Logout|My Dashboard
  • Subscribe

MZB finalizes Kaua‘i Coffee acquisition

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 11:45 pm

NIUMILA — Coffee giant Massimo Zanetti Beverage now owns Kaua‘i Coffee Company, the nation’s largest coffee estate. The Italian-based company owns plantations in South and Central America, roasting plants and hundreds of coffee shops all over the world.

MZB CEO Massimo Zanetti came across Kaua‘i Coffee four years ago. On Tuesday, he was back with a contingent of MZB dignitaries, to finalize the Kaua‘i Coffee acquisition from Alexander and Baldwin.

“The announcement today is the culmination of the process jointly announced on Dec. 23,” Kaua‘i Coffee President and General Manager Wayne Katayama said in a press release.

Final terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The event was marked by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. proclaiming the date as Kaua‘i Coffee-Massimo Zanetti Day, and inviting the MZB CEO to join him in song, after learning of Zanetti’s ability to sing.

“Today we celebrate the acquisition of Kaua‘i’s premiere agri-tourism operation, Kaua‘i Coffee, by MZB USA,” Carvalho said in the proclamation. “We look forward with great optimism that Kaua‘i Coffee will continue to flourish on Kaua‘i and make valuable contributions to our community as a model employer, a sustainable agricultural operation and generous supporter of worthy causes under the leadership of Massimo Zanetti. We unite to move forward.”

MZB USA CFO John Boyle highlighted Kaua‘i Coffee employees’ love for coffee.

“The passion people at Kaua‘i Coffee have for the care of the plants, in milling the coffee, and marketing the coffee made this a perfect fit for MZB,” Boyle said. “The soil, weather conditions and cupping experience makes Kaua‘i Coffee like no other, and the estate-grown Kaua‘i Coffee will join other MZB operations in Brazil, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Honduras and Indonesia. We welcome Kaua‘i Coffee into our portfolio of prestigious brands.”

Boyle said MZB now has the capacity to bring to market almost 50 percent of all the high quality 100 percent Arabica Hawaiian-grown coffee in the United States.

“It’s a wonderful new entry point for us into the growing super-premium coffee segment,” Boyle said.

Kaua‘i Coffee is the nation’s largest coffee grower, with more than four million coffee trees grown over 3,100 acres, and employing more than 100 people on Kaua‘i, Carvalho said in the proclamation.

The business is a model of sustainable agriculture on Kaua‘i, utilizing drip irrigation instead of spraying or dusting for fertilization, re-using water from the fields in its processing plant, utilizing 100 percent renewable energy for its operations and providing five percent of the general power supply for the island of Kaua‘i, according to Carvalho.

Kaua‘i Coffee is an active member of the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau, the Kaua‘i Chamber of Commerce, the Hawai‘i Hotel and Lodging Association, the American Culinary Association/Kaua‘i Chapter, and the Kaua‘i Made and Kaua‘i Grown programs, Carvalho said.

“We acknowledge A&B as the founder of Kaua‘i Coffee and a good steward of this company, its employees and the land for the past 24 years,” Carvalho said in the proclamation. “We embrace Massimo Zanetti’s vision of a commitment to total quality culture, dedication to world class execution, and an organization focused on the customer.”

The Zanetti family forms the core of the MZB story. Massimo Zanetti’s grandfather sold coffee, and so did his father.

Massimo Zanetti was the first in the family to produce and sell roasted coffee, starting 35 years ago, according to the MZB website. At that time, MZB was selling about a ton of roasted coffee a year.

Carvalho said MZB, founded in Italy, has a century of experience in the coffee business, currently with nine roasting plants and 700 coffee shops worldwide.

MZB sells over 120,000 tons of coffee annually. Its operations include a coffee plantation and green coffee processing plant in Brazil, a coffee mill in Costa Rica, a green coffee export company in both markets and a green coffee trading company in Switzerland, serving customers in all continents with an annual turnover of $1.2 billion.

MZB USA is headquartered in Portsmouth, Va., and is a subsidiary of the privately held MZB Group, the world’s only vertically integrated coffee company comprised of almost 50 companies operating in about 100 countries.

