Part travelogue, part inspiring social commentary, and part motivating business model, Brewing Change is about one middle manager’s quiet, dogged crusade to change the world of coffee. Long-time friends Bill Mares and Rick Peyser team up to tell the story of Peyser’s career within industry pioneer Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and of his travels throughout the coffee lands of Latin America and East Africa. Eye-opening and heart-wrenching, Brewing Change is a story with the power to remind us of the indomitable nature of the human spirit, and the dramatic change that is possible when individuals fight for an equitable global community.
Benefitting from Green Mountain’s strong culture of corporate social responsibility, Rick Peyser has held leadership posts in several industry advocacy groups and non-governmental organizations. He has become one of the most recognizable faces in his company and the industry. What distinguishes him from many in America’s increasingly cutthroat business climate is his choice to move laterally to help others rather than vertically to help himself. During his 24 years at the company, Rick Peyser has been a patient, persistent force advocating for better quality of life conditions in coffee-farming communities. His moving descriptions of the conditions endured by coffee farmers throughout the world force readers to join him in longing for a more engaged and humane global workplace. Brewing Change chronicles Peyser’s compelling personal journey in a clear, straightforward style, and offers a fascinating insider’s view of one of the most successful companies in the coffee business.
Bill Mares is a writer and commentator for Vermont Public Radio. He is also president of the Vermont Beekeepers Association, a former high school teacher, and was a member of the Vermont House of Representatives from 1985 to 1991. An avid runner, reader, choral singer, and traveler, he also has a great passion for history, philosophy, and fishing. Mares is the author of many books, including Bees Besieged and Fishing With the Presidents. He lives in Burlington, VT with his wife, Chris Hadsel.
Rick Peyser is director of Social Advocacy and Coffee Community Outreach for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, where he has worked almost since the company’s founding. He is a past president of the Specialty Coffee Association of America and served as president of the Coffee Kids board of directors, where he continues his work to improve the quality of life in coffee-growing communities. He is currently a member of the Coffeelands Landmine Victims’ Trust board of directors, and a member of the Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International board of directors, which sets the international standards for Fair Trade certification that benefit over one million small-scale farmers around the world. When not traveling, Rick is running, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing. Since 1989, he has completed over 40 marathons. Rick also enjoys playing keyboards in R&B bands and commuting on his 28-year-old BMW motorcycle.
Praise for BREWING CHANGE:
“Each and every person has the capacity to make a positive impact on the world. Rick Peyser is living proof that if the world is to change, it will be changed by ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” —Bill Fishbein, The Coffee Trust, founder of Coffee Kids
“Newman’s Own Organics and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters established a partnership in 2003. I got to know Rick Peyser when our coffee was introduced at McDonald's in New England two years later. Rick is a remarkable, gentle, and selfless man. I’ve learned more from him about the social and environmental impact of organic Fair Trade coffee than from anyone else. I highly recommend Brewing Change, about Rick’s steadfast dedication to social responsibility and leadership in the world of coffee.” —Nell Newman, co-founder of Newman’s Own Organics
“For more than twenty years, Rick Peyser has applied himself to the daunting task of moving the needle on rural poverty in coffee farming communities and has managed to shift the mindset of an entire industry. For anyone who has ever felt that a problem was too massive to solve, there are important lessons to be learned from Brewing Change. Whatever your challenges are, Rick clearly shows that getting started and staying committed are the keys to success.” —Ric Reinhardt, executive director of the Specialty Coffee Association of America
“If a mere 1% of the American coffee-consuming public listened to Rick's message, understood the goal of his work, and got on board, coffee communities around the globe would be tremendously affected.” —Mausi Kuehl, co-owner Selva Negra farm, Nicaragua
This is part of a series of events with Wind Ridge Publishing authors taking place at Phoenix Books Burlington this fall. WRP authors are all local residents; however, their books reflect a broad range of issues, experience, and global interests—from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Rick Peyser and Bill Mares’ in Brewing Change, Peyser’s personal account of social responsibility and the lives of coffee farmers, to Vermont wildlife rehabilitator Helena Nicolay’s Squirrel Diaries and Shelburne veterinarian Dr. Steven Metz’s book, Exotic Tails. Other featured WRP releases include VPR commentaries from the Executive Director of the Vermont Humanities Council, Peter Gilbert’s I Was Thinking and Paul Boisvert’s photo essays in his coffee table book, Burlington ~ A Sense of Place.