JAVA no longer, say hello to VINT

There’s been change a’brewing (obligatory coffee pun) at several Java Brewing Company locations and it’s more than just the name. According to Toni Lavenson, an owner of the newly monikered ‘Vint’, the rebranding was about expanding a great coffee experience into a welcoming gathering place and “next generation cafe” serving coffee, beer , wine and more.

Those walking into five specific Java Brewing Company locations over the past couple of weeks will have found themselves confronted with a printed pamphlet reading, “You’re doing what to my coffee shop?” On this past Monday, June 20th, that threat of change came into fruition in the form of Vint, a series of reinvented locales decorated with repurposed wood and boasting an expanded array of products now including artisanal wines and microbrews, breakfast and lunch items, and of course, what it’s owners purport to be, “higher quality coffee beans and a superior roasting process.”

Noting five specific former Java Brewing Company locations (namely, Clifton, 4th Street Live, Main Street, Jewish Community Center and Northfield) is a very important distinction, as some customers may be surprised to learn (I know I was) that for about two and a half years Java Brewing Company has in fact existed as two separate companies operating under one name. Vint owners Chuck Schnatter (yes, brother to John Schnatter), Chris and Toni Lavenson explained that as menu items and speciality drinks began to diverge between the separate sets of Java locations over time, that relating to the brand as a whole became more and more confusing for customers. A grand solution first envisioned only one hundred and twenty days ago, ‘Vint’, which is short for ‘vintage’, establishes a new proprietary image for the company and its customers to embrace.

The blueprint for the newly designed Vint logo.

Learning that its owners maintain no outside office, instead choosing to work out of each of their locations, it’s easy to imagine a slightly added personal interest in assuring that the individual venues are as comfortable and welcoming as possible, but as they explained it’s a bit more than that. Indeed, a core focus for Vint is to take the personal atmosphere that it creates and expand beyond the confines of its locations to the community at large. Thus far this has included participation in ‘taste of Frankfort avenue’, an espresso bar at the Louisville Zoo’s Zoofari, a free cup of coffee for those participating in ‘bike to work day’ and a partnership with Los Monitos language center to create a wine tasting experience that marries the knowledge of a wine expert with insight into the language of origin.

In addition to spreading itself outward, Vint also brings the community in, in the form of a number of featured local businesses including Rooibee Red Tea, Lotsa Pasta, Cake Flour, Stellar Sweets and Creation Gardens. The list of local products even includes Vint exclusives, as Najla’s has done some tinkering around and come up with an Espresso Scone maid from Vint’s own espresso. Furthermore, Chris Lavenson was quick to point out the company’s ‘ten local businesses in every cup’ philosophy, referring to the bevy of local businesses that don’t make it in to the cup itself but make the cup possible, including local lawn care, signs, printing, paper, uniforms and distribution.

Vint currently maintains thirty three employees and if Chuck Schnatter has his way it may soon be a great many more than that. Vint has already acquired the space for a new location on Blankenbaker Parkway, to be developed for a January 2012 opening, and Schnatter said he could envision ten to twelve eventual locations in Louisville before a possible expansion beyond the city’s borders. Vint’s owners and highly trained barristas have the highest confidence in their new brand and are ready and willing to win you over.

Those interested can learn more about Vint at their website.