Starting this fall, your local barista could become your bartender.
Know Where Coffee founder and owner Alfonso Guerrero realized that college students are half coffee, half beer —and this fall, he plans to capitalize on that market.
A recent addition to West University Avenue, Know Where Coffee plans to start selling beer and wine to customers before November, Guerrero said. The cafe features local craft coffees and plans to offer alcohol from local brewers as well, he said.
“This has been in the process for like three, four months now,” Guerrero said. “Sometimes people come here to study, sometimes they come to relax.”
Guerrero said he’s still deciding on pricing and hours, but is currently closing contracts with brewers and is working on building a new lounge area.
“We’ll start off with local craft beers, and then add wine,” he said. “We want to bring the same craft process that we have with our coffee to beer.”
Maude’s Classic Cafe also serves alcohol, and the previous owners opened a separate bar next door in 2014. Yet its downtown location translates to an older customer base for Maude’s “Sidebar,” Guerrero said.
“We have to make sure that we don’t serve minors and all that stuff,” said Guerrero. “In a college town like Gainesville, your liability premium insurance goes up.”
Overall, however, he said he thinks Know Where could profit from the expansion.
But that profit could come at a price.
In 2011, 15-year-old John Rupp had been drinking both alcohol and caffeine in the form of a drink called Four Loko before he ran into a road and was struck by a car.
According to a 2013 case against Four Loko manufacturer Phusion Projects, Inc., lawyers claimed the drink led to Rupp’s death because “the combination of stimulants with alcohol masks intoxication.”
A UF study found the same dangers in combining stimulants and depressants.
“Patrons who had consumed alcohol mixed with energy drinks were at a 3-fold increased risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated,” researchers wrote in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Addictive Behaviors. “As well as a 4-fold increased risk of intending to drive upon leaving the bar district.”
Guerrero understands these dangers, but doesn’t plan to present his store as a place to get drunk.
“You’re responsible for the liability of people,” he said on serving his customers alcohol. “We want to inform customers, but not actively promote it as a bar,” he said.
For Dianmarie De Jesus, that’s a good thing.
The UF biology senior said drinks at least cups of coffee a day, and occasionally drinks alcohol on weekends. But she said she wouldn’t order any alcohol from a coffee shop.
“Their main thing is coffee, this is kind of like a side thing,” she said. “I’m not against it, but I’m not really for it, either.”