Dusty Ape has grown out of the passion of its entrepreneurial founders Phil Buckley & Evan Metz.
I have been a coffee-nut almost since birth, and certainly before it would have been healthy to drink from the dark-cup. Most of my working life has been frittered-away helping to build a world-class software company called MPC Data where I learnt the value of quality and good service and how that leads to winning great customers and retaining them. In 2011 I decided to sell my stake in MPC Data to Bsquare, but I stayed on to manage Bsquare's European operations.
During this time I was successful in winning a contract for Costa Coffee to develop software for Marlow - the world's most advanced and sophisticated coffee vending machine. For the first time, I felt like I was close to living the coffee dream (I certainly met some great people and drank lots of coffee!). This successful project lead me to some useful introductions in the coffee world and netted me personal thanks from the senior team at Costa Express. The project director Eric Achtmann called it an "extraordinary and enduring contribution above and beyond the call of duty". In recognition of this my name is engraved alongside other key members of the core team on every machine that rolls off the production line.
But it wasn't enough, and I found myself taking time out of work to attend coffee trade shows, roasting my way around the world to uncover nuances in different varieties and regions. The Costa experience taught me how much time and money was being expended in producing ever better coffee -- even from a vending machine and I felt confident that the coffee market in the UK was set to expand in the same way that wine-drinking had in my childhood.
I got talking to a kindred spirit at a football match (watching not playing!), and found that Evan shared my enthusiasm for flavours. I also learnt that he was fed up with working 99 hours a week (something that struck a chord with me) and was ready to pull his last pint as landlord at one of my favourite pubs. I also learned that he was responsible for brewing award-winning real ale at the Devilfish micro-brewery which he had co-founded a year or two before. With an avid interest in making drinks, Evan was looking to launch a new business to produce culinary soft drinks which would push the taste envelope.
Quickly recognising a common desire to hand-craft, high-quality drinks for a discerning market-place, we decided to join forces and founded Bath Beverages Limited. Partly because of the impending end of summer (the peak of the soft drinks season) and also because good coffee just has a knack of getting you started and wanting more, we decided to launch the coffee side of our business first and set about looking for a strong brand to attract attention.
From my days in the IT sector, I came across an inspirational designer Damian Connop who had previously developed a brand for an MPC Data product. We called him up and met over coffee to discuss what the brand might look like and the Ape was born.