Late last week Westrock Coffee entered into an agreement to purchase North Carolina-based S&D Coffee & Tea from Cott Corporation. The transaction is expected to close within the next several weeks and will create the leading integrated coffee company serving the needs of the retail, restaurant, convenience store, and hospitality industries. 

“This strategic combination will create the nation’s premier coffee, tea, and extract supplier that is capable of serving the most complex and demanding customers across the country and around the world. We intend to use the scale of the new company to offer the most innovative beverage solutions with competitive pricing to our global clients while simultaneously providing a premium price to our farmer partners at origin. Our unmatched commitment to customer service, product quality, and our industry-leading sustainability and transparent sourcing practices will remain a cornerstone of our business,” said Scott Ford, Westrock Coffee Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. “Our combined organization will seek to lead the industry with our sustainability program and to accelerate the development of a broadening array of innovative products.”

The companies will continue to serve customers under their respective brand names for the foreseeable future. Westrock Coffee will remain headquartered in Arkansas, with its recently enlarged roasting and packaging plant in North Little Rock already earmarked for further expansion. Likewise, the S&D organization in Concord, NC will continue as a major center of operations with plans to continue expansion of these facilities.

The new company will employ approximately 1,700 people globally and can roast, grind, and package more than 220 million pounds of coffee annually. The company will also continue to be one of the largest tea suppliers in the US and the leading premium extract supplier to global foodservice and consumer product companies.

Ford added, “We are very pleased that following the closing of the transaction, S&D President and CEO Ron Hinson will remain as an advisor to the new, combined organization as Chairman Emeritus. We value Ron’s extensive industry knowledge and deep relationships amassed over his 41 years at S&D. We admire how S&D has grown and evolved during his tenure as President and CEO.”

“Participating in S&D’s growth and success during the past four decades has been incredible. We achieved industry leadership by innovating to serve our customers. We invested in job and career growth for employees and our community, and I look forward to working with Scott and the newly combined leadership team to see these achievements go even further. The highly complementary product and customer focus S&D brings to Westrock Coffee makes this a terrific event for our business, our employees, and especially our customers,” Hinson said.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.