NYT: Investment Group Approached More Than Just St...

NYT: Investment Group Approached More Than Just Stumptown…

Continuing our coverage of The Story That Won’t Die, there’s some fascinating depth and clarity available today from Oliver Strand and The New York Times Diner’s Journal. It seems that “officials of four of the nation’s top high-end coffee companies say that TSG has also approached them, even seeking a controlling interest in at least one case”, according to Mr. Strand. Even more fascinating, “some of the conversations, these officials say, took place after TSG invested in Stumptown.”

The companies approaced include Blue Bottle, Counter Culture, Joe and La Colombe, and the list of noted roasters with ties to the Panos family and TSG may be growing – Panos Properties, a Kirkland, Washington based entity with familial ties to TSG, is invested heavily in Zoka Coffee Roasters, a fact we hinted at in our otherwise ill-fated Zokapocalypse Now coverage from May 2010.

Perhaps the most fascinating point made in the piece is this one: Investment from a group like TSG into Specialty Coffee “would have been unthinkable not long ago…[compared to] Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee and Tea or Caribou Coffee, their spread beyond a few hometown cafes is so recent that it was news when Stumptown and others began arriving in New York City just three years ago.” Mr. Strand concludes that a reputation for excellence, particularly with sourcing and roasting, is an enormous part of why outside investors could see companies like Stumptown and Counter Culture as attractive potential partners.

The Story That Won’t Die surely won’t be dying any time soon, so look forward to more coverage on the TSG / Stumptown investment in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, has anyone else actually tried one of those Stubbies yet? They’re freaking delicious. With like, a little splash of milk? Or just straight over ice…they taste like chocolate Bosco syrup or something. We want to carbonate one, then mix it up with milk and Kosher Fox’s U-Bet to make a little SE Portland Egg Cream. Yum.



  1. Jay C.

    8 June

    Tabloid a la National Enquirer, parody a la The Onion, condensation a la Huffington Post and, even sometimes, attempts at “serious” journalism – it’s all part of The Sprudge experience. While it can make for a fun read, the serious writing gets a bit lost in the mix and comes off a bit choppy because of it.

    To Waggoner-
    The reality is that in today’s 3W, it’s readily acceptable (even required) to dismiss and trash the likes of Carmichael and Milos simply because they offer a different stance than that acceptable to 3W dogma.

    I think Givens stance is correct. Regardless of whether or not Sprudge is a “tabloid” consistency and transparency in advertising and promotion is a cornerstone of reputation for any publication/media outlet.

    With regards to the TSG Investment group, I just think it’s a shame that they weren’t sniffing hard a couple of years ago when Ecco Caffe was on the lookout to make a change. We constantly bemoan the lack of mainstream interest in our niche of specialty coffee and now decry the “sellout” of one of the 3W mainstays. Truth is that if a deal is structured correctly, the TSG investment could lead the way towards greater outreach, preaching and penetration into that same “mainstream” market we’ve been saying we’ve wanted access.

    I think of the “real deal” coffee roasters (Intelligentsia and Stumptown), it is Stumptown that has the best chance of penetrating the mainstream while still remaining true to that core “punk rock” style that has made it the darling of 3W.

    Of course, the tricky part that Duane, Aleco, TSG, et al will have to walk is the fine line of remaining “core” without creating an amusement park facade as they expand into the mainstream market. But I’m reasonably sure that Duane is hardcore enough to “keep it real.”

  2. josh

    8 June

    wait, don’t you know they’re a tabloid? they call themselves a tabloid all the time. people who get mad about the “journalistic ethics” of sprudge are either really, really dumb, or they just started coming here like 2 weeks ago.

  3. Antonius Finklebraussen

    7 June

    While, I’m not sure, I have a hunch the frothy hunky boys of Sprudge enjoy good coffee, hunks, and kittens, the website is probably fairly open to anyone for ad space.

    • Jeff Givens

      8 June

      The point isn’t about who is able to advertise or not. Standard journalistic ethics call for transparency of advertising sponsorship so as to avoid the appearance of bias.

  4. Waggoner

    7 June

    So the story that you sneered at when written about by “Total Dick” is now serious and newsworthy? Crapping on Carmichael and gushing over Strand shows no class. By they way, you should note in your Stumptown posts that they are one of your paid advertisers.

Follow us on Instagram