Speaking through an interpreter, Zanetti said the company’s working mission is to be an entrepreneur, to create business and employment for Kaua‘i.

The acquisition of Kaua‘i Coffee will continue to expand and improve the MZB line, Zanetti said. The aim is to create wealth for everyone and to let more people throughout the world know about Kaua‘i Coffee and the island of Kaua‘i.

Some of the brands being handled by MZB include Chock full o’ Nuts, Hills Bros., Hills Bros. Cappuccino, Segafredo Zanetti, Chase and Sanborn, MJB, Corporate Brands and Segafredo Cafés.

Kaua‘i Coffee is located between Koloa and ‘Ele‘ele on the south side of Kaua‘i. The visitor center remains a popular tourist destination, operating everyday and welcoming as many as 700 people daily.

Go to www.kauaicoffee.com or www.mzb-group.com for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com.

© 2015 Thegardenisland.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • mdmann posted at 8:17 pm on Mon, Apr 4, 2011.

    mdmann Posts: 985

    This is all very funny. From what I've heard from many coffee fanatic friends (I don't touch the stuff myself), Kauai Coffee generally sucks. Italians are pretty darn serious when it comes to coffee (similar to Germans and beer), and I honestly fail to see why anyone, especially an Italian, would want to buy this company based on what people have told me about the product. I think it is very telling that Mr. Zanetti's comments about the sale don't seem to say much of anything about the quality of the product. "The acquisition of Kaua‘i Coffee will continue to expand and improve the MZB line...The aim is to create wealth for everyone and to let more people throughout the world know about Kaua‘i Coffee and the island of Kaua‘i." Are we to assume that he REALLY loves the stuff and thinks more people should know about it, or is there some other intent? He could just as soon be preparing to turn this coffee plantation into some kind of weird "coffee amusement park" for all you people know.

  • rak0729 posted at 7:43 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    rak0729 Posts: 881

    Hey so'old zanetti can do whaterver he wants with his coffee plantation,you should have purchased it yourself!!! then you would have it run by your standards:its not your money,so you should put a lid on it???

  • PeteAntonson posted at 5:05 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    PeteAntonson Posts: 2503

    This is beyond silly. Just one of you complaining explain to me how A & B is a local Kauai company keeping profits (don't exist to begin with) on Kauai

  • AnonyMouse posted at 3:39 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 859

    “Yes, I believe we realize the land will be leased - yet profit from this land will leave the island.”
    And you think they (the profits) were staying here if they went to A&B. A&B is a public corporation just as is Standard Oil. People from all over the U.S. and the world own stock in it. How colloquial your understanding.

    NEW FLASH: A&B wouldn’t be selling it if it were profitable. I see you didn’t do the home work I assigned earlier.

    How would A&B keeping ownership of the coffee operation be “economically sustainable” to Kauai? (Can’t wait for the explanation.) Try to think and speak in realities and not in vague generalities which have little relevancy to this article.

  • AnonyMouse posted at 3:38 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 859

    “…we must keep profits here WITH the land that's used to produce it. Our wealth continually flees the island, thus most people end up being part of the `working poor’."

    Ah yes, now we can clearly sghoul’s the ultimate goal here of the abrogation of agricultural lands and redistribution of it amongst the serfs. Land redistribution as has happened in Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba, Nicaragua, China and Viet Nam, Zambia to name only a few.

  • dakine posted at 12:26 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    dakine Posts: 611

    I understand the reasoning behind the sale of the brand...and I understand the reality of the financial position A&B had...but I'm still not happy. Yes, hopefully we'll keep jobs and the funds expended to grow/package/ship the crop will stay here, but the profits will not.

    It may simply be the only option...albeit not the best case.

