Josh Zad is the founder and CEO of Alfred Coffee, a popular chain of coffee shops based in Los Angeles. His latest endeavor, Calidad, is a Mexican-style beer whose Southern California roots inspired both the brand and its West Hollywood hacienda, Casa de Calidad. We met with Josh at the Casa and learned more about his aesthetic, the inspiration behind the brand’s design, and how Revival Rugs became an important part of the décor.
Describe your personal design aesthetic.
I like things to look and feel worn-in from day one — not too shiny and polished. Whether it’s for Alfred or here at Casa de Calidad, I like things to be very warm, cozy, and welcoming from the start. Using warmer tones and certain paints, tiles, reclaimed woods, and wallpaper to really create that timeless aesthetic that looks the same day one or year five.
What is the story behind Calidad Beer and Casa de Calidad?
After the success of Alfred, I decided to go for a completely different challenge and do something in the beer space, where innovation is mostly done on the craft side, but not the brand side. So we took that concept and really built on our two distinct identities of a Mexican-style beer that’s brewed in California.
Early on, it was important to get a foothold in the brick-and-mortar aspect that made Alfred so successful, so we developed the concept for Casa de Calidad, which is an event space, work space, and marketing hub for the brand. Where we’re sitting right now is a way to visually impart to people the concept of Calidad. So often with ready-to-drink, you’re at the mercy of the retailers that carry you. The Casa is our way of bridging that gap.
Tell us about the design inspiration behind the Casa.
We’re a Southern California brand through and through. We’re brewed in Santa Barbara, so aesthetic-wise we’re leaning a lot on that influence — the architecture, missions, Acapulco Gold color — and that’s all naturally there by being authentic to where we’re made. The Casa décor is very Santa Barbara, so there’s a lot of plants, warmer tones, fun and kitschy sayings painted on the walls, and great rugs.
How does the décor of the Casa affect the overall experience of the brand?
I don’t think anything about the design is supposed to knock your socks off, but that’s a purposeful consideration. It’s much more subtle and really goes hand in hand with the three tenets of the brand: authentic, familiar, and local. We want people to feel comfortable enough here to be like “Ok, I get it now; this is what the brand is about and it feels like home.” The Casa is really supposed to make sense of the whole brand and bring everything together.
Why did you choose Revival Rugs for this space?
Like most people, I always had a lot of problems finding rugs and trusting pricing. A friend sent me a link to Revival’s website and I liked that it was an artisanal product and the price was straightforward. We wanted pieces that were really subtle and that blended in well with the rest of the décor, so once we figured out what sizes we needed, it wasn’t hard narrowing down what rugs we liked. There are so many size and color variations so now it’s the only place I buy rugs — whether it’s for my home, office, or the Casa.
How does Revival Rugs fit in with the story of Calidad?
I see a lot of parallels between the two. We’re both California-based companies. Each rug is one-off and really special; each batch of ours is really special. There’s a story and real people behind Revival, and we also like to support a fellow small start-up business. We get a lot of compliments on the rugs so that makes us look really good. People are always asking where we got them, or they think they’re from an old family collection, so it’s cool that it’s like a secret that not everybody knows about.