WATERBURY, Vt. -- Keurig introduced its Kold soda brewer in September with much fanfare, promising to "revolutionize" the carbonated-soft-drink business. But Kold stayed cold, and now it has been shelved.
Parent company Keurig Green Mountain announced June 7 it would pull the plug on its countertop soda machine, citing low sales--only a "few thousand" sold, according to a WallStreetJournal report--a failed store rollout and a price ($370) that left consumers and investors unimpressed.
"While it delivered a great-tasting cold beverage, the initial execution didn't fully deliver on consumer expectations," a spokesperson said. “After careful review and consideration ... we are discontinuing the first generation of Keurig Kold ... and we are offering consumers a refund for the full purchase price of their Kold drinkmakers.”
The failure comes after Keurig collected an enviable number of major beverage brands--Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Dr Pepper, Canada Dry, Sprite--and its CEO made grandiose statements that at face value could lead you to believe the entire packaged-beverage industry was in danger.
“We expect homes to become exciting beverage centers where consumers can experience a number of beverages they otherwise wouldn’t get to try without the new home systems,” CEO Brian Kelley said in May 2015. “We don’t see a beverage category that will not be impacted."
Kelley said Kold would “revolutionize cold beverages in the home just as our hot platform is revolutionizing the coffee and tea categories.”
In fact, Fortune magazine took the Kold stoppage as an opportunity to ponder whether the made-at-home-soda boom was fading.
"The do-it-yourself soda-making business was a fad that appears to have waned in recent years," the magazine wrote. "The most well-known rival to Keurig in the space is Sodastream, which has faced challenges of late. The problem? There are only so many consumers that are interested in making their own cold beverages with an at-home device.
"And with soda sales falling broadly as consumers look for healthier beverage options, it can be a hard sell to convince shoppers to buy devices that are marketed around handcrafted sodas."
Convenience-store retailers can consider this a small win for the cold vault. But expect more attacks to come.