Blue Bottle Sells Majority Stake To Nestle: What's Next?
As a business, we get it. You have to make your business soar to the top.
For Blue Bottle, being acquired by Nestle with a majority 68% seemed like a no-brainer. Business is business after all. The New York Times doesn't have the financial details of the deal, but they say it marks "one of the surest signs yet of how so-called third-wave specialty coffee — the kind that inspires almost monastic devotion to pour-over brews and perfectly steeped drinks — has become a hot business."
"Their commitment to us was, ‘We love what you do, we want to help you grow,’” founder James Freeman tells the Times. "One of the biggest food companies in the world has really voted in favor of very delicious coffee."
Between legal fights with the city, expansions to countries unknown, Blue Bottle has had a very bloomed five years of business. And we haven't been shy about our expressed opinions about the biz. Hell, we even still go and get our morning iced coffees. But this isn't the first we've seen of major cooperations seeing the so-called "little guy." Another Bay Area coffee brand, Peet's, which was more of the Starbucks "second wave" in age, was snapped up by German conglomerate JAB Holdings in 2012, which in turn also bought Stumptown in 2015.
So what does this mean for Blue Bottle: well rest assured, they won't be opening anymore retail locations in San Francisco (but you might see them in the Metreon or the Westfield mall.) The majority stake means that Blue Bottle is now part of a portfolio that includes the Nescafe and Nespresso brands, as well as Stouffer's, Gerber baby food, and Friskies cat food. And It seems like just yesterday we were hearing that beloved SF bakery and restaurant Tartine was headed into a partnership with Blue Bottle, only to walk away from the bargaining table six months later in favor of staying independent—a move that was largely seen as Tartine deciding that Blue Bottle wanted to grow at a rate that couldn't be sustained Tartine's by-hand bread-and pastry-making ethos.