Caribou Coffee brews new summer beverages

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Caribou Coffee rolled out a new summertime beverage program Monday as the first of several initiatives to brew incremental sales in the hottest months of the year.

Six new drinks include “sparkling” carbonated teas and juices, and Caribou Coffee also introduced a 64-ounce growler, or jug, for customers to carry large batches of tea and juice back home or to group outings. The beverages are Green Tea Lemonade, Peach Black Tea, Lemon Ginger Pomegranate Juice, Berry Black Tea, Mint Lime White Tea and Very Berry Juice.

“For us, coffee consumption is steady throughout the year, but the summer months bring a different need-state of refreshment,” said Alfredo Martel, the brand’s senior vice president of marketing and product management. “We’re trying to create a second stop during the weekdays and on weekends for our coffee customers.”

Berry Black Tea, Mint Lime White Tea and Very Berry Juice are limited-time offers available through the summer, but the Green Tea Lemonade, Peach Black Tea and Lemon Ginger Pomegranate Juice are permanent menu additions, as is the growler.

Martel said Caribou Coffee’s food platform, which includes breakfast sandwiches and toasted sandwiches at lunch and has contributed to the brand’s recent same-store sales growth, would have new product news during the summer as well.

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This summer, the chain will promote four new muffins, banana bread and pumpkin bread, scones and a new brownie offering. Updates to the breakfast and lunch sandwich line are coming in late summer or early fall, Martel said, but he could not disclose details.

“We’ve tried to balance our products so that there’s something new and exciting in every category,” he said. “For the balance of the year, we’ll be aggressive in product innovation. It’s part of creating a snacking afternoon daypart to balance out the steady traffic in the morning.”

He added that Caribou Coffee is always exploring possible applications for its tea and juice lineup in consumer packaged-good formats, such as the brand’s successful line of bagged coffee or single-serving K-Cups for the Keurig home-brewing market. The next big opportunity in CPG for Caribou Coffee, however, would be the new Keurig Vue system starting to roll out in the marketplace.

“The interesting opportunity that the Vue provides is brewing coffee products with dairy,” Martel said. “We have signature drinks like the Turtle Mocha that could be adapted to that format. Just like with the introduction of sparkling teas and juices, for us, it’s about as many products in as many formats as possible.”

Minneapolis-based Caribou Coffee operates 412 coffeehouses and franchises another 169 locations in 20 states, the District of Columbia and nine international markets.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN