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Keurig Discontinues Kold Brewer, Offers Refunds

Posted On: 6/8/2016

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TAGS: Keurig Kold discontinued, Keurig Green Mountain, Coke-Keurig partnership, home beverage systems, DIY beverages, office refreshments, Soda Stream International Ltd.

Keurig Kold WATERBURY, VT -- After only 10 months on the market, Keurig Green Mountain said it is discontinuing its Kold system and offering refunds to customers who bought the product. Keurig made the announcement on Monday, June 7.

The company said it will lay off 130 workers, mostly at its Vermont headquarters. A spokesperson said most of affected employees were involved with Kold's manufacturing or support teams, and the workers will receive severance benefits. The official added that Keurig is offering refunds to consumers who purchased the company's cold beverage makers because they won't be able to purchase new pods after current supplies run out.

However, Keurig indicated it might not discard the Kold concept entirely.

"We learned a lot -- including that consumers are willing to embrace the concept of a system that delivers fresh-made, cold beverages in the home -- and we'll build our learnings into future beverage systems," Keurig said in a statement.

Kold's notable feature is its ability to deliver carbonated beverages without a CO2 cartridge. Rather, it uses Karbonator beads, which are contained within the capsule and hold beverage-grade CO2. During the drink-making process, CO2 is released into the beverage to carbonate each drink.

Still, many viewed the Kold machine as overpriced when it hit the market on Sept. 29 with a suggested retail price of $369. And the Kold pods retail for $4.49-$4.99 for a 4-ct. box, which comes out to about $1.25 per drink. By contrast, machines sold by SodaStream International Ltd., Keurig's main cold drink competitor, which came up with the notion of make-it-at-home soda in 1991, are $80 to $200, and its drinks cost 8¢ to 20¢ a serving. Additionally, the Kold machine is larger than the slender SodaStream units -- a problem for customers looking to save counter space.

Keurig's edge in the market was its partnership with Coca-Cola Co., which allowed the Kold program to offer such brands as Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite. When Kold launched last year, Coke called the product a "game changer."

While that did not turn out to be the case, Coca-Cola said in a statement that the Kold partnership gave "valuable insight" into the home brewing market. The beverage giant reportedly plans to continue working with Keurig on cold brewing in the future, though Coke no longer owns a piece of the company. Coke, which had a 17% stake in Keurig Green Mountain, netted $25 million when JAB Holding acquired the company for $13.9 billion in a deal executed earlier this year.