. They have created packaging that offers a Zero Waste Program with their partner, TerraCycle. Through this program, 100% of the collected bags are recycled—not landfilled or incinerated—and made into materials such as garbage bins and watering cans. This was exciting to us because it doesn’t involve separating the lining or removing the de-gassing valve- they can handle it all! We’re happy to offer these recycling bins as an option to our local customers and wholesale accounts in an effort to reduce waste from the planet.
Where can folks find Ferris Coffee?
We’re available at five Ferris café locations through Michigan and also available online at ferriscoffee.com. Our brand has continued to grow and customers can find us in the Midwest at stores such as Meijer, SpartanNash, Plum Market, and Standard Market, too!
When things pick up again in the world and we’re free to travel about, how would you recommend we spend a day in Grand Rapids?
Once again, Grand Rapids won back the title of Beer City, USA, so the established craft beer scene is here to stay! Visits to large breweries such as Founders Brewing Co. or Perrin Brewing Company are a must but hidden gems such as Greyline Brewing Co. or City Built Brewing Company are worth a taste! GR also has been elevating it’s food scene and new places seem to be popping up that offer unique bites. We suggest Terra Bagels, Malamiah Juice Bar, or the Ice Cream Garage for something sweet! Stomachs full, Grand Rapids has a lot to offer such as the Public Museum (with planetarium!), a kid’s museum, art and music festivals, and more. Check out ExperienceGR.com for all the latest info on our great city!
Zachary Carlsen is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Zachary Carlsen on Sprudge.
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