CHS Sells Mountain Mudd Coffee Chain

New owner, Café International, plans domestic, international growth

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, Minn. -- CHS Inc. has sold its coffee kiosk business, Mountain Mudd Espresso.

The Inver Grove Heights, Minn.-based farm and energy cooperative sold the chain of drive-thru coffee kiosks, which it acquired five years ago, to Cafe International, according to a report in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

The Mountain Mudd chain includes 32 locations, mostly in the northwestern United States.

"We got it in 2006, in a joint venture with the two individuals who originally formed the company, and we became sole owners in 2008," CHS spokeswoman Lani Jordan told the newspaper. "As time passed, we decided that Mountain Mudd and coffee kiosks were no longer part of the strategic direction of our energy business."

The terms of the deal was not disclosed. And despite its sale of Mountain Mudd, CHS will still be selling a lot of coffee through its Cenex convenience stores.

Café International LLC is owned by its CFO Betty Hawkins of Boise, Idaho, and industry veteran John Adams, CEO, according to a report in the Big Sky Journal. Adams is also the co-owner of regional premium coffee roaster White Cloud Coffee.

“Acquiring the Mountain Mudd franchising rights and brand represented a great opportunity for our company, Adams said. “We intend to grow the franchise aggressively over the next several years, both domestically and internationally.”

Café International is maintaining the Mountain Mudd headquarters in Billings, Mont., to capitalize on the strength of the existing staff and the operation already in place. Café International has contracts to fulfill at least 117 previously executed franchise agreements in the coming years, with a significant number of those franchises expected to open in the Midwest and Northeast.

Café International also announced that all of the Mountain Mudd stores in Billings and Laurel were acquired by PJP Coffee Enterprises, Inc., a Connecticut-based company.