Oh dear. Keurig Green Mountain, our hometown manufacturer of environmentally wasteful consumer products, is cutting back. About a hundred workers will lose their jobs in Vermont following a decision I’ve been predicting from the very start.
KGM is killing Keurig Kold, its overpriced, slow, inconvenient carbonated-beverage delivery system. The layoffs are directly related to that business decision — although any minute now, I expect a press release from Phil Scott blaming the Shumlin administration. Because that’s Leadership!
Among the Keurig Kold’s many problems:
— an initial list price of nearly $400
— beverage pods that cost a buck twenty-five apiece — and make EIGHT OUNCES of soda.
— Producing an eight-ounce serving takes a minimum of 90 seconds.
— The machine itself is bulky — larger in all dimensions than any Keurig coffeemaker. It weighs 23 pounds. Takes up a lot of counter space.
— The water chamber needs to be pre-chilled to 39 degrees, which takes at least two hours. You’d have to preplan your soda breaks, or burn electricity to keep the thing running all the time.
That didn’t take long. Keurig Green Mountain, the artist formerly known as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, was sold to a private equity firm in late December; now, the company’s CEO has been kicked out of the way.
Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. in Waterbury has hired a new chief executive officer, promoting current CEO Brian Kelley to vice chairman of the board.
That’s a hell of a promotion. Kind of like being promoted from Governor to Lieutenant Governor.
And Kelley’s replacement?
Bob Gamgort, currently CEO of Pinnacle Foods Inc. in Parsippany, New Jersey, will take over leadership of Keurig on May 2. Pinnacle owns a number of well-known brands, including Duncan Hines, Vlasic, Mrs. Butterworth’s and Log Cabin, Armour and Birds Eye.
Keurig Green Mountain, the local startup made good and then assimilated by Coca-Cola, has formally unveiled its new Keurig Kold system online. To me, it still looks like an Edsel in the making. What’s worse, the troubled company is clearly betting the farm on this overpriced gizmo.
The cost alone is a deal-breaker. Add to that the machine’s clunky performance, and you have a product fated for the dustbin of history.
Cost? The list price of a KK is $369 — by far the most expensive of any Keurig device. But that’s just the entry fee. Your $369 buys you the opportunity to make little tiny eight-ounce servings of cold beverages at a per-cup cost of more than a dollar.
And each serving takes more than a minute to produce.
Which begs the question: why in hell would anyone buy this piece of junk?
Been an interesting week for homegrown planet-bespoiler Keurig Green Mountain. First, the maker of costly coffee pods had to do an embarrassing about-face on its decision to DRM-up its new coffee maker. It was a capitalistically noble effort to derail competition for its profitable (and planet-bespoiling) K-cups, but consumers rebelled.
Understandable. It’s kinda like if oil companies made cars, and DRM’d the tank so you could only buy their brand of gas. Consumers would naturally rebel. Or, here’s an even more insane one: it’s as if you could buy a printer dirt cheap, but then had to pay extortionate prices for cartridges.
Anyway, embarrassing walkback for KGM. But help is on the way, in the form of its new cold-beverage system. Er, “kold.”
Keurig Kold, set to launch this fall, was developed in a partnership with Coca-Cola, Keurig’s largest shareholder, and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. Keurig CEO Brian Kelley said the new machine will make a Coke, and other beverages, indistinguishable from the originals.
The magic behind the Keurig Kold: its patented Karbonator system. Ah, the Keurig Kold Karbonator, or “KKK” for short. What could go wrong?