Ancora is Madison's coffee company. After years of preparation, the first Ancora Coffeehouse opened for business 20 years ago, just down the block from the historic state capital.
It all began in 1994. There was co-founder George Krug roasting the beans on the Probat roaster and behind the espresso bar stood co-founder Sue Krug ready to pull a perfect shot. The first customer ventured inside the cafe and ordered. “It was an orange juice!” laughed Sue. “Our very first customer ordered a bottle of juice. Luckily, the next customer and all the ones after that were interested more in the coffee than our juice menu."
George and Sue launched their dream business after mentoring with coffee roasters and industry professionals in Seattle. The husband and wife had enjoyed successful business careers in the Seattle area and wanted to build a business together based on their mutual passion for Specialty Coffee. “We had a vision to create a company together that would enrich lives with a new and exciting product but also would educate people with the story behind the coffee,” said George. “Plus we wanted to build a business to reflect our values and personal sense of responsibility to our community,” added Sue.
In May of 2013, with the Krug’s retirement, Tori Johnson took over ownership of the Ancora cafes and brought a few changes into the mix. Ancora now serves alcoholic coffee drinks, a large list of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, and hosts open mic nights on Wednesday nights as well as a free live concert series on Thursday nights. Tori, who trained under George and Sue as her first job out of college, fell in love with the brand immediately. “The coffee, the quality of standards Ancora upholds, the employees, and of course the dedicated customers definitely won me over- I knew this was the place for me,” said Tori. Tori looks to continue building upon the brand the Krug’s started, with her sights set on opening a few new cafes over the next couple years – stay tuned!