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Stumptown Coffee Roasters, created in 1999, has grown into one of the key boutique coffee roasters in the US. In 2015, it was acquired by the parent of Peet’s Coffee, indicating the mainstream interest in craft coffee.
The US coffee market, since the late 1990s, has been characterized by a so-called "third wave," built around a generation of roasters committed to quality through sourcing specialized beans, direct relationships with growers, and beverage preparation.
- Stumptown’s growth has aligned with the emergence of Millennials as a force and the related concept of "hipsters" - whereby connoisseurship is part of a social dialogue in terms of how consumers see themselves and like to be seen by others, and quirky, non-mainstream choices are part of that dialogue.
- An aspect of Stumptown’s credible connoisseurship and quality guarantee has been its Direct Trade program. It establishes relationships with individual coffee farmers to bring very specific products to its consumers.
- Stumptown serves as an example of the crossover of craft into the mainstream through the brand’s national growth, product diversification into cold brews, and ultimately the consolidation that its acquisition represents.
- The acquisition of Stumptown by a mainstream player could be perceived as evidence of the end of the third wave, as the trend for consolidation that ended previous waves begins again, this time subsuming the early 21st century’s artisanal roasters.
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