Peet's Acquires Mighty Leaf Tea

Brands will continue to operate independently

Might Leaf Tea Peet's Coffee (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Foodservice)

EMERYVILLE & SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc., a leading specialty coffee and tea company, said that it has acquired Mighty Leaf Tea in partnership with Next World Group, a private investment firm, giving Peet's a greater presence in the high-growth premium tea industry.

Mighty Leaf Tea, co-founded in 1996 by Gary Shinner and Jill Portman, is a specialty tea brand known for its artisan teas and creative blends as well as its signature, handcrafted compostable mesh tea pouch. It distributes its brand primarily through specialty retailers, foodservice distributors and hospitality providers across North America and globally. Its proprietary handcrafted manufacturing process and its distinctive packaging combine to make it a key premium brand with a strong affinity among loyal consumers, the company said.

San Rafael, Calif.-based Mighty Leaf Tea will continue to operate independently and will have full access to Peet's resources, capabilities and scale. In addition, Peet's will continue to produce and market its own signature tea brand across its foodservice and retail channels.

Next World Group, which will hold a minority stake in the partnership, has a track record in growing mid-sized consumer specialty food and beverage companies, and will help Peet's accelerate its tea business.

"We're excited to add Mighty Leaf Tea to the Peet's family as we're both Bay Area companies with core values built on the highest standards of quality and deep commitment to craft--it's a natural, complementary fit," said Dave Burwick, president and CEO of Peet's Coffee & Tea, Emeryville, Calif. "Mighty Leaf is a fantastic premium brand, known for its artisan teas and signature hand-designed mesh tea pouch; their addition to our existing tea business enables us to further strengthen and accelerate our growth in this market."

"This is an important step in Mighty Leaf Tea's journey, and we're excited to take our brand to the next level with Peet's Coffee & Tea," said Gary Shinner, co-founder of Mighty Leaf Tea. "This is a win for both Mighty Leaf and Peet's as we both share a dedication to premium quality and craft mastery that will become even stronger together."

Peet's began its biggest U.S. retail coffee shop expansion ever last year, which will add nearly 60 stores by the end of this year. Peet's said it has already seen "record-breaking" sales with the recent launch of its 20 stores in the greater Washington, D.C., area and will add 20 additional stores across Chicago and southeast Wisconsin later this summer. Also, Peet's recently launched a new, contemporary store design in many of its new and existing U.S. stores, and has dramatically expanded its presence in the single-serve category with Peet's K-Cup packs.