Nestle takes majority stake in coffee entrepreneur

by Keith Nunes
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Blue Bottle Coffee
Blue Bottle Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster and retailer based in Oakland, Calif.
 

VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestle S.A. has taken a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee, Oakland, Calif., a specialty coffee roaster and retailer. Terms of the agreement were not announced.

Blue Bottle operates coffee shops in the Northern California Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, Washington, and Tokyo. Current plans call for the opening of shops in Boston and Miami, and the company plans to have a total of 55 shops by the end of the year. Blue Bottle also sells coffee in whole bean, ground and ready-to-drink formats.

With the acquisition of Blue Bottle Coffee, Nestle said it is entering the fast-growing, super premium coffee shop segment with a brand that targets discerning coffee drinkers. Blue Bottle Coffee allows Nestle to strengthen its position in the U.S. coffee market, and it offers the company opportunities to grow in super premium R.-T.-D., roast and ground coffee, largely through on-line subscription, according to the company.

Ulf Mark Schneider, Nestle
Mark Schneider, c.e.o. of Nestle

“This move underlines Nestle’s focus on investing in high-growth categories and acting on consumer trends,” said Mark Schneider, chief executive officer of Nestle. “Blue Bottle Coffee’s passion for quality coffee and mission-based outlook make for a highly successful brand. Their path to scale is clearly defined and benefits from increasing consumer appreciation for delicious and sustainable coffee.”

Nestle is going to take a hands-off approach to managing Blue Bottle, leaving it as a standalone company with access to Nestle’s resources. The current management team will remain and retain a minority interest in the business.

Bryan Meehan, Blue Bottle Coffee
Bryan Meehan, c.e.o. of Blue Bottle Coffee

“My goal as c.e.o. has been to secure a sustainable future for Blue Bottle Coffee that would enable it to flourish for many years to come,” said Bryan Meehan, c.e.o. of Blue Bottle Coffee. “I’m excited to work with Nestle to take a long-term approach to becoming a global leader in specialty coffee. We felt a real kinship with the team and knew it was the right move for us.”

The Blue Bottle acquisition is Nestle’s second during the month of September. Earlier in the month the company acquired Sweet Earth, Moss Landing, Calif., a processor of plant-based foods, including frozen meals, burritos, breakfast sandwiches and chilled plant-based burgers and proteins. 
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