New coffee brand Folly Coffee embraces its Minnesota roots

Our take: High-end beans, strategic roasting key factors of product's production and branding...  |

When railroad tycoon James J. Hill commissioned the Stone Arch Bridge in 1881, the project became known as “Hill’s folly” because of the exorbitant cost—it wasn’t until the bridge was completed in 1883 that people saw the utility of it. That’s the story that inspired the name behind Folly Coffee, a new Minnesota-based coffee company.

“If you’re from Minnesota, you definitely know what the Stone Arch Bridge is,” founder Rob Bathe says. “But it seems like the second you cross the state border, it’s something that not a lot of people know about. It’s kind of like our hidden gem.”

Bathe honors the architectural icon in the packaging for Folly’s House Bean blend, which features an emoticon-esque illustration whose smile is shaped like the bridge.

The local branding is representative of Bathe’s aim: to make coffee as unique and inimitable as Minnesota itself.

“If I walk into some of these national chains in Minnesota or if I go to one in California, I’m getting the same cup of coffee,” he explains.

“That’s really not our goal. Our goal is that every batch we roast, you’re just getting the most amazing cup we can roast out of that batch, out of...

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