Monday, June 17, 2024

Veneziano spearheading the evolution of specialty coffee

Multi-award-winning specialty coffee ‘leader’ Veneziano Coffee Roasters is celebrating 20 years of shaping and defining Australia’s specialty coffee scene. To commemorate the milestone, co-founders and specialty coffee stalwarts Rocky Veneziano and Craig Dickson reflect on the journey – and they’ll be giving away hundreds of free coffees, too.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters co-founders and specialty coffee stalwarts Craig Dickson and Rocky Veneziano
Veneziano Coffee Roasters co-founders and specialty coffee stalwarts Craig Dickson and Rocky Veneziano.

Veneziano Coffee Roasters was one of the first to direct trade coffee in Australia through developing relationships with farmers at origin underpinning its sustainable coffee model. “Not only were they one of the first large-scale Australian roasters to go carbon-neutral, the team also actively advocated for transparency and education around the specialty coffee scene, transforming coffee from a habit for caffeinated survival, to a celebrated experience intrinsic to iconic Melbourne culture.”

Now a hugely successful coffee brand, Veneziano’s group annual turnover currently sits between $55m – $60m with 80-tonnes of green coffee beans being roasted per week and 40-million tonnes since 2002. The business services over 1000 cafes and restaurants nationally as well as having opened four Veneziano owned and operated cafe and training studios across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

With two decades of business now under their belts, Craig and Rocky put their success down to complete trust and respect for each other, continual innovation and living by their ‘Everyday Evolution’ mantra.

“In the beginning, we were one of the very few specialty coffee roasters, and we were rapidly gaining market share where it was historically owned by traditional coffee brands, predominantly because of our extra service offerings and ensuring business owners really understood how to sell coffee,” says Mr Dickson.

“We really put more of a focus on educating business owners and consumers about quality, specialty coffee. We worked very hard on changing the perception of the value of a cup of coffee, both in increasing brand perception to help cafe owners grow their business, and changing the consumer mindset from seeing coffee as a quick fix, to a holistic, almost ceremonial experience,” he said.

Winning its first Australian Barista Championship in 2006 firmly placed Veneziano on the map.

“We’re very humbled by Veneziano’s reputation amongst Australia’s aspiring baristas; they want to join the team and learn from the best and we’re so grateful to have had coffee royalty like Dave Makin, Craig Simon, Jade Jennings and Dan Shadbolt blazing the trail as part of the Veneziano team,” Mr Dickson said.

“The key for us now is to continue giving back to the industry; to offer unparalleled training to those who are excited by the illustrious careers and the many different pathways that coffee can offer. We’re excited by what’s ahead and we look forward to bringing Australia’s coffee enthusiasts on that journey with us.”

To celebrate Veneziano’s continued success in the Australian coffee market and to say thank you to the communities, Veneziano will be giving away free cups of coffee in all four of its cafes on Wednesday, 21 September.

For more information on Veneziano Coffee Roasters, visit

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