A blog post titled The End of Stumptown, America's Hippest Coffee Brand has culinary social media sites atwitter today with speculation that a New York private equity firm is the new owner of the (previously) independent coffee roaster, with popular retail locations in New York, Seattle and Portland:
Duane Sorenson, the founder of Stumptown, the Che Guevara of the rock-star barista movement, sold his life's work to the highest bidder, Todd Carmichael writes in the post on Esquire's blog Eat Like a Man. The accussation was picked up by the top food blogs, who are all awaiting an official statement from Stumptown.
Eater Portland posted that the rumors are likely not true, and are awaiting confirmation. But Willamette Week uncovered some documents that suggest there might be truth to the speculation:
On April 28, Stumptown Coffee Corp.... filed an 'application for authority' [with the Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division]. Stumptown Coffee Corp is a distinct entity from Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the Oregon corporation registered to the company's founder, Duane Sorenson, since 2000. It lists as its president and secretary Alexander S Panos, with the address of Stumptown's headquarters on Southeast Division Street.
Panos is a managing director of TSG Consumer Partners, a private equity firm with investments in Vitamin Water and Voss of Norway, among many other companies.
Carmichael, a vocal critic of specialty coffees, wrote that he was legally bound not to discuss particulars.