Breaking news late this Friday afternoon, as Sprudge has learned that noted inventor Alan Adler is looking to sell his company Aerobie. For thirty-two years the brand has sold sport toy products and, for the last decade, made waves in the coffee world selling the very popular AeroPress coffee maker. When asked why the brand was now on the market, Adler responded plainly: “Because I’m 78 years old.”
The Palo Alto-based company are in talks with companies that are interested in acquiring either the sports toy division, the coffee division, or both. “We’re just beginning the process that will take a couple of months,” Adler tells Sprudge, “and we just started reaching out to prospective buyers less than a week ago.”
Adler is teaming up with longtime friend and neighbor Mathew Hein along with Bryant Williams of San Francisco firm DBO Partners to manage the sale.
Aerobie started in 1984 selling flying discs that broke world records in distance. The manufacturer now sells a collection of discs, frisbees, yo-yos, boomerangs, footballs, and of course the much-loved AeroPress. In total, Adler has invented 17 products. The products are sold in over 2,000 retailers.
The AeroPress coffee maker accounts for more than half of Aerobie’s sales and the coffee maker sells in sixty countries. Aerobie has sold millions of AeroPresses since its launch at CoffeeFest Seattle in 2005, fueled in no small part by the worldwide success of the World AeroPress Championship, a grassroots independent coffee contest founded in Oslo, Norway in 2008 and is now based in Melbourne, Australia.
Adler, who hopes to attend the 2017 World AeroPress Championship finals in Seoul, offered this formal statement to Sprudge readers:
A letter from Alan Adler, inventor of the AeroPress coffee maker.
As many of you already know, I didn’t set out to make a commercial product. I just sought a good way to brew coffee in our own kitchen. As an engineer / scientist I began with some basic research.
I began by experimenting with water temperature. I, and the tasters I recruited, all preferred coffee brewed at 175°F. But I was doing pour-overs which took four or five minutes to drip through. I suspected that the brew would taste less bitter if I could shorten the drip through. Pushing on the slurry in the filter-cone didn’t speed the process and I realized that air pressure would be the answer.
From the first crude model which I machined in my garage, I was very excited. I’d never tasted brew that sweet. I invited Alex Tennant, our general manager at Aerobie, to taste the brew. He said, “Alan, we can sell millions of these”. I spent a year fine-tuning the design and it took another year to make our production molds. Then we launched the AeroPress at Coffee Fest – Seattle in the fall of 2005.
It’s been a joyful rocket ride ever since. Millions of AeroPress coffee makers have been sold in over 60 countries. And of course, there is the “World AeroPress Championship”. I would never have dreamed that brewing coffee with my little device would become an international sport.
Now, the years are adding up, and my good wife and I have reluctantly decided that the time has come to sell our beloved company. It’s been wonderful to have been drawn into the coffee community. You are the nicest people in the world and we are very thankful for the privilege of working with you. Hopefully this is not goodbye but perhaps just a note that there are some changes in the wind.
So, to all of you special people in the coffee world, we thank you for taking us into your hearts.
Alan (and Irene) Adler
This story is developing…
Aerobie is an advertising partner on Sprudge.com.