According to SCAA Executive Director, Ric Rhinehart, the Mose Drachman Award is given out infrequently because recipients must be nominated by a customer along with an essay. "It's one thing to submit someone's name," Rhinehart said. "It's quite another to write a 500 word essay explaining why you think that person is deserving of recognition. A customer really needs to believe a company or individual is deserving to commit to writing an essay." The Mose Drachman Award, which is named after a legendary coffee salesman who worked for the Arbuckle Brothers Coffee Company 100 years ago, was created by SCAA in 2001 to recognize the sales people upon whom the specialty coffee industry depends.
Although the Mose Drachman Award can be awarded to individuals or companies, six of the seven recipients have been individuals, reflecting the fact that the specialty coffee industry is as much about relationships as quality, according to Rhinehart. He also added, "One of the things that differentiates the specialty coffee sector from others is that buying is still personal. Whether you're a specialty coffee consumer buying a cup at a coffeehouse or a roaster buying thousands of pounds from a farm you visited last harvest, the interaction tends to still be passionate and personal."
Tracy Allen is Vice President / Owner of Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company, serves as secretary/treasurer for the SCAA board of directors, has served as chair of the rules and regulations committee for the World Barista Championships and as chairman of the United States Barista Championships. For more information on Zoka Coffee Roaster & Tea Company, visit www.zokacoffee.com or call 1-866-Zoka-Now.
About The Mose Drachman Sales & Service Award
The Specialty Coffee Association of America has established an award to recognize sales and service excellence in the specialty coffee industry and named the award after Mose Drachman, a coffee salesman based in Tucson, Arizona 100 years ago.
Born in 1870 and raised in Tucson, Mose Drachman became at age 22 the Arizona sales representative for Arbuckle Brothers Coffee Company, which was headquartered in New York. He was awarded the Arizona territory based solely on a letter he wrote to Arbuckle Brothers. He remained a "coffee jobber" until 1910 when his success in a variety of Arizona business ventures ensured he no longer needed to travel by train for weeks at a time on "coffee-selling tours" to cover his territory, which eventually included parts of New Mexico. His first months' commission check amounted to $8.00. When he left Arbuckle Brothers, his commissions checks were averaging $250 a month.
At the time, Arbuckle Brothers was a coffee giant and it's Ariosa brand had a virtual monopoly in the West. An "Arbuckle Cowboy" was a tenderfoot, someone considered so green he'd bought his outfit with Arbuckle coffee coupons. The competition, primarily from Lion Coffee for most of Drachman's tenure, was fierce. Rivals were known to bribe warehousemen to have onions stored next to Arbuckle Brothers' coffee. In one incident often cited, Lion Coffee salesmen are said to have persuaded a Native American tribe to switch to Lion Coffee because they could thereby obtain the strength of the lion that appeared on the package. Drachman quickly brought them back to Arbuckle's, however, when he explained that the angel that appeared on the Ariosa package was "stronger than ten thousand lions." He reportedly boasted to his wife, "If Lion wants to beat my angel, they'll have to put on their label a picture of God himself."
According to a biography written by his daughter Rosemary, Drachman sometimes sold enough coffee to fill twenty carloads. That's an entire train! When Arbuckle Brothers added half of New Mexico to his territory, they cut his commission from 25 to 20 cents a case because they were afraid he would now sell more coffee than they could afford in commission. Apparently, Mose was so excited by the addition to his territory that he didn't mind the decrease in commission. "You can't figure up everything in dollars and cents," he said. Mose Drachman died in 1935.
It is in the spirit of Mose Drachman's enthusiasm for both selling and serving his customers that the Mose Drachman Sales & Service Award has been created by the Specialty Coffee Association of America. The award includes the following inscription:
"Whereas Mose Drachman was a highly successful coffee salesman for Arbuckle Brothers, well regarded in his community and by his customers, the Specialty Coffee Association of America has established the Mose Drachman Sales & Service Award to recognize those who provide exceptional sales and service within the specialty coffee industry. The aforementioned company or individual has been identified by their customers as deserving recognition for a high degree of professionalism in providing proactive customer service, complete product information and education, and a devotion to quality."