IN 2018, Blackburn Cathedral branched out into the drinks business with its own gin label (News, 16 November 2018). This week, it added coffee to its beverages list, and has plans for tea, too.
Its coffee brand has been named the Dean’s Beans in recognition of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Dean of Blackburn, the Very Revd Peter Howell-Jones (pictured), who came up with Cathedra Gin as a way to boost revenue for the cathedral’s pastoral work.
“We want to put Blackburn Cathedral firmly on the map for everything it has to offer, including its hospitality, its worship, its music. . . its gin, and its coffee,” he said.
He hopes for a similar success to that of Cathedra Gin. Its first two batches sold out in under a week, and it has been stocked by supermarkets since last year. The enterprise was in profit after just six months. So far, 2000 bottles have been sold at £39 each.
Like the gin, which is produced at Brindle Distillery near by, the Dean’s Beans coffee has been blended by a Lancashire company, the Coffee Exchange. It was launched at the re-opening of Blackburn Cathedral’s café last month.
“It’s a strong brand. . . This is even stronger”
The café has been renamed Checks and Greys in celebration of the region’s rich textile heritage when every Lancashire mill had its own design and the Blackburn checks and greys were world-famous. Cathedra Tea is expected to launch later this year.
The cathedral invested £12,000 to develop and market Cathedra Gin. The profits are put towards Blackburn Cathedral’s education and music outreach programme, which currently engages with 4500 children in 120 schools. The Dean’s Beans project, however, needed no up-front investment, as it is fully supported by the Coffee Exchange. The coffee sells for £5 a 225g bag.