Friday, March 7, 2014
By PAUL TENNANT The Eagle-Tribune
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. - Who figured that one of The Bad Boys of Boston would grow to become a connoisseur of gourmet coffee.
That's the case with Joey Kramer, the drummer for the rock band Aerosmith.
Kramer, 63, has become the front man for a new coffee brand called Rockin' & Roastin' which is produced in North Andover.
The beans are grown in Ethiopia, Guatemala and Sumatra, part of Indonesia; but they're roasted, packaged and distributed by Comfort Foods Inc. Headed by North Andover's Stephen Beattie Jr., the firm is at 25 Commerce Way which has been in business since 1992 and employs 15 workers.
"I'm a coffee nut," Kramer told The Eagle-Tribune. He's been a coffee drinker "ever since I can remember" and for quite some time, he was looking for the perfect brew, he said.
"It's my opinion that most Americans drink inferior coffee," he said. He traveled the world in search of that right brand and concluded Guatemala, Sumatra and Ethiopia grow the best beans.
He also said he wanted to produce a gourmet brand that's not too expensive. Some brands, he noted, sell for as much as $30 to $40 per pound.
Kramer and the two men who founded Rockin' & Roastin' with him, Frank Cimler and Ron Mann, insist the new product is "music to your lips."
Besides Comfort Foods, the new brew has another connection to New England through Ernie Boch Jr., the auto dealership mogul.
Through next June, Rockin' & Roastin' will donate a portion of its sales to Music Drives Us, a nonprofit started by Boch. The foundation provides grants for music programs that help people in need throughout New England.
"I drink and recommend Joey Kramer's Rockin' & Roastin' coffee and I am honored he has chosen Music Drives Us to share the benefits of his philanthropic efforts," Boch said.
Beattie said he expects Rockin' & Roastin' will be on area store shelves by August. It can already be purchased by visiting rockinandroastin.com.
Comfort Foods already roasts, packages and distributes the Harmony Bay brand of coffee, which is sold at Market Basket, Stop & Shop, Shaw's, Hannaford, Walmart and Roche Brothers.
Beattie provided an overview of how coffee, the second-most traded commodity in the world after oil, travels from the coffee-growing regions along the equator to either your kitchen table or your favorite coffee shop.
After being picked, washed and dried, the beans are put in burlap bags, each weighing 132 pounds, and carried by container ship to New York.