As East Austin continues to grow and evolve, no business is safe from the winds of change. This time, Progress Coffee , a java-centric staple on East Fifth, will undergo a new transformation.
After a decade of running the business, owner Josh Bingaman sold the reins last week to a team of young entrepreneurs who will transform the space into a craft beer and coffee concept called Wright Bros. Brew & Brew.
Bingaman explained that his support for the neighborhood hasn’t waned (his company HELM boots opened just a block north), and that he feels like "ten years is a good run for someone like me who focuses on and sometimes changes course more quickly based on passions." When asked why he decided to sell, he said, "My partner of the last few years was having some serious health issues as of late, both of our families have been growing and much my personal attention has been turning towards my growing family and my other company HELM Boots."
Luckily, the change in ownership doesn’t mean that your opportunities to satiate your daily caffeine fix will disappear. The new owners, brothers Grady and Matt Wright and co-founder Matt Bolick plan on serving Progress coffee until the re-branding takes place later this Summer, after which, the coffee program will be crafted to keep the local customers happy. "The plan after we launch as Wright Bros. Brew & Brew is to bring in Handsome and Flat Track, two roasters with local origins that we have close ties to. We’ll also offer a rotating selection from other roasters, local or national, that are roasting great coffee."
In addition to the coffee, they will offer 40 craft beers on tap, including nitro and cask options, supplemented with cans and bottles. "We’ll dedicate a number of taps to our favorite local craft beers, but the rest of our selection will turn over quickly with seasonal, rare and unique beers that cover a variety of styles," Grady said.
While Austin has plenty of places where one can find both coffee and beer (think: Buzz Mill, Cenote, Cafe Medici, etc.), Grady explained the concept will be unique because they hope to attract both the craft coffee and craft beer crowds in the same space. Each brewed beverage will be given the same amount of attention. "It will be introducing a new dynamic, because typically it’s either a coffee shop that offers beer, or a beer shop that offers coffee. For us to approach it 50/50, it will be an interesting experiment."
Bingaman says he’s excited to see fresh blood take over the space. "I really like their concept and I really like them. A few months ago when we were talking to other cafes and coffee shops, etc., they were brought to us by a friend and took the torch mainly because of their passion and care and concern for what they want to do and for the community. They have some fresh, new ideas so it won’t be just another cafe, and I always respect that. These are and always have been foundations for Progress, so to pass the torch to some younger dudes with a rad vision and lots of passion and desire is really exciting and gratifying."