Brian Keating

Brian Keating Memorial

A celebration of life for Brian R. Keating shall be 4 – eight p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16, on the Golden Gardens Bathhouse, 8498 Seaview Place Northwest Seattle, Wash. A second gathering shall be 2 – 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 on the Dushanbe Teahouse, 1770 13th St., Boulder, Colo. A light-weight afternoon tea shall be served. All are welcome. Donations to a legacy fund may be made at GoFundMe. Funds will finance celebrations in Seattle and Boulder, Colorado, and to help his household with closure of his property, if wanted. The the rest will turn into a legacy donation to KEXP, Brian’s favourite native music radio station, for an annual remembrance on his birthday every year and to honor his love of native music.

Tribute to Specialty Tea Visionary Brian Keating

Three a long time in the past specialty tea was a faint apparition in an American market inundated in tea mud and iced fannings.

Brian R. Keating, a tea visionary who handed unexpectedly of a coronary heart assault on Sept. 2, noticed the potential in high-quality free leaf tea so clearly that his advertising and marketing insights impressed 1000’s to spend money on what’s now a multi-billion-dollar industry. He was 62 and lived in Seattle.

“Always behind the scenes, Brian Keating has played a major role in America’s tea renaissance,” writes James Norwood Pratt, writer of The Tea Lover’s Treasury and recipient of the John Harney Lifetime Achievement Award. “The tea Immortals have prepared great feasts to welcome him after a lifetime well spent toiling in the tea field here below. He was a friend and I loved him.”

In his youth Keating loved tea, however he first turned his full, and at instances frantic, consideration to mastering tea as a proprietor of The TeaCup in Seattle. He believed that tea was not a commodity however an artisan product. He tasted and examined a whole lot of tea, discovered the distinctive traits of origins first hand, and fell perpetually in love with oolong.

His tea store metrics demonstrated that promoting high-margin broken- and whole-leaf blends was very worthwhile. This was lengthy earlier than the science-based revelation of tea’s well being advantages that might supercharge gross sales. In these days tearooms shunned greens in favor of Darjeeling, Earl Grey and English Breakfast blends, spending extra money on clotted cream and dainties than tea. Keating and supervisor Donna Fellman bought Dammann Freres teas, Keemun Hao Ya, Evening in Missoula and Pamplemoussse Blu. There have been solely 17 Starbucks places on the time. Keating observed these in Seattle bought vital quantities of fairly good tea below the model identify Infusia (lengthy earlier than the acquisition, and even existence of Tazo Tea). He believed tea may rival espresso as the primary selection of taste- and health-conscious shoppers.

Defining an Industry

By 1993 Keating was so satisfied that specialty tea was surging that his fact-based enthusiasm spilled onto the pages of the primary of 10 Specialty Tea is “Hot” experiences. Keating grew to become the principal at Sage Group and left the store behind to seek the advice of as a blender, formulator, marketer and wholesale knowledgeable.

Michael Cramer, co-founder of Adagio Teas, says that Sage Group grew to become “an authoritative voice in describing, analyzing and often predicting the trends that affect our industry. The tea report has guided our product selection, marketing focus and current expansion in retail. It is an indispensable guide for all seeing success in the world of tea.”

Mike Spillane, the third-generation proprietor of G.S. Haly Co., praised Keating for being “on the leading edge in reporting on specialty tea with all of its emerging niches, types and formats. As one of America’s oldest purveyors of specialty tea, G.S. Haly Co. has found Sage Group to be the go-to source for reliable forecasting and trend analysis when it comes to developments in the tea industry or products involving tea.”

“Like doting parents always looking to expand it but not at the expense of the industry’s integrity,” he mentioned.

In quick order Keating grew to become the enterprise spokesman for tea, citing numbers of curiosity to the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, and touchdown shoppers on the Fortune 500 record. Sage Group created greater than 200 drinks that included the primary sports activities power drink SPORTea, formulations for purposeful and nutraceutical drinks and lots of progressive teas. He additionally dabbled in culinary substances based mostly on his intensive data of herbs, spices, and flavorings.

He helped write the culinary arts guide Spices overlaying world cuisines and connoisseur salts and would additionally co-author in 2016 How to Make Tea revealed globally by Abrams/Quarto-Ivy. His newest experiences have been on fashionable matcha and kombucha.

Leading Tea Expansion

In 2006 he grew to become the primary tea purchaser and blend-master at Whole Foods Market through its subsidiary Allegro Coffee Co. situated in Thornton, Colorado. There he labored with firm president Jeff Teter to set up an in-house line of drinks together with 40 new tea merchandise in a lab of his personal design.

