Portland’s Stumptown has been purchased by Peet’s Coffee & Tea, which spent an undisclosed sum buying out the shareholders of the company.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a posterchild of the so-called third-wave of American coffee, has been bought by Peet’s Coffee & Tea, the California company that in the 1960s helped launched the now-stodgy second wave.
Peet’s spent an undisclosed sum buying out the shareholders of Portland-based Stumptown.
The move shows how the roasters that helped popularize gourmet coffee and espresso drinks in the U.S. endeavor to keep up with increasingly discerning palates.
Peet’s, founded in Berkeley in 1966 by a Dutch immigrant, helped inspire Starbucks, the company that took gourmet coffee to the masses in what today is known as the second wave of coffee. (The first wave was the mass deployment of lowbrow ground coffee by the likes of Maxwell House.)
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But in the last decade many avant-garde coffee lovers left what had become massive chains for more experimental roasters like Stumptown and Intelligentsia, which pioneered now-popular styles such as pour-over and cold-brew coffee.
Starbucks has sought to regain its mojo by becoming more upscale, engaging in massive store redesigns across its footprint, launching an ultrahigh end brand and a fancy, Willy Wonka-like roastery in Capitol Hill.
Founded in 1999 by Duane Sorenson, Stumptown now gives Peet’s some millennial luster. Under Peet’s, it will be run independently while having access to Peet’s bigger resources, the companies said in a media release.
Stumptown, which until the Peet’s deal was majority owned by TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm, has 10 stores in Portland, Seattle, New York and Los Angeles.
Peet’s has 376 locations.
The purchase did not go unnoticed by executives at rival Starbucks. Corey DuBrowa, senior vice president of global communications for the Seattle company, tweeted the news with the comment: “File under ‘huh’ .’’