La Colombe Finally Gets the 1 Billion Dollar Valuation
"Keurig Dr Pepper will make a cash investment in La Colombe of $300 million, in exchange for a 33% ownership stake in the company, making KDP the second largest investor in La Colombe behind its majority owner and Chairman, Hamdi Ulukaya (of Chobani fame). La Colombe plans to use the proceeds to accelerate growth and pay off debt. KDP's investment in La Colombe represents a multiple of approximately 3.0X estimated 2024 consolidated net sales.
"We are excited to partner with Hamdi and the La Colombe team to drive value for both companies," stated KDP Chairman and CEO Bob Gamgort. "This partnership will enable KDP to expand its reach into high growth ready-to-drink and super premium coffee segments and will meaningfully increase La Colombe's availability to consumers."(Cision, PR News Wire)
This means that La Colombe Coffee Roasters has officially been valued at one billion dollars. This is a number they have been asking for and pushing to achieve since 2018, according to Philadelphia Business Journal, and have not been able to attain it until now. In 2015 Hamdi became the majority stake owner at a lower valuation of $66.5 million (according to Spudge.com) with an investment 28.5 million.
La Colombe was a significant part of my career, and I value the time I spent working and learning with them. Todd Carmichael is a larger-than-life leader balanced by his mellow and charismatic partner, JP Iberti. Learning to roast with JP was a great joy and enlightening experience. My first batch with him was on a vintage Vittoria roaster from Bologna. Without the advantage of multiple bean probes and graphic readouts, I learned the more intuitive form of sight, sound and smell. JP is a true artisan with a traditional background in the Italian style of coffee roasting.
One of the less written-about heroes of La Colombe is the former VP of Sales and Managing Partner, Nicolas O'Connell, who provided tremendous value to the company
as the majority of their revenues were in wholesale. I worked closely with Nico throughout my time there, and we continue to collaborate today. Nico was the one that brought La Colombe to New York and eventually across the country. His drive and vision brought the Philadel
phia roaster from a local favorite to a respected national brand. Then, of course, Todd took them into the next stratosphere with celebrity collaborations from Leonardo DiCaprio and the success of his show, On Dangerous Grounds.
I was there at the break of the 3rd Wave in New York City when the company only had three coffee shops, and we were just starting to experiment with single-origin coffees and the first hand bottled cold brews. It was an exciting time and an incredible experience. Stumptown was sold to TGS for under twenty million in 2011. TGS had also made an offer to La Colombe for less, which deeply bothered Carmichael, as read in his announcement of the news in Esquire Magazine. The fact that La Colombe Coffee Roasters achieved a billion-dollar valuation just over ten years later is amazing. I feel great pride for all the people I worked with and contributed to that success.
Written by Jake Leonti, F+B Therapy
Mr. Leonti has worked in coffee for over twenty years with disciplines at every link of the value chain from barista to roasting, green grading and importing. Jake is the current Editor-in-Chief of Coffee Talk Magazine, columnist at Santé Magazine, member of the Roasters Guild and host of the Food and Beverage Therapy podcast