Kauai Coffee Co. Sold – Partners Again With Hills Bros.

Kauai Coffee will no longer be under local ownership. If you’ve been on the plantation before, do you think it’s a good move or a bad one?

Alexander & Baldwin (“A&B”) recently announced that our neighbor, Kauai Coffee Company Inc.,  has sold its coffee operations to global coffee giant Massimo Zanetti (“MZ”).

In the deal, the land continues to be owned by Alexander & Baldwin. Massimo Zanetti will operate the coffee plantation and processing as well as market, sell, and distribute Kauai Coffee globally.

Employees of Kauai Coffee will become employees of MZ.

We are extremely pleased to team up with one of the world’s leading marketers of coffee. — Chris Benjamin, A&B

Reading between the lines, I have to wonder if management positions currently at Kauai Coffee will be reduced once control is shifted to MZ. We’ll have to wait and see.

Massimo Zanetti Global Reach

MZ obviously has a vast knowledge of coffee marketing, which should yield far greater opportunities for the Kauai Coffee brand. MZ is the world’s largest privately owned coffee group comprised of 40 companies operating in over 35 countries. In Addition to Kauai Coffee, their brands include Hills Bros, MJB, Chock-Full-Of-Nuts, Chase & Sanborn and others.

Previous Relationship with Hills Bros

From 1987 to 1992, Kauai Coffee was a joint venture of A&B’s McBryde and Hills Bros. Then in 1992, after Hurricane Iniki inflicted an $8.5 million loss, Hills Brothers withdrew from the partnership. The Hills Bros brand has changed owners several times, and itself became part of MZ in 2005.

More on Kauai Coffee Company

When I drink Kauai Coffee, I normally opt for their Peaberry beans. Personally, however, I’m more a fan of Coffees of Hawaii of Molokai in terms of taste. The news about this ownership shift creates mixed feelings. I liked knowing that Kauai Coffee was under local ownership and not part of a major chain.

We’ve previously written about Kauai Coffee company.


Jeff roasts Kauai Coffee beans by hand, starting with green beans at left and near completion at right. But that’s another story.


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2 thoughts on “Kauai Coffee Co. Sold – Partners Again With Hills Bros.”

  1. I have had trouble finding it on The Big Island. This year I found actual pounds! However the PO lost the package and my brother didn’t get it. He likes it and maybe this change will have wider distribution of the product. I do hate to see small operators gobbled by the agrabiz machine, though.

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