Starbucks Corp. ends status as exclusive premium brand for Keurig

Keurig Green Mountain Inc. has struck a series of deals that will increase the kinds of company-approved coffee and tea that K-cup loving customers can buy.

In one such deal, Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks Corp. said Friday that it had agreed to end its status as the exclusive super-premium coffee brand for Keurig Green Mountain Inc.

Starbucks said in a statement that the deal was made in exchange for Keurig expanding its range of Starbucks products.

Friday's announcement indicates a bit of a course change for the companies.

Just last May, Starbucks and Keurig Green Mountain announced the extension of a five-year deal to make and sell the popular single-serve beverage pods under the coffeehouse chain's Starbucks and Tazo brands for use in Keurig Green Mountain's brewing systems.

It was a deal that supposedly reinforced Starbucks' position as the exclusive premium coffee brand for Keurig's K-Cups.

Company officials said brand ties remain strong.

Mark Wood, senior vice president, global hot systems for Keurig, said, “This amended agreement creates more favorable business terms for both companies and allows us to build upon our strong relationship.”

Also on Friday, Keurig Green Mountain said it had signed a separate manufacturing and distribution deal with Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. to provide Peet's brand packs for the Keurig.

Techdirt recently reported that Keurig might have other plans in mind to squeeze out competition.

Techdirt said a lawsuit filed by TreeHouse Foods says Keurig is now developing a new version of their coffee maker that will incorporate technology that will brew only Keurig-licensed pods.


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