Full of Beans

Three deals announced in the space of one week last month provide a handy illustration of the ways coffee-related brands have become active players in all types of licensing and collaboration:

  • Brand extension. Costa Coffee, the U.K.-headquartered chain, became the latest example of coffee and coffee shop brands entering adjacent categories, especially ready-to-drink coffees. In this case, Costa’s partner was its new owner, Coca-Cola. The product will roll out in the U.K., Poland, and China in three flavors. Costa has more than 2,600 coffee shops and 8,000 self-serve machines in the U.K. and 1,300 shops in 32 other countries.
  • Outbound collaboration. Café du Monde, a landmark New Orleans coffee stand, took its name into the world of limited-edition sneakers through a collaboration with Sneaker Politics, a local shoe boutique in the same city, and shoe maker Saucony. The design was inspired by the café’s famous beignets, featuring a three-toned brown coloring with white flecks to reflect the look of powdered sugar. The shoes also featured green and white stripes inspired by the shop’s awning. Sold at Shoe Politics, the limited edition consisted of 157 pairs, one for each year Café du Monde has been in business. There are eight Café du Monde shops in the New Orleans area.
  • Inbound licensing and collaboration. Stumptown Coffee Roasters partnered with musician Iggy Pop, a well-known coffee drinker, for a signature coffee, with some of the proceeds going to the Girls Rock Camp Alliance. A drawing by the punk rocker appears on the black bag in which the coffee is packaged. The novelty brew is available online and in coffee shops and cafés.

About 75% of Americans consume brewed coffee at least sometimes, according to Mintel, and most segments of the coffee industry, from cafés and cold brew to ready-to-drink cans and specialty-roast beans, remain on a growth trajectory. So it makes sense that coffee-related brands would want to capitalize on opportunities such as these for collaboration and brand extension, and that brands outside the coffee industry would want to find ways to latch onto a trend that shows no sign of diminishing.

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