Your web-browser is very outdated, and as such, this website may not display properly. Please consider upgrading to a modern, faster and more secure browser. Click here to do so.
One of the things we’ve discussed a lot over this past summer of Hunter Bay’s 20th Anniversary as Montana’s premium coffee… is the image of our coffee roasting business.
Of course you can see the visual proof of our close physical and emotional ties to this wondrous state we live and work in… just by looking at our logo and the labels of our many signature coffees. Our logo has always been directly tied to the values of wilderness, outdoor recreation and the activities Montanans love to pursue as residents of this state.
Whether it’s our own logo with our name imprinted over a background of a mountain and a mountain stream — or one of our specialty labels like Montana Premium Blend, Kaffe Moose Drool, Smoke Jumper, Trout Slayer, Back Country Organic, Foundation Blend Coffee or Big Sky Organic — you’ll see our Montana roots in our logo.
Of course we’re also proud of the unique roast, flavor and body of each of those coffees. It’s been our main goal since we opened our doors on August 19 of 1991 to provide Montana coffee lovers with the best coffee roasted in the state and in the region.
But the evolution of our signature logo branding has been interesting, as we take a look back over the past 20 years. On this blog page you’ll see how our logo took shape and developed over the years.
Our first logo took shape in the neon sign we hung up in the front window of our retail storefront in August of 1991. We didn’t have bag labels yet, but our idea was taking shape. It was a circle with our name emblazoned at an angle over the circle. You can see a photo of that neon sign in the attached photo panel. It’s image #1. There wasn’t a mountain in the background, but you can see that it was in our imaginations, and it showed up soon with the printing of our very first labels, which you can see in image #2.
We kept that label for only a short time as we worked hard to formalize our image in our next label printing. That can be seen in image #3 with the development of what we call our “classic” logo and “classic” coffee bag label. This would be our mainstay logo and coffee label for the next 12 years and became well known to western Montana coffee lovers. As you can see at the bottom of that label, we used only one label, but indicated the name of each coffee with the printed name of that coffee.
We used another label that only the owners of the businesses who purchased our coffee saw. That’s the simple oblong circular logo (#5) in the bottom panel. It was on every package of roasted coffee we delivered to our wholesale customers. We still label our wholesale coffee, but that well-known logo has not been used for several years.
As we expanded our business into wholesale and grocery sales, we were advised to make a simple, eye-catching label, so we simplified our logo and placed it onto a bright red label with the image of roasted coffee. This is the logo on the coffee label in #4. We used this label for several years, but were still tied to the idea of a Montana image (an image we had always used on many of our other labels, by the way).
So, in 2007, we decided return to the logo of our roots. The result is the logo you see on the front page of our Hunter Bay website, and on each and every Hunter Bay coffee label. Of course, now we have a unique label for each of our blends. But the image that ties everything together is the circular logo with the words “Hunter Bay” emblazoned across the circle and in front of the image of a Montana mountain and a Montana mountain stream.
We know the citizens of our state - and many coffee customers who live elsewhere, but who visit our website and purchase our coffee - love our direct tie to the place and values of this “Last Best Place.”
We also hope that whenever you see our logo — whether on a sign or on a Hunter Bay coffee bag — that you also are directly linked to the special place we call our homes.
~ Glenn Junkert, Coffee Director
We’ve been celebrating the 20th anniversary of Hunter Bay throughout 2011. But today— August 19th — holds extra-special significance for us because August 19th, 1991, at 8 a.m. was our official first day of business as we opened our doors for the first time at our first location: 225 West Front Street, in Missoula.
Today — August 19th of 2011 — marks our exact 20th Anniversary as Missoula’s first and best local coffee roaster.
There have been numerous highlights, but we’ll narrow them down to the most memorable:
Still roasting: We admit to having learned a lot in 20 years. I recently had a conversation with a Missoula lawyer who remembers walking into our store shortly after it opened on August 19th, 1991. His first impression? That we might not last very long, he said with a chuckle as he congratulated us on our 20th anniversary, our longevity in Missoula and our consistent hiqh quality product. We admit that our learning curve was steep. But we learned fast. And we learned well. We’re here today as proof that Hunter Bay is one of the oldest and best specialty coffee roasters in America… and the best proof of that is your first sip of today’s fresh Hunter Bay coffee.
Missoula’s introduction to coffee roasting: Shortly after we opened our downtown store, we roasted our first batch of coffee with our brand new Diedrich Roaster. It was located at the front of the store and customers could watch us roast our coffee as they waited for their beverage. We were a little nervous on that bright and sunny September morning, but our first roast was perfect! As we celebrated the freshly roasted bright chocolate-brown coffee beans in our roaster’s cooling bin just as the puff of aromatic smoke drifted over downtown Missoula, two fire engines roared up Front Street and out jumped several fire fighters who had responded to a report of a fire on Front Street. NO FIRE, just roasting coffee. But the unique aroma of roasting coffee was a new experience for Missoula residents! We gave the firemen a complimentary cup of Hunter Bay coffee as they left. Here’s an important historical note: Though coffee roaster fires are relatively common worldwide, Hunter Bay has NEVER had a coffee roaster fire and has ALWAYS used the proper effluent controls to keep our roast effluent well under the minimum city, state and national standards.
