Starbucks and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters announce expanding strategic relationship

Starbucks Coffee Company and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters announced on 22 March the expansion of their strategic relationship for the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of Starbucks-branded Vue packs for use in GMCR’s recently introduced Keurig Vue Brewer. “We are proud to expand our relationship with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and are looking forward to working with our colleagues at GMCR to further accelerate growth in premium single-serve coffee,” said Jeff Hansberry, President, Channel Development for Starbucks, in a statement. “Premium single cup is the fastest-growing segment of global coffee, and the expansion of our relationship with GMCR allows us to grow further, faster, in the single cup category.” The statement follows Starbucks' announcement on 8 March that it would be teaming with Krueger GmbH to release its own Verismo single-serve system. The announcement led to a drop in GMCR shares, although Starbucks released a statement the next day distinguishing the difference between the Keurig filter-based system and the Verismo espresso-based system.  The 22 March statement noted that Starbucks is the exclusive, licensed super-premium coffee brand produced by GMCR for the Keurig K-Cup Single Cup Brewing system and now, with the expanded relationship, the new Vue system. According to the terms of the agreement, Keurig is the exclusive low-pressure (30 psi or under), single cup brewing system of its kind offering fresh-brewed Starbucks coffee and Tazo tea. Starbucks and GMCR expect GMCR to distribute Starbucks Vue packs initially in specialty, department store, and mass retailers in the United States as well as on GMCR’s consumer direct websites by fall 2012. “The success of our Keurig Single Cup Brewing system has been driven by choice – choice of coffee brands and beverage varieties, and choice of brewer features and models. With the introduction of Vue we’ve expanded that choice even further, giving consumers a brewer with features and functionality they’ve told us they value most,” said Lawrence J. Blanford, GMCR President and CEO in a statement. “We believe the customisation offered by Vue and its appeal as a premium beverage solution will resonate with loyal Starbucks consumers, and we’re pleased to have Starbucks coffee as a brand option in the system as we move forward.”

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