The coffee world (well, our little part of it, at least!) is buzzing with the news about Peet’s buying Portland third-wave coffee pioneer, Stumptown. I’ve heard about it on podcasts and read about it in articles, Reddit and all over social media. Opinions range from “Who cares?” to “The sky is falling! It’s the end of days!!!” So why not throw my two cents into the hat? LOL
Peet’s is a huge company that, like Starbuck’s, makes up a big portion of the specialty coffee market but is solidly “second wave.” For Peet’s (or, rather, the company that owns Peet’s) to expand more into third wave coffee the option would be to change Peet’s (BIG mistake) or to acquire third wave coffee businesses. Stumptown had already gotten a couple of large influxes of venture capital over the last couple years for their East Coast expansion so they were already moving in that direction.
I like Stumptown. They have cool marketing, seem to really have done a lot for the third wave movement, coffee education, improving the life of their farmers, etc. The first Portland coffee I ever had was Stumptown and even then, two years ago, people were moaning and complaining that they “were getting too big.” LOL I like their espresso (both at their locations and at their wholesale accounts like Albina Press), I like their milk drinks and I was not a fan of their nitro cold brew at all. The locations are nice. Pretty much the end of my opinion on Stumptown! They’ve said that they will continue to operate independently of Peet’s, which I can only imagine is true.
The big difference is that Stumptown will now be part of a much larger company that they can tap into a LOT of money from. I imagine we’ll see it continue to expand in other hipster areas, maybe their coffee will be more readily available in stores, etc. No big deal.
The idea that they will automatically suck now because they are owned by a big company is ridiculous. It’s a strangely American attitude (where business growth and success is supposed to be a good thing) that growth and expansion and success = bad. Meanwhile our favorite “indie” bands are playing on car commercials and the entire world is a global marketplace thanks to the Internet. I think most people would be surprised how many of the brands/companies they love are actually part of much bigger businesses. Get over it, folks.