GROUNDS FOR CELEBRATION
West Coast coffee drive-thru brews up plans for 7 Austin locations
The largest privately held drive-thru coffee company in the nation is brewing up major expansion plans for the Lone Star State, including seven in Austin and three more across Central Texas.
Oregon-based Dutch Bros Coffee was founded in 1992 and now has more than 400 locations throughout the West and Southwest. On January 8, it opened its first Texas location in College Station, also breaking ground that same day on its second location in the state, in nearby Bryan. Those two java shops are the first of many more to come, with Dutch Bros confirming to CultureMap the company has plans to open 26 new drive-thru spots in Texas this year, and projects to have 100 locations open in the Lone Star State in the next couple years.
“Our plans for expansion in Texas for just 2021 include about 11 locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, seven in the Austin area, three in Central Texas, and five in and around Houston,” says Aaron Harris, vice president of development for Dutch Bros. “We plan to keep adding to the state and each of these areas throughout the next few years, with hopes of around 100 locations by the end of 2023.”
While all new Dutch Bros shops are company-owned, they are run locally by regional operators who began with the company as “broistas,” Harris says.
Known for its customizable coffees (including vegan options), its handcrafted proprietary coffee blend, smoothies, freezes, teas, and specialty drinks like nitrogen-infused cold brew and its private-label Blue Rebel energy drink, Dutch Bros has been executing its ambitious growth plans, opening 70 new locations in 2020 alone. But the College Station shop marks the company’s easternmost location — for now.
Dutch Bros chose College Station for its Texas rollout, in part, Harris says, because of its proximity to Texas A&M University and the likelihood that the brand could start off strong there. In fact, with its cult-like following of caffeine fanatics, Dutch Bros served 1,869 cars on opening day, which the company says amounts to about 104 cars an hour and 1.7 cars a minute.
“Texas is a great climate for our products. There’s rapid population growth and economic development,” Harris says. “Being part of the community is huge for Dutch Bros, and since Texas is known as The Friendly State, our values align with the culture. We’ve received such a warm welcome and can’t wait to continue our growth into Texas.”