Peet’s Coffee to acquire premium coffee brand

Peet’s Coffee & Tea, a business unit of the JAB Holding Co., has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Intelligentsia Coffee, a roaster and retailer of premium coffee products. Intelligentsia Coffee has roasting operations in Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as 10 coffee bars in such markets as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Terms were not disclosed.

“We’re excited to welcome Intelligentsia to the Peet’s family as the growth of the super-premium coffee market continues to explode in the U.S.,” said Dave Burwick, president and chief executive officer of Peet’s Coffee & Tea. “It’s driven by 18- to 34-year-olds who are more affluent, purchase premium brands from other categories like craft beer and pressed juice, and seek variety and new experiences.

“To capture more than our fair share of this market, it’s important that we offer differentiated craft coffee brands with unique propositions and appeal. Peet’s and Intelligentsia, along with Stumptown, which we recently signed an agreement to acquire, are highly complementary brands and businesses that collectively satisfy the desires of the new coffee connoisseur.”

Founded in 1995, Intelligentsia markets itself as a super-premium coffee roaster. It sources its coffees under what it calls its Direct Trade program. To qualify, vendors must meet five criteria, according to the company. Coffee quality must be exceptional, growers must be committed to healthy environmental practices, the verifiable prices paid to the grower must be 25% above the price of Fair Trade, all participants in the supply chain must be transparent, and an Intelligentsia representative must visit participating farms or cooperative villages at least once per harvest season.

“Intelligentsia is built on the vision of creating a remarkable coffee experience,” said Doug Zell, founder. “Each step of the process is considered and is as important as the step that preceded it.”

This is the second acquisition Peet’s Coffee and Tea has made during October. On Oct. 7 the company announced it has acquired Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a processor of cold-brew, ready-to-drink coffees.