The $70 million deal adds to the $27-plus million funding round closed by the Oakland-based company last year, and the $19 million-plus round closed in 2012. The The company’s retail growth since its initial funding infusion has been deliberate, as it now operates 19 total cafes in the Bay Area, New York and Japan. While opening many of those cafes, the company has also acquired brands including Handsome Coffee Roasters in Los Angeles, Tartine Bakery, subscription service Tonx, and packaged ground coffee specialist Perfect Coffee.
Blue Bottle famously grew out of founder and failed professional clarinetist James Freeman’s garage, and began to gain a following at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, from which it recently bowed out. With some $116 million in capital raised in the past three years, it’s safe to say Blue Bottle has fully made the transition from garage rock to arena rock, despite some folksy marketing. In the Financial Times piece, Blue Bottle Executive Chairman Brian Meehan likens the company to fast food brands like Shake Shack and Chipotle.
For more, read the full Financial Times piece, which includes some illuminating detail on Blue Bottle’s imminent growth, as well as a working definition of what coffee’s “fourth wave” is from Tartine founder Chad Robertson, a baker.