Nestlé, the Swiss go-to for lovers of chocolate and condensed milk, is now getting itself into the high-end coffee business. The Oakland, California-based coffee company, Blue Bottle, has reached an agreement with Nestlé, selling them a majority share (68 percent), according to a press release provided to Extra Crispy. The company is presently worth more than $700 million, according to the Financial Times. Blue Bottle has been called “the next Starbucks,” by the Atlantic, and sells its pricey grounds and drinks both in its own shops, in grocery stores around the country, as well as online. Under Nestlé’s ownership, the company wants to expand overseas.
Blue Bottle is very popular among hipsters with cash to spare on $10 bags of coffee, but has been received critically by locals in the places where it has opened up shop. Based in the Bay Area, where housing costs have gone sky-high as Silicon Valley grows, the coffee company has become a symbol of gentrifying neighborhoods around the country. A 26-year-old San Franciscan told the Bold Italic that Blue Bottle is one of the places “gentrifiers hang out,” because they can afford the expensive brew. Blue Bottle was also singled out in the Washington D.C.’s gentrification. A 2016 op-in the Washington Post noted that many locals simply can’t afford to drink coffee at the prices Blue Bottle charges.
The company also has a foundation, Blue Bottle Coffee Foundation, the press release notes. When Blue Bottle opened its Georgetown location in the District, the proceeds of the cafe’s opening day were donated to the National Resources Defense Council, a not-for-profit environmental defense organization.
According to Blue Bottle’s press release, the company will have expanded by 25 coffee shops by the end of 2017, a growth rate of 70 percent. The company plans to expand internationally under Nestlé, intending to open shops and begin distributing their coffee products abroad. Started as a hobby for the company’s founder, Blue Bottle now seems destined for global growth.