Milwaukee-based Alterra Coffee has agreed to a global distribution deal with Mars Incorporated, who will adopt the Alterra brand into their FLAVIA single-serve coffee system. From the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel:
Alterra Coffee Roasters Inc. is selling its global distribution rights to food maker Mars Inc.- a move that allows the Milwaukee-based firm to boost its brand recognition while remaining locally owned.
Alterra founders Lincoln Fowler, Ward Fowler and Paul Miller will continue to own the Milwaukee roasting facility and nine local cafés. The trio started the roasting business in 1993 and opened the first Alterra café in 1994.
Alterra will be able to supply some of the coffee that Mars will sell under its brand name.
Alterra's website assures devotees that this development will in no way affect the Alterra experience in Milwaukee. Cafés will remain locally owned and operated, and the Alterra brand still represents the same product in the Illinois and Wisconsin wholesale/retail market. The real change will be worldwide; by 2011, the Alterra brand will be used in conjuction with the FLAVIA one-cup system in the UK, Japan, France and Germany.
You can read more about the deal at Alterra's website.