Michiana's Menu: Brew City Roasting Company
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- Before you hit the waters of Lake Wawasee, you may want to grab a cup of joe first. Why not stop at a place that looks like you’re already on a boat? Well, at Brew City Roasting Company, you actually will be on a boat when you grab a seat. Much of the lakeshore décor is made from a boat once owned by the owner’s uncle. But aside from the nautical theme, Brew City Roasting Company offers a variety of delicious, hand-crafted coffee drinks that begin with an unroasted green coffee bean.
Partners in both business and in life, Derek Pourier and Syracuse-native Cassandra Wells opened the shop in June 2021. But before the store opened, they were roasting their own beans and selling wholesale at farmers markets in 2019. Starting in Arizona, after the birth of their first son, the pair decided to head back to Cassandra's hometown to start their brick-and-mortar location.
As roasters, they wanted to put coffee first.
"We just wanted to try something a little different, focus a little more on the coffee, we roast in-house,” says Pourier.
Pourier and Wells both come from an industry that pairs well with coffee: the chocolate industry; and the pair is still influenced by their old careers.
Pourier actually learned how to roast chocolate first and now translates those skills to coffee beans.
“Actually, I learned how to roast chocolate first,” says Pourier. “It’s a very similar process to coffee, different temperature, but they’re both very similar, chocolate and coffee.”
Their work in the chocolate industry has led the pair to continue working on other products made in house.
“So, we’d spend all this time roasting coffee and figuring it out, and then to use commodity syrups we were like ‘why are we doing this?’ I had made a few syrups for a couple other companies I had worked for,” says Wells. “I was like ‘wait, I could do that for us. And so, then we started the Pür line syrups and started producing all of our own syrups.”
They roast their beans in-house, and they make their own syrups and k-cups; but what about the other products?
Brew City Roasting Company also carries women-owned products, like their teas and matcha. They source their coffee from female-run plantations out of South and Central America.
Supporting female-run businesses is a core value of the company.
“And then our product lines that we don’t actually make in-house are all female-owned as well, and that was just by chance that they were the best-of-the-best,” says Wells. “Female entrepreneurs put 70 percent of their paychecks back into the community because they send their kids to school, they take them to the doctor’s, they take care of their staff, and they do a lot more community-oriented things because they know they’re raising their children in these communities.”
Much like their days of selling at the farmer’s markets, Pourier and Wells always look to support local businesses.
“We try to support as many local people as we can,” says Pourier. “Of course, we use vegetables in the summer and try to do everything seasonal. And there’s obviously a lot of great farms around here. So, there’s a lot of great produce and great vegetables and fruits and stuff.”
With great community support in their first year of business, Brew City gives back, raising money for Cancer Cares, the high school marching band and local fire department.
“And do for us, it’s a big thing, making sure we’re a valuable asset to the community and making sure we are helping the community while we’re here,” says Wells.
In addition to hand-roasted coffee, Brew City sells pastries that are also made in-house. The food menu is seasonal and inspired by Pourier’s years of experience as a pastry chef.