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Middlebury's Iluminar Coffee Buys Bud's Beans

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Published March 1, 2022 at 2:39 p.m.
Updated March 2, 2022 at 10:31 a.m.


Grace Futral (left) and Daniel Gutierrez of Iluminar Coffee and Bud's Beans - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Grace Futral (left) and Daniel Gutierrez of Iluminar Coffee and Bud's Beans

Middlebury's coffee scene got a jolt of new energy last month when specialty roaster Iluminar Coffee purchased longtime area biz Bud's Beans.

Daniel Gutierrez, 23, and Grace Futral, 22, will operate both brands out of the newly renovated Bud's Beans space at 63 Maple Street, focusing on wholesale and online sales.

William "Bud" Smith founded Bud's Beans in his home in 2000. "He created this really consistent, great-tasting coffee that kind of kept Middlebury fueled," Gutierrez said.

The rooster-adorned bags line shelves at area restaurants and retail shops, including the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, Middlebury Bagel & Deli, and Otter Creek Bakery & Deli. In 2017, Leah Keller and Brian Carter bought Bud's and moved it to Maple Street in the Marble Works district.

Gutierrez subleased from Bud's Beans when he launched Iluminar in February 2020. When Futral joined the business in April 2021 and used her graphic design skills to rebrand it, sales took off. Iluminar filled the hoppers at Lost Monarch Craft Coffee in the Stone Mill and at the Middlebury College campus café. It also booked guest roaster stints at Burlington's Onyx Tonics and other local cafés. To meet demand, the owners moved their roasting to the larger Uncommon Coffee in Essex.

When they decided to look for a space of their own, Gutierrez proposed sharing Bud's Beans' space, but the duo decided to buy the business.

The two brands serve different markets, Gutierrez said. Bud's Beans will stay the same for now and will slowly transition to coffees that share Iluminar's transparent sourcing. The rooster will stick around.

"It's a legacy that needs to be maintained," Futral said. "Being a younger generation stepping into a legacy business, you have to prove yourself just a little bit more."