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La Colombe Coffee Roasters Deepens Relationship With Whole Foods

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La Colombe, a specialty coffee roaster, is expanding its presence with Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market that launches the brand into the national spotlight. 

La Colombe will provide the coffee and training for cafés in several Whole Foods Market regions, including Rocky Mountain and North Atlantic. Additionally, two “Friends of Whole Foods Market” locations, which are owned and operated by La Colombe, will open within two Whole Foods Market flagship locations this year – one on North Lamar Boulevard in Austin, Texas and another in the Bowery neighborhood of New York City.

This comes on the heels of securing national distribution of roasted coffee in all Whole Foods Market locations across the country.

“The La Colombe and Whole Foods Market relationship goes back more than 20 years when the retailer carried us as a local coffee roaster in the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Chuck Chupein, president of La Colombe. “In more recent years, they were a true early adopter to our Draft Latte product, and we are now the No. 1 ready-to-drink brand in the set. We could not be more excited to expand our relationship.”

This fall, La Colombe will open its first “Friends of Whole Foods Market” café, which will be located in the Whole Foods Market North Lamar Boulevard store in Austin, Texas, making it La Colombe’s first Texas location. Following the opening of the Austin location, La Colombe will expand its New York City footprint with a “Friends of Whole Foods Market” café and roastery in the Bowery neighborhood. This will be La Colombe’s ninth New York City location, and first New York City roastery.

“Friends of Whole Foods Market” is an opportunity for innovative businesses and entrepreneurs to establish independent retail spaces inside its stores.

“We are thrilled to continue growing our relationship with La Colombe and proud to offer this high-quality coffee to our customers,” said Jeff Turnas, SVP of global culinary procurement and operations at Whole Foods Market. “From an assortment of ready-to-drink coffees to the service of Friends of Whole Foods Market cafés, to collaborating on a roast offering together, we feel confident that our customers will find their favorite La Colombe offering at our stores.”  

Earlier this year, La Colombe opened three cafés in collaboration with Whole Foods Market in the Rocky Mountain region. And in August, they opened two cafes in the Boston metropolitan area. These locations are the brand’s hospitality accounts and are owned and operated by the Whole Foods Market team but fully serviced by La Colombe.

This October, La Colombe begins the national rollout of five roasted products and two seasonal roasts, including Corsica, Nizza, Monaco, Afrique and Lyon.

The total ready-to-drink coffee category is $2.2 billion in annual sales and is growing at an average rate of 25 percent across all channels. In the grocery channel, La Colombe’s ready-to-drink beverages are one of the category growth leaders at +74 percent. Since the inception of the Draft Latte in 2017, Draft Latte has gained more than 87,000 points of distribution nationwide and has achieved more than 67 percent ACV. 

La Colombe is a leading coffee roaster known for ethical, long-term trade practices with growers. Considered one of the pioneers of the third wave of coffee, it provides signature classic blends and exceptional single-origin coffees to cafés, hotels, restaurants and retailers around the world. In addition, the company owns and operates 30 cafés in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. – with additional locations and new markets scheduled to open in 2021-22.

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