  • LiveAid posted at 12:09 pm on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    LiveAid Posts: 1

    [quote]sgoold said: "Aloha ~Yes, truly, truly sad! "Zanetti said the company's working mission is to be an entrepreneur, to create business and employment for Kaua'i."FALSE: The working mission (by law) of any corporation is simply to maximize profit...[/quote]

    Yes, "any corporation," including A&B. If they'd had the ability to continue running this small coffee company while making a profit, they'd have done it. The truth is they were close to closing up shop. They did everything to try to keep this place alive and to keep people employed. Kauai Coffee will now continue to be a going concern and will keep many local people employed. It will grow the same coffee on the same property with the same workers while pumping dollars into a local economy that needs all the help it can get. The change will be an expanded market that will only help Kauai Coffee and the island. Sgoold can be as cynical has he wants, but Kauai Coffee and the people of the island just dodged a bullet.

  • sgoold posted at 11:59 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    sgoold Posts: 472

    Aloha bizchik and AnonyMouse ~
    Thanks for your information. Yes, I believe we realize the land will be leased - yet profit from this land will leave the island. Basic wages will be paid to a small handful of employees; A&B will receive lease revenue - but the vast majority of profits will end up in Brasil or elsewhere.

    If we ultimately want to make Kaua'i economically sustainable, we must keep profits here WITH the land that's used to produce it. Our wealth continually flees the island, thus most people end up being part of the "working poor."


  • RDDB Savage posted at 11:44 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    RDDB Savage Posts: 9

    Lame, another local business gone. I don't know how KCC could not be making money. Their entire crop was sold years in advance, not to mention a very nice gift shop that is always full of tourists. Some giant corporation just bought themselves a tax exempt vacation, that's all.

  • AnonyMouse posted at 10:52 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    AnonyMouse Posts: 859

    It's interesting to see, as with the first three commenter’s, people making up statements out of thin air on subjects about which they have no knowledge. As bizchik said, A&B is not selling the land; they're selling the coffee company and leasing the land. Unfortunately, A&B after a good long try has not been able to earn a profit on this operation and is turning a losing enterprise into a profitable rental. Check out their annual reports and K-1's. Massimo Zanetti is taking a risk in buying this operation in the hopes that their world-wide marketing network and history of successful coffee operations can make a go of it. It's all about knowledge and established infrastructure. This will help to save jobs vs. A&B closing it down and laying people off for lack of success. You guys ought to do some research before spouting your embarrassing prejudices. A typical display of loser mentality.

  • bizchik posted at 10:03 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    bizchik Posts: 8

    By working this deal with MZB, A&B is helping Kauai Coffee become known and valued world-wide and that will HELP this ag operation stay viable. MZB has world-wide marketing expertise, will build the brand, operate by US labor and environmental standards --and ILWU wages and benefits--and will help keep thousands of acres in ag. I'm glad that A&B will still own the land, though.

  • sgoold posted at 9:01 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    sgoold Posts: 472

    Aloha ~
    Yes, truly, truly sad! "Zanetti said the company's working mission is to be an entrepreneur, to create business and employment for Kaua'i."

    FALSE: The working mission (by law) of any corporation is simply to maximize profit. This isn't being cynical. It's just a fact.

    Zanetti came across Kaua'i Coffee four years ago - he saw a good business deal ... $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Zanetti acquired the company from Alexander and Baldwin. They saw a good business deal ... $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    Yet to continually increase profits, labor will be reduce in number; and salaries will be reduced as much as possible.

    One day Kaua'i coffee will look like the MickyDee's in 'Ele'ele - local labor working for close to minimum wage and profits flowing off-island.

    The wealth of Kaua'i will flow to Brasilian and other investors; the 'aina of Kaua'i will be used to make money for foreign owners.

    This is the reality of capitalism - an economic system that eats its own.


  • Yakauai posted at 8:03 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    Yakauai Posts: 314

    so much for kauai pride. so much for sustainability. so much for local business. didn't kauai just ralley around kauai coffee because it is such a valuable asset to kauai? this was happening around the time our county govt. wanted to place a landfill next door. i remember the community saying how great it was to have our own coffee business. now it is owned by a corp.

  • SaltPondSlim posted at 7:49 am on Wed, Mar 30, 2011.

    SaltPondSlim Posts: 251

    Another part of Kauai has just been swallowed up. It will only be a matter of time before it's sold for profit.


Online poll


Most Popular

Follow us on Facebook