California-based electric coffee roasting machine company Bellwether Coffee has entered the Japanese market while naming Woody Deguchi vice president of international development.
The first Bellwether installation in Japan is now browning beans at a flagship location of the consumer goods retail store Muji (styled by the company as MUJI) at Grand Front Osaka, located next to Osaka Station.
In an announcement from the company today, Woody Deguchi said, “The start of our business with Muji, a global brand known for its commitment to quality, simplicity, and sustainability, is representative of our shared vision for the future of coffee and is the first step in Bellwether’s strategic expansion abroad.”
Bellwether has expanded its footprint in its home country exponentially in the approximately five years since rolling out its core all-electric roasting machine to small-scale roaster clients such as individual coffee shops and multi-retailers. Growth has been boosted by at least two funding rounds that combined totaled some $50 million.
The company, which rolled out the second generation of its core machine last February, continues to offer green coffee sourcing and logistics services tied into its proprietary roasting software, which can automate roasts for repeatability and consistency. On the green coffee side, Bellwether has stated a commitment to providing 100% “living income” pricing through its supply chain by the end of 2024.
Now in Japan, Bellwether intends to highlight its machines at the upcoming Specialty Coffee Association of Japan (SCAJ) conference and expo, taking place later this month in Tokyo.
“Woody’s appointment is a significant milestone for the company, as is this first-of-its-kind business with Muji,” Bellwether Founder and CEO Ricardo Lopez said in an announcement today. “Woody brings a keen strategic vision for collaborating with global companies to drive business and innovate markets. With the new relationship with Muji, Bellwether marks its presence in one of the world’s largest cities, and it signals our commitment to accelerating access to electric roasting to help retailers of all sizes, and in all locations, differentiate while also reducing their carbon footprint.”
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated. The original version incorrectly stated that Woody Deguchi is based in Japan. Deguchi is based in the Bay Area, California.]
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