- Starbucks' cold brew coffee line will debut on U.S. grocery and c-store shelves in July.
- Starbucks has teamed up with PepsiCo for the launch, which also handles Starbucks' assorted retail-facing bottled iced coffees, espresso beverages, and frappuccinos sold outside of its restaurant network. PepsiCo and Starbucks share a 50/50 joint venture for these products to the tune of $1.5 billion.
- Cold brew coffee has become more popular in grocery stores as consumers look for cold and convenient beverages to take on the go, particularly in the summer months. Estimated category sales growth was 339% from 2010 to 2015, including 115% from 2014 to 2015, according to Mintel.
Starbucks has been aggressively expanding into grocery stores in recent years. In addition to its joint venture with PepsiCo, Starbucks recently announced a partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev, which will manufacture and distribute Starbucks' RTD Teavana line in the U.S.
Restaurants' expansion into packaged foods and beverages could threaten manufacturers. But it also presents an opportunity for partnerships and additional revenue streams, as these restaurants are usually not equipped to manufacture and distribute the products themselves.
Starbucks helped to popularize the cold brew trend within its own stores, so the step into cold brew retail was a natural progression. But this presents steep competition to other cold brew manufacturers that now have to compete with the brand that brought cold brew coffee to a mainstream audience.
In April, Dr Pepper Snapple announced a distribution partnership with RTD cold brew coffee maker High Brew Coffee, which signals soda companies' interest in capitalizing on the cold brew category's growth. Following PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple, Coca-Cola's Venturing and Emerging Brands segment could be next.