In Memory of Steve Johnson: Fifth Generation Cattleman and Serial Entrepreneur

One of the first times I connected with Steve Johnson, he was installing an Off The Beaten Path Coffee system at Rev1 Labs for Startup Week. Previously, at a session at the Dublin Entrepreneurial Center (DEC), Steve told us that he had heard that Rev1 Labs was a cool place to work. He also told us that he thought it could be cooler with a coffee bar.

At the time—this was in 2018—Steve was in the market validation phase for his unique cold brewed coffee. We were delighted to participate in his market tests and to drink his delicious brew. Afterward, we were even more delighted to work directly with Steve as he built the business of Off The Beaten Path. Eventually, we became investors.

Steve was a genuinely warm person and authentically interested in others. He created the kind of relationships with customers that we all want to have. His goal with Off The Beaten Path, he told us, was to distinguish his products from everything else in the marketplace—to give his beverages an undeniably recognizable quality—and he did.

Steve was a unique entrepreneur. While on the surface, Steve’s company, Off The Beaten Path Coffee, may have looked like other beverage companies currently in the market, it, as was its founder, different to the core. Steve embodied the customer-focused approach we promote at Rev1, by continuously listening to what his customers liked and how he could provide the products they wanted by using the best available ingredients. His customers included some of the best-known startups and established companies in the region.

Ever humble, Steve said his success was blessed by help from a wide variety of people, from a moonshiner who coached him on brewing techniques, to advisors from the DEC and Rev1 who helped him structure his business plan.

Personally, it is we who were blessed by the curiosity, creativity, and enthusiasm for his fellow humans that Steve Johnson brought into every situation. We will miss Steve’s intelligence, good humor, and drive for excellence in everything he did. Especially we will miss his friendship.