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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 4, April 2012, Posted On: 3/26/2012

Keurig, Starbucks Expand Partnership To New Vue Brewer

Emily Jed
office coffee service, OCS business, vending business, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. Starbucks coffee, specialty coffee brewer, K-Cup, single-serve K-Cups, Verismo, Lawrence J. Blanford, Jeff Hansberry

SEATTLE -- Starbucks Coffee Co. and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. are expanding their partnership to make Starbucks-branded Vue packs available in Green Mountain's new Keurig Vue brewer.

Green Mountain launched its new Keurig Vue machine last month, designed to brew stronger, larger and hotter beverages. A commercial model for the office coffee service market will debut this fall. | SEE STORY

Starbucks already makes single-serve K-Cups for Green Mountain's original Keurig brewers. The expanded alliance between the Seattle coffee giant and the Waterbury, VT, roaster comes on the heels of news that Starbucks will launch its own single -up coffee machine called Verismo this fall. | SEE STORY

Investors had speculated that competition between the two systems might put an end to Starbucks coffee in Keurig brewers. But Starbucks has ruled out a conflict by positioning its new machine as a different brewing platform, since the Verismo machine employs a high-pressure process while Keurig works on low pressure.

"We believe the customization 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," said Lawrence J. Blanford, Green Mountain president and chief executive.

Starbucks president of channel development Jeff Hansberry identified premium single cup as the fastest-growing segment of global coffee. "The expansion of our relationship with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters allows us to grow further, faster, in the single cup category," he said.

The companies plan to distribute Starbucks Vue packs in the fall, initially in specialty, department and mass retailing stores in the U.S., as well as on Green Mountain's consumer websites.

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