“Brian’s incredible creativity and deep knowledge of teas, herbs and botanicals brought us in contact with him,” remembers Kelly Amoroso, tea purchaser at Allegro Coffee Co. “He was dedicated to the industry and its friends. Brian generated such enthusiastic data about tea that prospects immediately felt a trusting connection and liking towards him.

“In a way, it’s like tea was Brian’s life companion. We appreciate him for his talent and commitment to it and have gratitude for sharing with others the joys of this beverage,” she mentioned. “We continue to honor his intentions and creativity today. His passion for tea and legacy lives on through the Allegro teas and thank him for introducing us to our tea family.”

Connecting the Tea Community

A talented promoter and longtime attendee at Natural Product Expo, Keating instantly noticed the potential in a brand new occasion proposed by tea-novice George Jage.

“I met Brian even before I held the very first World Tea Expo in 2003,” remembers Jage. “In researching potential audio system for a first-time occasion, his identify saved arising as he was already publishing the well-known Specialty Tea is Hot report.  Knowing he was accumulating knowledge nobody else had, collected or analyzed, we instantly made him our go-to lead-off speaker at virtually each present.

“It didn’t take long for Brian to become one of my most trusted advisers, second only to my wife Kim, in building World Tea Expo.  He was a driving force behind creating the tracks that attracted Nestle, Unilever, Pepsi and many other big consumer product manufacturers; he was a judge and adviser to Kim for the North American Tea Championship, and he introduced us to dozens of the best speakers we had over the 12 years we ran the expo,” mentioned Jage, now CEO at DOPE Media.

Tea Industry Remembers Brian Keating

“Any pal of Brian’s will inform you: you might not have a greater pal. You may see and really feel his deep empathy and caring for folks each time you talked to him. I do know I’m in good firm  once I say that Brian is likely one of the most interesting folks I’ve recognized and probably the greatest associates I’ve ever had.

“Brian was fascinatingly multi-dimensional, and those that knew him past his Tea King persona may know him as a passionate lover of music, particularly guitar music, as he was himself a guitar participant. He was additionally a lover of high-quality meals of all kinds, and the originator of the International Hot luck, a global spicy meals get together that I had the honour of internet hosting with Brian for a lot of its practically 40 yr historical past.

“He was a cool product hunter and trend-spotter, always with his finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s not in the world of foods, beverages and health. He was smart and fun and funny, with a quick wit, a sharp eye and an even sharper mind. We will miss him every day for as long as we’re still here.”

—Rob McCaleb
Natural Healthcare Inc., proprietor
Herb Research Foundation president

“The unexpected loss of my good friend Brian Keating has not fully set in. Brian and I go way back to his TeaCup days. Through the years Brian and I shared many a phone call about the growth of the specialty tea industry.  With Brian’s passing the tea industry has lost a thoughtful, caring friend and a little bit of its soul. God bless you Brian.”

—Mike Spillane
G. S. Haly Co.

“Brian’s contribution to the tea industry cannot be underestimated. Few reports on the industry were anticipated as eagerly as his annual Sage report, which lent both qualitative and quantitative insights to the tea industry and its members. Rooted in tea expertise, his views were always interesting, challenging and helpful.  The tea industry will miss him.”

—Peter F. Goggi
Tea Association of the USA president

“For the 27 years I owned the Perennial Tea Room in Seattle, Brian was a regular customer, friend and adviser. He always arrived with stories to tell, advice to provide and suggestions of ideas to advance our business. When he bought his own tea shop we collaborated to bring Norwood Pratt to Seattle on a book signing series of events. Eleven years ago, when I started the Northwest Tea Festival he was there with ideas and referrals of potential vendors.  He tracked them down and got them committed to participate and he came and enjoyed every one of them. He was always friendly and open with his energy and certainly committed to tea. I can’t say how much I will miss him.”

—Julee Romanoff
Northwest Tea Festival organizer

“My heart sank at the news. I can’t take any more of these devastating blows to the tea industry.  Over the past year I had gotten to know Brian very well as we were collaborating on several projects including purple tea, Colombian tea and World Tea Expo.  He was a true steward of the industry and will be missed. May his soul rest in peace.”

—Bhavin Shah
hief sommelier at Waterfall Tea Co. 

“I speak for myself and all of World Tea Media. Brian touched our lives and our business in a significant way. He was counted on for his extraordinary knowledge, vision, support and guidance. Brian was committed to making a difference in both the tea community and World Tea Expo and its associated businesses. His knowledge and influence helped direct the course of our conference development, online education and growth of World Tea Expo. Our respect for the man he was and the contribution he made will not end. Brian’s influence throughout our industry will remain steadfast even in his absence.”

Samantha Hammer
World Tea Expo occasion director/ World Tea model chief

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