Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a pioneering North American specialty coffee company founded in Portland, Oregon in 1999, is in the midst of being acquired by Peet’s Coffee and Tea. This news follows the company’s rapid expansion after the 2011 investment in Stumptown Coffee by private equity fund TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco-based firm whose previous acquisitions include Famous Amos Cookies, Voss Water, and Popchips.
Peet’s—the venerable Bay Area coffee brand founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet—were themselves acquired in 2012 by Joh. A. Benckiser, a German conglomerate, for just shy of one billion dollars. In the years since Benckiser & its subsidiaries have also acquired Caribou Coffee, a Minnesota-based cafe chain, and Mighty Leaf Tea, also located in the Bay Area.
Stumptown Coffee Vice President Matt Lounsbury confirmed news of the sale to Sprudge.com by phone. “We are now 100% owned by Peet’s Coffee & Tea“, Lounsbury told Sprudge. “They really want to see us continue doing what we’re doing. Peet’s is going to allow us to keep growing and doing our thing.”
Lounsbury declined to disclose the purchase price, but did tell us: “It’s not a merger. They’re not going to fold us; we’re going to continue to operate independently, and we’ll continue to operate out of our HQ in Portland.”
Stumptown Coffee’s role as an early leader in the specialty coffee industry began with the company’s founder, Duane Sorenson, whose larger than life personality and infamous joie de vivre drove the company during his tenure as owner. Following the initial sale of Stumptown to TSG, Sorenson’s role within the company been largely promotional; in the years since the TSG sale Sorenson went on to become a successful restaurateur in Stumptown’s home city of Portland, Oregon, where he opened critically adored dining rooms Ava Genes and The Woodsman Tavern, plus Roman Candle Baking Company, a pastry and pizza shop that supplies all of Stumptown’s PDX cafes.
The years since 2011 saw great brand acceleration for Stumptown, who opened an impressive new HQ in Portland in 2012 and a roastery in Los Angeles in 2013, and rapidly expanded its cold brew program for nationwide distribution and a variety of offerings, including a chocolate cold brew that pairs well with breakfast cereal. The company currently operates a total of 11 cafes across the United States, located in Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and New York City, with a 12th cafe on the way for the new Ace Hotel project in New Orleans. Brand acceleration in this style is part of the strategy for firms like TSG, who profit by buying products, growing their portfolio, and grooming them for a subsequent second sale.
Full disclosure: Stumptown were just the second-ever brand to advertise on our site, back in 2010, and they’ve maintained an ad presence on Sprudge in the five years since. Sprudge was founded by Zachary Carlsen and Jordan Michelman in the Stumptown Pine St. cafe in Seattle back in 2009; at the time Carlsen was a Stumptown employee. FWIW this news gives us all the feels.
This story is developing…