The Full Story
My grandfather, Fred King and my great grandfather, Benjamin Thomas Wright both made bootleg whiskey in the mountains of Western North Carolina. They called it the "White Mule" because it was clear in color and kicked like a mule, however, it was delicious, so you had to be careful when drinking it or you'd wind up crawling out the door. They made it behind the city incinerator in Hendersonville, North Carolina. One Christmas, they noticed that some local restaurants had thrown out citrus that was over ripened, (mostly oranges and grapefruit) so they tried it out in their mash recipe. What they wound up with was a delicious likker (spelled properly in the mountains) that apparently had a higher proof as a result of the the fruit and when cooked right, was undeniable popskull likker.
Bootlegging may have it's checkered history, but it's an art that few truly ever learned to master. (Check out the documentary on Popcorn Sutton, a former friend of my father)
I never got into making moonshine, instead, I've had a 20 year career as a recording artist and writer in Nashville, TN. I recorded 2 traditional country albums for Atlantic Records, spent years on the road, and then did a record with Jay Joyce called "Rube." It was a look into the darker side of Appalachian culture and the struggle so many have to make it out of a life of spiritual, physical and mental poverty.
As I was writing that album, I spent most every afternoon and evening at a local roastery and became obsessed with Malabar beans and the espresso that came from them.
10 years later, I received 50 pounds of the same green beans from two dear friends as a birthday present.
With an industrial heat gun and a stainless colander, I began roasting, burning and baking the beans until I had a deliciously strange roast. I gave it to friends, family and yes, coffee snobs everywhere and to my surprise, it was a hit.
As fate would have it, a dear friend introduced me to her brother-in-law, Mike Arnold who is a master roaster and owns Raphael's Roastery in Coffee County Tennessee. Mike began creating a roast profile for me on his Sanfransiscan roaster and when he dialed it in, we partnered up and started selling "Popskull Pitch" named after the moonshine my people used to make because like their likker, it's strong and yet seductively smooth!
I hope you absolutely enjoy this coffee.
We will be partnering with some incredible non-profit organizations and will donate part of the proceeds to these causes. Once everything is buttoned up, I'll tell you about it here.
Lastly, I am personally creating 1 roast per year in honor of a fallen soldier and donating the proceeds to help families of veterans suffering from ptsd and other issues.
On the back of our Popskull Pitch bags, you'll see, "Rich, I'll see you on the high ground" as a tribute to he and his family.
I'm currently in the process of partnering with some wonderful folks in my home state of North Carolina and beyond. We will be building a roastery that combines traditional roast techniques and machines with a brand new, environmentally friendly technology for creating coffee. (Stay tuned the details are gonna be incredible!)
We care about creating community professionally and with each customer we serve and hope to be offering a very special community service along with our roastery.
And of-course, sustainability, clean coffee and human/ethical coffee is our singleness of purpose and transparency will be our gift right along with what I think will be some of the best coffee you've ever tasted.