Nestlé Buys Blue Bottle Coffee

Chief executive of Blue Bottle Bryan Meehan added: "My goal as chief executive has been to secure a sustainable future for Blue Bottle Coffee that would enable it to flourish for many years to come".

The Oakland, California-based Blue Bottle has been expanding rapidly in the recent years.

A reputation for high-end coffee and sleek, minimalist interiors have attracted plenty of customers to Blue Bottle Coffee stores in Echo Park, Los Feliz and elsewhere.

Nestle chief executive officer Mark Schneider has singled out coffee as one of the Swiss company's biggest growth opportunities, as he steps up investments in niche brands like prepared food maker Freshly and vegetarian burrito maker Sweet Earth. The growth rate in US coffee consumption was almost 8% during 2015-2016, and the retail value of the USA coffee market was estimated at $48 billion in 2015, with specialty coffee shops making up more than half the value share. It is expected to have 55 stores open by the end of the year, up from 29 at the end of last year, Nestle said Thursday.

The deal represents a move from Nestlé into the ultra-premium side of the coffee business, with consumers paying extra for beans from specific locales brewed in specific ways.

Blue Bottle Coffee has obtained an iconic status in the independent coffee world.

"This move underlines Nestle's focus on investing in high-growth categories and acting on consumer trends", Schneider said in the statement. Blue Bottle has raised about $120 million over three rounds of funding.

"I'm excited to work with Nestlé to take a long-term approach to becoming a global leader in specialty coffee", Meehan added.

So, is Blue Bottle going to go the way of Starbucks?

Vanessa Coleman