Coffee That Will Try To Break Your Heart
By Kevin Robinson in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 23, 2010 3:40PM
Just in time for lazy gift-givers across Chicago, Wilco is launching its own brand of Intelligentsia coffee. (You can pre-order the "Coffee Lovers Bundle" here.) As the AV Club points out, this is just the latest in a recent trend of Wilco transcending itself as a critically acclaimed alt-country band, into a powerful marketing brand that trades in comestibles. Unfortunately, if you stop for gas on the Eastern seaboard (and Chicagoist hears they serve coffee there, as well), Jeff Tweedy won't see a single penny of your purchase at a Wilco Travel Center. (They're privately held, so it's not even in his 401(k).)
Selling a branded product named for an artist or band isn't especially new, and when it doesn't veer into the realm of blatant consumerism, putting an artist together with a crafted or unique product can add a new dimension to their art. Tim Kinsella of Joan of Arc teamed up with Intelligentsia earlier this year to produce a special blend as well. He even resisted the urge to create a whole bunch of side coffees and spin-offs.
With Wilco bringing the morning Joe to the masses, is it just a matter of time before we see Steve Albini pitching the Starbuck's Big Black? Will Nelly team up with McDonald's to launch a competing coffee, the disposable cup in which it is served to read "Caution: Contents May Be Hot in Here"? Either way, Wilco's Select Coffee will probably do better than either Albini's blend or Nelly's name, if only because you can brew theirs at home, and people like that sort of thing.