Randy Hardman & Andrew Eberhart

Founders of Drinklings Coffee.
Using coffee as a redemptive mission.

Randy: M.A. Biblical Studies & M.A. Theological Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, 2014.
Andrew: M.Div., Asbury Theological Seminary, 2016.

Redemptive living can be found in your morning cup of joe. For Randy Hardman and Andrew Eberhart, Drinklings isn’t just a business. It’s a way of expressing God’s grace in their lives. The two coffee addicts with dozens of mugs in their cupboards officially started Drinklings in October to blend their passions—coffee, mugs and social justice.

Like their namesakes, the Inklings, Randy and Andrew use creativity, imagination and humor as a way to convey messages about life, reality, friendship and community. Drinklings started because they wanted to focus on issues that they had dealt with in their lives in order to open up productive conversations.

When you purchase a Drinklings mug or bag of coffee, you’re supporting a specific human rights issue, such as addiction or crisis pregnancy.

“Sometimes it takes the messy and uncomfortable to bring up the conversation that we’re all messed up and in need of grace,” Andrew said. “We want to have conversations about things that we’re passionate about.”

Every six to eight weeks, Randy and Andrew shift the conversation to focus on a specific issue, but allow for long-term support as well. Until December 31, one dollar from every mug purchased from Drinklings supports Avenues for Women, a non-partisan crisis pregnancy center in Frankfort, Ky. After the campaign ends, individuals can continue to support this ministry as long as they drink LIFE coffee.

“The coffee is more of a vehicle to get somewhere and to start conversations over cups of coffee,” Randy said.

By using coffee as a catalyst, they hope to reframe the current dialogues, bringing together all who support life, whether Republican, agnostic, Democrat, evangelical or atheist.

“The Church has done a poor job of educating us on why it traditionally and historically has been pro-life,” Randy said. “I’m not pro-life because the Bible tells me so, because the Bible doesn’t specifically say that, but the general theme of redemption is life.”

Randy and Andrew roast the coffee themselves, choosing a blend that represents each issue. LIFE coffee is a medium-dark, Honduran, Siguatepeque blend. Caffeine Addict is jolty, and Wilmore is a medley of sweetness.

“We make coffee that fits with a particular issue,” Randy said. “We make a dark roast for life because it’s bold. It wouldn’t make sense to do a weak roast for life.”

In January, they’ll shift their focus to addictions ministry.

“I went through teen challenge for 18 months and was a meth addict for six years,” Andrew said. “It’s very personal, and I have a friend who started an addictions recovery ministry, so we wanted to have conversations with him and partner with his ministry in some way.”

Randy and Andrew borrow Brennan Manning’s term, ragamuffins, to describe themselves because they identify with those on the edges of the group, grapple with life’s gray areas and wrestle with God for a deeper understanding of Him. Drinklings speaks to some of these struggles, but also percolates redemptive living in each mug.

“I think sometimes when we think about redemption, we have a far-off, lofty idea,” Randy said. “It’s confused by popular culture ideals. Yet, Jesus talked about the kingdom now and being actively invested in the lives of people now. He wasn’t talking about the righteous, holy people. He talked about redemptive living for people who were sick, diseased, the prostitutes and the big sinners.”

Randy and Andrew highlight local centers and ministries to show that change starts at the grass roots level. While the big organizations have large donors, it’s the local places that tend to get shut down. They recognize that $1 from each mug, isn’t going to make a large financial difference, but a lifetime of dedication to these causes will.

“What sort of influence can we make when we’re doing this, not for six weeks, a few months, or a year, but for life?” Randy said.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

  • Sit down with some good mentors who are already successful entrepreneurs.

  • Focus on partnering with people and not competition.

  • Don’t risk stupidly, but be willing to risk for your business.

  • Faith and fear are always present, but you have to put faith over fear.

  • Work as a team and be willing to make sacrifices.

  • Make sure your priorities are made, set and intact.

 

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