While the deal may not rankle quality coffee purists in quite the same way as Nestlé’s acquisition of Blue Bottle, or as the JAB family’s acquisition of Intelligentsia and Stumptown, it is yet another example of large multinationals dipping into the specialty coffee category. The acquisition was finalized two days ago, and Ethical Bean stands in sharp contrast to Kraft Heinz’s other coffee brands, Maxwell House and Gevalia, in terms of sourcing and audience.
Certified as one of Canada’s first B Corps in 2010, Ethical Bean has a long public history of positive environmental, economic and social stewardship, both in-house and throughout its supply chain. The company was launched in 2003 after founders Lloyd Bernhardt and Kim Schachte visited coffee farmers in Guatemala while on a trip to adopt their daughter, learning about the working and economic conditions of coffee farmers.
The company now roasts exclusively Fairtrade- and Organic-certified coffees that pass through a Loring S70 Peregrine roaster at its LEED Gold-certified Vancouver roastery. While the core business has remained roasting for grocery distribution and wholesale, the company also operates a lone Vancouver cafe that also extends progressive environmental practices.
“We are proud of what Ethical Bean has been able to accomplish over the past 15 years, building a brand with a solid reputation across North America for great tasting coffee, that is sustainably sourced,” Bernhardt said in an announcement regarding the completed acquisition. “With Kraft Heinz’s expertise and scale, we’re confident that Ethical Bean Coffee will continue to deliver on that reputation to a much wider audience.”