TUESDAY, Feb. 28 — So far, 2017 has been kind to the local beverage industry. Last month, Justin King, co-owner/operator of DeWitt’s Bridge Street Social, was highlighted with a handful of Detroit sommeliers by GuildSomm, an international wine publication. Then at the end of January, Lansing’s Craft & Mason Coffee Roasters was honored with a Good Food Award for its Ethiopia Hunkute coffee. This is the first year Craft & Mason competed in the Good Food Awards, which recognize excellent products in categories ranging from cheese and charcuterie to beer and cider. The roaster is one of 16 coffee companies honored in this year’s Good Food Awards.
“We’re excited to be among people we have been following for years,” said Jeremy Mason, co-founder of Craft & Mason. “This was a goal of ours.”
The Good Food Award winners are selected in each category by a panel of industry professionals. The entries are scored in three areas: authenticity, taste and responsible production. This fits the ethos of Craft & Mason, which works closely with its providers to make sure the product is excellent and the farmers are fairly paid.
“We wanted everyone to experience our way of making coffee, everything from the farmer growing it to us receiving it,” Mason said. “We like to pay attention to detail.”
Traverse City roaster Higher Grounds Trading Co. was also awarded a Good Food Award for its Yirgacheffe Idido coffee. The 2017 Good Food Awards saw over 2,000 entries from all over the U.S. and selected 193 winners across 14 categories. Six winners are Michigan-based.
Craft & Mason, founded in 2013, sells coffee through its website and at select retail locations, and some area restaurants and coffee shops offer coffee made with its beans. The company has considered some sort of brick and mortar shop, but it’s taking things one step at a time.
“The main focus has been roasting the coffee. We wanted to master one thing and let the rest follow,” Mason said. “We would like to get to know our customers better. A new space would allow us to interact with people more, instead of being behind the roaster.”