Alterra changes name to Colectivo, leaves local coffee enthusiasts [insert coffee-related pun here]
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In a surprise move that has left local coffee enthusiasts foaming at the mouth/doing a spit-take/something-something-latte, Alterra Coffee Roasters announced late Sunday that it is changing its name to Colectivo Coffee. As reported by OnMilwaukee.com and The Business Journal, the name-change bomb was dropped at a mandatory staff meeting and 20th anniversary celebration at the Pabst Theater Sunday night, and was accompanied by a short video narrated by none other than Paul Cebar. According to a subsequent press release, the move is designed to distance the company from Mars Inc., which purchased the Alterra name in 2010 for use in certain coffee products:
Why are we changing our name? Great question. We were and are committed to growing our organization and creating opportunity for all of us. Making that happen takes resources. In 2010 we were presented with a great opportunity to strengthen our company and ensure we could grow and develop as we wanted, even during a period of economic uncertainty. We agreed to sell our name—not the company—to the Mars Corporation, retaining full control of our business. After three years of this relationship, we decided it was time for us to move on…thus the name change.
For now, the company is assuring jittery coffee junkies of Milwaukee that the name change is simply that: a name change. Mars will continue to use the Alterra name, while the newly minted Colectivo (which takes its name from the “funky buses” of Latin America) will remain local. OnMilwaukee.com quotes Alterra co-founder Lincoln Fowler:
“The Alterra brand is going global thanks to Mars Drinks while we chose to stay local,” he said at the employee meeting and reiterated in a statement. “Maintaining full control of our company and employees’ future was a priority in our deal with Mars.
At the start of our relationship (with Mars), we decided to change our name in exchange for the long-term investment opportunity this transaction provided. Mars now solely controls the Alterra Coffee Roasters brand name while we strike a new independent path as Colectivo.”