A familiar aroma: Though many Missoula natives had never smelled roasting coffee, many of our first — and most loyal — customers found us quickly because of the unique aromas of freshly roasting coffee. Numerous customers would burst through our front doors and happily exclaim, “This aroma reminds me of growing up in San Francisco (or New York, or Chicago, or Seattle)” Fresh coffee aromas are truly among the favorite aromas of city living, which we continued to do until we outgrew our downtown location and moved our roasting plant to Lolo in 1997.
Retail and Wholesale: Our first six months were a blur of roasting activity. Business in our downtown store boomed as customers sampled any of our 35 different coffees from different regions of the world. Five months after opening, we had our first wholesale customer when the then-owner of Bernice’s Bakery walked into our store and asked us if we would develop a special coffee blend for Bernice’s Bakery. We said, “Yes!” To this day, Bernice’s famous coffee continues to be blended and roasted by Hunter Bay. Since then, Hunter Bay has established mutually beneficial relationships with numerous local and Western Montana businesses. You can read all about those special blends on this web site. Whenever you see a sign in your favorite business that says “Proudly Serving Hunter Bay Coffee,” tell them “thanks” for supporting Hunter Bay. To the owners of Bernice’s — and to all our other loyal wholesale customers — we say “Thanks for the 20-years of business!” And to you, we also say “Thanks for supporting Hunter Bay!”
Our stores: Hunter Bay grew rapidly in our downtown location and it wasn’t long before we had to consider a new location. We made a then difficult decision to move our roasting plant to Lolo, where we concentrated on our rapidly expanding wholesale operations. Shortly after moving, we re-opened our retail coffee bar in downtown Missoula at 215 West Front. Then, last August, we moved two blocks east on Front Street, where we opened our brand new retail location at 101 East Front, in the First Bank building located at the corner of Higgins and Front streets. Please stop by any time to help us celebrate our 20 years in Missoula!
Our Blends — our trademark: The overriding hallmark of Hunter Bay coffee is quality. It has been our passion and practice to obtain only the highest quality green coffees from around the world to roast fresh for our Western Montana and internet customers. As we practiced our trade, we became convinced that we could provide the highest and most consistent quality through the development of our own Signature Hunter Bay Blends. Though we continue to feature a small number of quality “country of origin” coffees, Hunter Bay has strengthened and solidified its reputation through its unique and high quality blends. We offer a unique blend for all coffee tastes, whether it’s one of our award-winning espresso blends, our dark roast blends, medium roast blends, or blends for specific commercial applications. You can read about ALL of our Hunter Bay Signature blends on this web site.
Our growing reputation: Today, customers of Hunter Bay coffee have a lot of ways to get their coffee. You can now find Hunter Bay Coffee in literally EVERY independent grocery store from Darby, Montana to the south, all the way to Bigfork, Montana to the north, Thompson Falls to the west with further expansion planned in all directions.
Join Us: We invite you to join us as we continue to celebrate our 20th year as Missoula and Western Montana’s fresh coffee roaster. Drop into our store at 101 East Front for a fresh latte or cappuccino. Or, taste our rich and flavorful brewed coffee. As you leave, make sure to grab a package of our newest blend, our “20th Anniversary Blend,” to brew at home.
Whether you’re a longtime customer of 20 years, or just introduced to our coffee, we look forward to providing you the best fresh-roast coffee you’ll ever have… for another 20 years!
~ Glenn Junkert, Coffee Director
One thing I did not think about very much in my 20 years with Hunter Bay is where, when or how we roasted our coffee.
But a common question that’s asked nowadays is “Do you roast your own coffee?”
Well… yes. Of course. Every day in our Missoula, Montana based roasting plant. We wouldn’t EVER think of doing it any other way.
The reason for the question? More and more coffee companies do NOT roast their own coffee. Which in turn leads to many more questions. Hmmm.
But you can be assured that every cup of Hunter Bay coffee you’ve ever consumed has been roasted by our roastmaster, Corey.
I’ll have several more short blog entries on the importance of quality local coffee roasting. And how important it is to know a company’s roasting methods and philosophies.
It all starts and ends with quality. That’s because quality (or the absence of quality) can be tasted. By you.
The attached photo is of Hunter Bay Roastmaster Corey, who recently developed Hunter Bay’s newest blend, our 20th Anniversary Blend. You can find this blend at our downtown Missoula Store. We guarantee that it was roasted fresh, right here in our home town.
~ Glenn Junkert, Coffee Director
Page 1 of 2