It started over drinks—as so many great collaborations, relationships or just enjoyable back and forth excitement-spewing does. I think I was on my second Manhattan. The buzzing of Oak Bar in the Hermitage Hotel had seemed to have risen in parallel with my enthusiasm.
I was all smiles and incessant head nods at this point.
“I mean yeah, it’s about a badass hatter and her dog hitting the road, but it’s more than that you know— it’s about the fact you really don’t need much to follow your dreams, pave your own path. Right?!”
“Exactly, exactly, awesome, awesome…”, he kept saying. “Whatever you need, I would love to help. Coffee, support, whatever, awesome, awesome.”
And that was it, a deal had been officially-unoffically made. Drew’s Brews was going to be our first official sponsor in what turned out to be one of the most epic and eyeopening couple of months of my life. Having no idea just how much would change after that casual cocktail or two, Drew's confidence and support early on was what put all of us all in the head space to believe this whole “Hatter and The Hound Tour”, could actually happen.
The Hatter and The Hound tour was going to be fueled by Drew’s Brews coffee.
So, Drew Park, owner and roaster of Drew’s Brews Coffee. What a rad dude.
Drew believes if you put good energy and intentions into what you do and make, you will notice the difference. Having lived in Nashville, Tennessee for nearly two decades, roasting for 16, Drew is more than a small business owner, he is a Nashville staple.
From day one, Drew has been dedicated to maintaining and running Drew’s Brews as a one-man job. His steadfastness for consistency and proclivity to keep it simple has meant total control over his process and product. He knows people by name everywhere he goes and has built his business on the quality of his product and the personal relationships he has established in his community. Having never spent a cent on marketing, he credits his success to simply caring about his product and the people he meets.
A simple dude with an every day uniform of a white tee and jeans, he keeps it simple. He is one to just show up and be consistent. Kinda like the perfect cup of coffee.
When the time finally came to hit the road Drew sent us off with 20lbs of coffee. A special roast he called The Havstad Blend. It fueled our early mornings on ranches and long hauls in the highway. We gave bags to all the folks we met across the country, sharing early morning Joe with strangers and making quick friends.
And as if he hadn't done enough, when we arrived in Nashville, Drew put us up in his river house so we would have a nice, chill place to call home for the week while we continued to to do popups and shoot content for our other sponsors. So, that was cool. Magic river house for a week, yes please.
When we arrived to Nashville after three weeks on the road we were all a little burnt and in desperate need of a break. By only the glow of the taillights we pulled the trailer in through the rusty, chainlink gate by the skin of our teeth, wide eyed and praying not to rip the awning off the porch in our attempt. And in the morning, I finally got to show the ladies the home I kept telling them about and introduce them to the man himself.
An old motorcycle bar turned humble abode, the two story building was sparse in decor but filled to the brim with southern character. Old tags scribbled in Sharpy on the wall in the kitchen from bikers of the past gave us a glimpse into the heydays of the old bar. Fishing poles and rubber waiters lined the cement walls tempting us all to play country living, escape the hustle of Music City that lay across the river.
We watched barges slowly meander down the river at sunset while sipping rose, warmed up around the wood stove in the mornings while waking up with his rich espresso, and listened to old Bonnie Raitt and blues records as night with crickets singing backup.
We got to hang with Drew a few times during the week and I was mad thankful the ladies got to know the man who gave me the jumpstart I needed to help make all this happen. He took us out on the town to catch some jazz at Skull’s Rainbow room with drinks and dinner. He made us homemade Chili Verde and jalapeño cornbread for a quite night in, and checked in on us throughout the week to see if we needed anything. He gave us a tour of his roasting warehouse and explained that the most important part of making great coffee is putting good energy and intentions into the beans during roasting.
While Amanda and I were in town for a shoot one afternoon Drew spent a few hours getting fitted for a hat with Cate in the trailer and talking for hours about who knows what. After he left and Cate and I had a moment, she said,
"Thank you for bringing me to this place. Thank you for introducing me to Drew. What an amazing man."
From that one evening at The Hermitage on, nothing compared to the support we got from Drew. I don’t know why he was so willing to help someone he barely knew and three other girls he had never met make their hair brained ideas become a reality. Maybe it was because he decided to pave new path for himself a decade ago and has been a one man shop ever since—dedicated to just making a great product and valuing the hard work it takes to make the good shit. Maybe his perspective on keeping life simple gives him more experience in appreciating and recognizing the good stuff and he saw something in us. Or, maybe it’s because Drew is a just a hella chill dude who loves to help, support and share what he has with friends old and new. I don’t know, maybe someday over another Manhattan or two I’ll ask. All I know is we're still beyond humbled and thankful for his generosity. The world needs more men like Drew. More people who say the most important ingredient in their recipe is positive energy and good intentions. His coffee fueled our trip but his support set us on a path that forever changed our lives. So thanks, Drew. I hope someday we can repay you—or at least meet up for another cocktail and see what else we can make happen together. This time I’ll buy.