We love subscription services. It's no secret – we've profiled more than a few over the last 3 years on Sprudge. But on a recent visit to San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee Roasters, we learned about a new subscription upgrade in a very old fashioned way: pamphlets on the bar counter.
Let's get this out front: Four Barrel is not a Sprudge sponsor, though one of us used to work there, and they kindly gave us after-hours access to film “Shit Baristas Say” (114,948 views and counting!). Their uber-subscription service is newsworthy because it's a fantastic model, adding supercharged value to the traditional model of simply receiving bags in the mail. When subscribed, you become apart of the 4B crew, complete with bi-weekly coffee deliveries and once quarterly “premiums” (think Dandelion Chocolate, or groovy gravy DIY Farmers Market jams). You'll also be looped in on all the Four Barrel happenings in the Bay Area, with a direct e-mail line to the Four Barrel HQ.
As a member, you're also invited to the upcoming Four Barrel Fourth Birthday Party. The party happens this Wednesday, August 22nd, and will feature free coffee, cake from the revered Tartine Bakery (they of the endlessly long lines, even at like 9am on Sunday), a photo booth, balloons, and for 2012: a petting zoo. Four Barrel is turning four years old, after all.
Here's some more on their lifestyle jammer:
As a member of the Fifth Barrel Coffee Crew, you (or someone you love very much) will receive our favorite coffee selections every two weeks… for a whole year. It will be the best year of your life (so far).
1) BREW CREW MEMBER: Every two weeks, we pick out our two favorite single origin coffees. You receive one 12oz bag of each.
2) BREW CREW DEMI-MEMBER: Every two weeks, we pick out one of our two favorite single origin coffees. You receive one 12oz bag.
3) ESPRESSO CREW MEMBER: Every two weeks, you receive a 12oz bag of our flagship Friendo Blendo espresso blend, along with a 12oz bag of a different espresso roast. Usually, this will be a single-origin espresso roast, though we may get a wild hair and compose an exclusive blend now and then.
4) ESPRESSO CREW DEMI-MEMBER: Every two weeks, you receive a 12oz bag of either our flagship Friendo Blendo espresso blend, or a different espresso roast, depending on our whim. You may receive Friendo Blendo, a single-origin espresso roast, or an exclusive Crew-only blend.
Memberships start at $600 and are available online. We'd love to see this model taken on by more roaster / retailers around the world, because we think it's a zippy way to build community, a zazzy way to keep great coffee in your home, a zelly means to secure a customer base, and a zestful example of give-and-take between roasters and their most ardent supporters. Rip off this idea, people! Let's see more of it!