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Milwaukee’s Alterra Coffee Separates from Mars Inc. with Colectivo Name Change

Alterra Coffee changes name to Colectivo

Colectivo Coffee

Milwaukee’s Alterra Coffee is redefining its brand, beginning with a name change to Colectivo, a reference to buses found throughout Latin America.

The change comes after three years of brand identity issues surrounding Alterra’s relationship with the global food conglomerate Mars Inc., which purchased the Alterra name and some distribution rights in 2010. It’s also worth noting that Alterra is also the name of a capital investment firm that was acquired by Markel Corporation, a Virginia-based insurance holdings corporation, earlier this year.

The 19-year-old Milwaukee roastery and retail company remained locally owned and operated after the Mars deal, as it is now. But the deal allowed Alterra to greatly expand its presence in the Milwaukee area, and it opened its first Madison, Wisc., coffee shop earlier this year. 

In a company announcement of the new branding, Alterra’s ownership credited the Mars deal with facilitating growth, but said simply, “we decided it was time for us to move on.”

Here is the full announcement:

We want to share some big news with you – we are changing our name to COLECTIVO (co-lec-TEE-vo) COFFEE! Our company is the same; all your favorite people are still here ready to serve you. Our bakery still makes those amazing goodies you crave, and our roasting crew still finds and creates the coffee we’ve become famous for. In reality nothing has changed except the name we call ourselves.

Why are we changing our name? Great question. We were and are committed to growing our organization and creating opportunity for all of us. Making that happen takes resources. In 2010 we were presented with a great opportunity to strengthen our company and ensure we could grow and develop as we wanted, even during a period of economic uncertainty.  We agreed to sell our name – not the company – to the Mars Corporation, retaining full control of our business. After three years of this relationship, we decided it was time for us to move on…thus the name change.

Alterra is a great name, and it is freighted with all the good stuff our organization has done and created over the past 20 years…but it is only a name (great as it is). The heart and soul of our company – the culture and the quality – remain. At the end of the day, our people are what make us great, and all of us are still here.

We value serving all of you and we thank you for all your support over the past 20 years. We hope we’ve earned your faith, and we ask you to extend a bit of that faith and trust us when we say we’re on the right track. Remember, the only thing that has changed is our name! We (Lincoln, Paul, and Ward) remain sole owners of our company and along with the rest of our co-workers are excited for this next chapter!

Hopefully, COLECTIVO will earn a place in your heart next to the name Alterra. We promise we’ll work our hardest to make that happen! Please feel free to reach out and ask us a question at [email protected]