Bloomberg News

Esio Beverage May Sell Keurig-Rival Drinks Maker at Wal-Mart

January 27, 2012

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Esio Beverage Co., a drinks-system maker, may begin selling a single-serve beverage machine this year at retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., to compete with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.’s Keurig brewer.

Wal-Mart may begin selling an Esio single-serve hot and cold beverage maker at its stores “this spring,” Jim Sanderson, an analyst at Detwiler Fenton Group Inc. in Boston, said today in an e-mailed research note.

“We have a number of retailers that we’re in the process of signing and have been meeting with for months,” Frank Leonesio, founder and principal owner of closely held Esio, said in an interview today. He declined to confirm which retailers Mesa, Arizona-based Esio is working with.

“This will be the first beverage system designed to fill the niche in the hot and cold ready-to-drink space,” Leonesio said. The machines will be priced between $199 and $249, he said.

Juice, coffee and sports drink-making pouches will fit inside the machines, Leonesio said. Each pouch, priced between $4.99 and $7.99, will make about a gallon of liquid, or 18 cups of coffee, he said. Many of the three-ounce pouches will be nationally branded, he said, declining to name the brands.

Greg Rossiter, a Wal-Mart spokesman, didn’t immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

“This introduction will likely be a game changer in the single serve category,” Sanderson said in his note today.

While Keurig has done a “marvelous job with coffee,” Esio will be able to “get our fair share,” Leonesio said.

Green Mountain, based in Waterbury, Vermont, fell 5.7 percent to $48.12 at 1:29 p.m. in New York. The shares gained 36 percent last year.

--With assistance from Joshua Fineman in New York. Editors: James Callan, Robin Ajello

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie Patton in Chicago at lpatton5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net


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