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Coffee Company Sale Brewed, Not Instant

Media Release for immediate use 1 November 2007

Coffee Company Sale Brewed, Not Instant

Just like good coffee, sometimes a deal takes a little time to brew.

In the case of the recent sale of Dunedin-based Stewart’s Coffee, Simes business broker Alan Dalton worked for a few months on getting the blend right.

“The Stewart’s Coffee business was not on the market,” he explains, “but was identified by a client as one to be approached and explored. It was never advertised, all the work was done behind the scenes and the company now has new owners. A group of Christchurch-based investors, Coffee Distributors Ltd, has plans to expand the coffee and tea side of the business, as well as the finely granulated milk product which gives this coffee its edge in vending machines.”

When Stewart’s Coffee House was founded in Dunedin more than 50 years ago, it was not only Dunedin’s first coffee house, but the only one in New Zealand to roast its own beans on the premises.

These days Stewart’s Coffee Supplies Limited is the wholesaler of a variety of related products. It operates from a factory in Dunedin, where imported loose-leaf tea is also packaged and prepared for distribution. The company also produces hot chocolate mix and chocolate-covered coffee beans, all for supply to a number of restaurants and supermarkets, as well as vending machines.

Another product in the mix is Westpro 7300 Granulated Milk, a product developed by Stewart’s about three years ago in conjunction with the Westland Dairy Company. The product for vending machines is 98% pure milk powder, as opposed to dairy whitener powder.

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“I’ve learnt a lot about coffee, tea and milk over the months I’ve worked on this sale,” says Alan Dalton.

“Stewart’s led the way in coffee in this country and along the way taught people about its products. By reading some of the company’s newsletters, I learned about the company, how to make coffee properly and the history of how coffee beans came to be roasted. I also learned coffee is now the second largest product in dollar terms in world trade.”

The company’s newly appointed National General Manager, Amanda Stick, says the new owners have big plans for the company and have committed to staying New Zealand owned and focused.

“I can’t share the plans yet,” she says, “but they are exciting and I am thrilled with the challenges ahead. We are working on plans to develop our products further, while retaining the rich heritage and reputation they have.”


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