Bellwether’s Coffee Roaster Blossomed During the Pandemic, Doubling Installations

The Spoon
April 7, 2021

Inde­pen­dent cof­fee shops were hit hard by the pan­dem­ic last year. In Octo­ber, Euromon­i­tor Inter­na­tion­al pre­dict­ed that the U.S. would have just 25,307 coffee/​tea spe­cial­ty out­lets by the end of 2020, a 7.3 per­cent drop year-over-year and the first such decline since 2011. While giants like Star­bucks had the resources to weath­er the pan­dem­ic, small­er inde­pen­dent chains bore the brunt of COVID-19 fallout.

Giv­en this dark back­drop, you might think that Bell­wether had a bleak year as well. The start­up makes a com­pact, con­nect­ed, elec­tric and vent­less pro­fes­sion­al cof­fee roast­ing machine meant for inde­pen­dent cafes — like the ones that shut down last year. But actu­al­ly, Bell­wether didn’t just sur­vive the pan­dem­ic, it thrived.

We end­ed up hav­ing a real­ly good year,” Bell­wether CEO, Nathan Gilliland told me by phone this week. “We grew rev­enue a bit over 100 per­cent last year and instal­la­tions doubled.”

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