Massimo Zanetti, the Italian-based mega coffee roasting company best known in the USA for brands including Chock Full ‘O Nuts, Hills Brothers, Chase and Sanborn, MJB and Segafredo Zanetti today announced the acquisition of the Kauai Coffee Company from Alexander & Baldwin. Kauai Coffee is America’s largest coffee grower (duh for those of you in the industry) and accounts for approximately half of the State of Hawaii’s coffee growing acreage, but boasts a higher rate of productivity due to its (practically) total mechanization.
Some may think that my immediate reaction to this news would be negative and expect a scathing review of the new parent company and its products — the ‘haters’ will be sadly disappointed. I’m actually quite pleased to see the acquisition of one of America’s large commercial farming operation by an coffee-focused entity (overseas or otherwise), as this promises new opportunities for the Kauai brand and for all coffee from Hawaii.
After all, Massimo Zanetti is a well-funded operation and (by all accounts) well managed global coffee company that has the potential of not only sustaining operations at the struggling Kauai farm (previously owned by a monopolistic Hawaii real estate and freight company), but also to introduce the coffees of Hawaii to an entirely new and untapped market of European buyers. As a new high-end brand of the new parent, Kauai coffee could go far to introduce Zanetti to a different class of drip-brewed specialty coffee buyer, making the purchase a win-win for all.
…but most important to me, having new European interests in Hawaii help to push my goal of having some (any) nonstop European flight routes. With my business concentrated primarily in Russia, Europe and N. Africa right now, I’m getting really tired of traveling east (despite the nice food court at SFO), adding countless miserable hours to dozens of business trips… so, as a frequently European traveler and dedicated Alfa Romeo owner always in need of parts, how great would it be to take a nonstop polar Honolulu to Milan? Molto bello!
Aloha and grazie to Massimo Zanetti.