In the Yard: Spokesman Coffee

Premium coffee and craft brews on tap = hangout heaven

Look: Here’s an interview with Trey Ramirez and CJ West, co-owners of Spokesman Coffee at 440 E. St. Elmo Rd.

This closer look at the well-caffeinated place is a more in-depth supplement to our current overview of the creative and industrial and community-welcoming compound of the Yard at St. Elmo.

Note 1: We’ve got similar considerations of two other Yard-based businesses, via interviews with the good folks of Texas Saké Company and the Austin Winery. (And you may recall how we covered their Yardly neighbors, Still Austin and Raw Paw, way back in the Before Times.)

Note 2: This interview, unlike the other two, was conducted via email. So, it’s both a bit more straightforward and edited (ever so gently – so help us, Kaldi!) for readerly convenience, with Ramirez and West responding as a sort of combined spokesman for, yes, the Spokesman.

Alright, now let’s check in with these busy coffeemongers …

Austin Chronicle: Out of all the possibilities of a location, what brought y'all to the Yard in particular?

Spokesman: Way back in 2016, we were introduced to the Yard project by our buddies at St Elmo Brewing Company. St Elmo Brewing were the first operator for beverages at the Yard right at its inception, which was a few months prior to Spokesman getting open in 2017. We feel fortunate to have built out our space at the Yard inside an old machining warehouse shell, and our shop has its own feel and warmth. A location search the year before had not shown us where we needed to be, so landing at the Yard has always felt like it was meant to be.

Austin Chronicle: And are those qualities also what keeps you there?

Spokesman: We have amazing neighbors and are energized by our neighborhood's support. The surrounding Battle Bend neighborhood, public condos in the revitalized St Elmo district, and all of the original and new makers and artisans that we're surrounded by are truly inspirational in keeping us on our aim to provide great house-roasted coffee – and a curated local craft beer selection to be reckoned with.

Austin Chronicle: What are the best things that Spokesman Coffee offers to its customers, its community?

Spokesman: Apart from working hard on our coffee roasting, serving unique beverages and dedicated friendly service, Spokesman hosts community events that are driven by local artists and musicians. That includes graffiti battles hosted by the Blue Dozen Collective, vinyl night DJ sets, the occasional DIY punk rock or metal show, etc. We also throw exciting celebrations throughout the year: Noviembre Fest, which is our annual festival celebrating Mexican heritage, unique to Texas; the annual Lager Jam – a big party hosting the best lagers within the Texas Craft beer scene, hosted by The Austin Beer Guide; and we've also had latte art throwdowns, local coffee roaster features, and – heck, someone even got married at our shop at St Elmo! We try to keep events fun and unique for our community.

Austin Chronicle: I know all the shops here do those monthly Walkabout things, those weekend parties for the public to enjoy. But what about the day-to-day of the Yard? Do y’all collaborate on a regular, or at least occasional, basis?

Spokesman: Those Walkabouts are a nice way for all of us neighboring businesses to collaborate, by incorporating a selected ingredient into a unique beverage – keep your eyes peeled and taste buds ready for the next Walkabout. Synergy-wise, we love collaborating with our talented neighbors! Thus far, Spokesman’s done multiple coffee beers with St Elmo Brewing – most notably their annual coffee cream ale called Vaya, which is a truly remarkable beer. Vaya’s unique can design was done by Briks of the Blue Dozen Collective, whose art is all over our walls at St Elmo and now in our two new shops. We also collaborated on a cherry-forward coffee liqueur with Still Austin that was super delicious, and a coffee amaro with the Austin Winery that melted our faces.

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