According to the National Coffee Association, about 83% of U.S. adults drink coffee in one form or another. (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/04/09/coffee-mania/2069335/) In addition, the United States is the global leader of coffee consumption. In recent years, U.S. coffee consumers have changed the way they brew their coffee. Single-serving coffee brewers are the second most popular in brewing method after standard drip coffee makers, with 29% of American coffee drinkers using them to make their cup-of-joe. The market leader of the single-serve coffee brewers is the Keurig- who’s parent company is now Keurig Green Mountain, a longtime producer of quality coffee. The Keurig brewing system was the brain child of two Colby College roommates, John Sylvan and Peter Dragone. In 1992, their goal was to develop a new kind of coffee maker that would revolutionize the way America started its morning. They named their invention “Keurig,” a word meaning excellence that Sylvan pulled from a Danish-English dictionary. The two engineers worked tirelessly for half a decade to create a device that could make traditional coffee pots obsolete.
Sylvan’s dream machine would brew single cups using sealed capsules (now known as K-cups) of ground coffee. In 1997, after developing the original prototypes for the Keurig, brewer and the K-cup, John sylvan was forced out by investors who wanted a say in the company’s direction. Sylvan received just over $ 50,000 dollars for his many years of research and development, and left with no stake in the company. Peter Dragone left Keurig a few months later on better terms and kept his investment in the company. The new investor’s money kept the dream alive by funding outside companies to build better brewers and create a K-cup manufacturing line.
Initially, Keurig made only commercial grade brewers exclusively for office use. Their popularity among office staffers grew and by 2002 Keurig had sold 10,000 commercial brewers. Investors and Keurig executives were eager to get the Keurig brewer inside the American home where nearly 75% of coffee is consumed. It took Keurig two years to create a home model for retail stores and find a manufacturer that could produce it for less than $150.00 dollars. By 2004, several larger, more established companies had developed their own single-serve brewers, spending millions of dollars to advertise their new products. Then, Keurig put their money where their mouth was by taking the Keurig into high end department stores and having sales reps do live demonstrations while providing samples for customers to sip on while they shopped. Despite the higher price tag, Keurig emerged as the clear winner of the brew ha-ha Holiday season of
2004 and found its place, setting on the granite counter tops of high end homes.
A decade later, the Keurig brewer is still number one among single-serve coffee brewers. However, the real bread and butter of the recently renamed Keurig Green Mountain Inc., a leader in specialty coffee is the K-cup. Originally invented and designed by Dragone and Sylvan, each K-cup is a plastic container with a coffee filter inside. Ground coffee beans are packed in the K-cup and sealed air-tight with a combination plastic and foil lid which fits in the chamber of the Keurig coffee brewer. Keurig licenses its K-cup technology to a variety of coffee roasters and tea makers. The original patent for Keurig’s K-cup expired in 2012 which has and will continue to allow other companies to develop and market copy cats of the K-cup. However, Keurig currently offers more than 50 brands and 290 beverage varieties and in 2013, 90% (3.1 billion dollars) of its total sales came from K-cup portion packs. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqA8_7ZOu-8&index=93&list=UUCg-1Bjx2sx5Uvcqrb5q3Fw Keurig TV advertisement) Keurig Green Mountain has used several advertising venues to market the Keurig single