Cartel Coffee Lab Dominating The Valleys Java Market

Cartel Coffee Lab

Cartel Coffee Lab is perhaps the biggest name in Arizona coffee, and it’s making plans to continue dominating the java market.

Since opening in 2008 in Tempe, the coffee company has expanded to six locations in Tempe, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson, and their coffee is served just about everywhere in the Valley, from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to the new Harkins Camelview in Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Now Cartel is making some major changes to its Tempe and downtown Phoenix locations and looking at expanding as well.

Downtown Phoenix

The company’s downtown Phoenix location at 1 N. First St., is closing on Saturday, May 21. A temporary pop-up shop will open on Monday, May 23, in the same building off of First Street between Washington and Adams streets, while Cartel works on opening a new space there.

Cartel COO Hollie Mueller said the new space will be open sometime in the summer, and though it will have a smaller footprint than its current location in downtown Phoenix, she said some exciting things will happening in the new space.

“We have an opportunity to solidify our presence downtown,” Mueller said. “We’ll be part of some bigger changes for that building.”

Mueller would not disclose what exactly is happening at the new space, but she did say that it will involve design work from Matthew Moore from Urban Plough Arts and Mark Lewis of Unlikely Creatures, and that there will be street-side service available.


Cartel’s original location in Tempe is also undergoing some changes. The coffee maker introduced a brewery portion to the site about three years ago, offering a variety of originally crafted beers and beer-coffee mixes under the direction of Dave Arnce.

Now, Arnce and Cartel are parting ways.

“It was best for each company to focus on their respective craft,” Mueller said of the split, which both she and Arnce said was completely amiable.

Arnce now is opening his own brewery in Tempe, called The Shop Beer Co., located at 922 W. First Street in the Farmers Arts District, across the street from Sam Fox’s The Yard.

The construction has been underway for 18 months, Arnce said, but will be opening in the next 30 days.

Part of the new 10,000-square-foot brewery is housed in a home first built in 1952 — what Arnce called “pseudo-historic,” and will include an 2,500-square-foot outdoor patio/beer garden with a space designated for two food trucks.

“We built the patio with food trucks in mind,” Arnce said, noting that there are similar concepts in the Pacific Northwest.

Arnce also said production will exponentially increase from the Cartel Brewery, which will shutter this year, from seven barrels to 20 barrels.

“It’s sort of a cosmic leap forward,” Arnce said. “The Cartel barrels have been sold out for about six months, it’s already spoken for as soon as we make it, but that speaks to the capacity more than the demand.”

The Shop Beer Co. will also be introducing two new brews when they open — an IPA and a “hoppy red,” Arnce said.

East Valley

While those projects are in the works, Cartel Coffee Lab is looking to expand as well.

Mueller said Cartel currently is eyeing the East Valley for its seventh location, and opening is in “near-ish term plans.”

“We have definite plans for further expansion soon,” Mueller said.

For more information checkout Cartel Coffee Lab’s site here!

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