Peet’s Coffee and Tea on Friday announced that it has acquired a majority stake in Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee.
It’s a move Intelligentsia founder Doug Zell called “interesting and rewarding.”
The coffee roaster, which started in October of 1995 and made a name for itself as a small, independent coffee company, currently has locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, but according to Peet's, that won't change with the acquisition.
Intelligentsia’s co-founders and the company’s co-owner said they will still have a significant stake in the company and Intelligentsia will “continue to operate independently."
“Peet's recognizes that we are special and wants to provide a canvas that will allow more of the world to see the picture we are painting,” Doug Zell, founder of Intelligentsia, wrote in a letter Friday. “Perhaps a good analogy is we've been showing our artwork at a local gallery and now have an opportunity for a spot at the Louvre.”
Peet's said everything from the farmers Intelligentsia uses to the process it uses to acquire its coffee will remain the same, but the company will have "full access to Peet's resources and scale."
The announcement comes just weeks after Peet’s Coffee & Tea acquired ownership of Portland’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
“As the super-premium coffee category further explodes and fragments due to more consumers (18-34 year olds) demanding variety and highly specialized coffee experiences, it’s important that we offer differentiated craft coffee brands with unique propositions and appeal,” Dave Burwick, CEO of Peet’s Coffee, said in a statement. “With the recent addition of both Intelligentsia and Stumptown, together with Peet’s, we are building a craft powerhouse of highly complementary brands and businesses that satisfy the desires of the new coffee connoisseur as well as traditional craft coffee consumers."
In 2013, Caribou Coffee closed 18 Chicago locations, converting several stores to Peet’s Coffee & Tea shops.