Blue Bottle Coffee today announced that it has reached an agreement to sell a majority stake to Nestlé SA.
Management will hold 32% of the business in a signal that heralds a successful partnership. Blue Bottle Coffee will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity which, founded in 2002, has been committed to sourcing and roasting the world’s best, most sustainable coffees and serving them in their cafes in North America and Japan. Current Blue Bottle leadership stays the same with Bryan Meehan as CEO and James Freeman, Founder, continuing in his role as Chief Product Officer. The company will continue to operate out of its Oakland, California headquarters.
“My goal as CEO has been to secure a sustainable future for Blue Bottle Coffee that would enable it to flourish for many years to come. I’m excited to work with Nestlé 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,” said Blue Bottle Coffee CEO Bryan Meehan. Blue Bottle Coffee started as a home delivery business, with James Freeman roasting coffee out of a 183-square-foot potting shed. Over its fifteen years in business, the
company experienced a meteoric ascent, growing beyond the Bay Area to New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, and putting the concept of third-wave coffee on the map. It distinguished itself in the early days of craft coffee by treating coffee as a seasonal product with a shelf life.
Blue Bottle has a strong track record of growth with 25 new cafes slated for 2017, including cafes in iconic sites like the World Trade Center (forthcoming), and entry into three new markets of Washington, D.C., Miami, and Boston. The company will grow by 70% this year.
The deal enables Blue Bottle to:
- Grow coffee technologies and continue to break ground in the quest for superlative coffee
- Expand career opportunities and benefits for its people and cafe teams
- Open new cafes and roasteries, nationally and internationally
- Build a robust digital program serving international guests in more countries
- Expand the product line of consumer packaged goods (currently NOLA cartons,
- Cold Brew cans, and Blue Bottle’s groundbreaking Perfectly Ground pre-ground coffee) and widen distribution to a global audience
“This move underlines Nestlé’s focus on investing in high-growth categories and acting on consumer trends,” said Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider. “Blue Bottle’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.”
Blue Bottle’s commitment to its core values has led to the establishment of the Blue Bottle Coffee Foundation, a donor-advised fund that promotes the values of deliciousness, hospitality, and sustainability through charitable giving. Blue Bottle has consistently given back to communities via employee volunteer programs and donations from new cafe proceeds and the Foundation will now allow for greater giving and participation. Most recently Blue Bottle donated the entirety of proceeds from the opening day of the Georgetown D.C. cafe to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“Fifteen years ago I started this company with the goal of roasting, brewing, and selling superlative coffee,” said founder James Freeman. “Nestlé’s belief in our coffee, our process, and, most importantly, our people, assured us that this is a deal that will enable us to dream longer and further into the future than I previously imagined possible.”
Blue Bottle Coffee is advised by J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Koenig, Oelsner, Taylor, Schoenfeld & Gaddis PC.
About Blue Bottle
Blue Bottle Coffee was founded by James Freeman in Oakland, California, in 2002. A self-declared coffee lunatic, James hand-roasted beans in a 183 square-foot potting shed and then delivered them to friends from his Peugeot wagon. Blue Bottle is now a small but mighty network of cafes in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York, D.C., and
Tokyo. Improbably and delightfully, the company continues to grow, but remains united by the simple purpose of sourcing and roasting the world’s best, most sustainable coffees and serving them at peak deliciousness. To find out more, visit bluebottlecoffee.com.
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 191 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favorites like Lean Cuisine. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.