Expo West: Illy Goes Glass

It’s a coffee brand that’s done a fine job of accelerating in the past year, and it’s gone from 2500 outlets in 2009 to more than 20,000 by 2012, but Coke Venturing and Emerging Brands group’s licensed Illy Issimo has retained a fairly low profile. Now, in an attempt to grab a bit more space in the grab and go realm, Tom Larsen, the brand’s general manager, revealed that he is moving three of the brand’s varieties — Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato and Mochaccino — into 9.5 oz. teardrop glass bottles.

The product came off the production line on Saturday, and Larsen said his brand team will be testing them in new locations, primarily New York, in the coming weeks. The bottles will not necessarily replace cans, although in some stores a larger emphasis will be placed on the cans as 4-packs, he said.

He added that the brand has not yet presented the bottles to Whole Foods, the key retailer in the natural channel, wanting to try out DSD in smaller accounts first.

Eventually, however, “we want to be recognized as the go-to coffee brand in natural,” he said.

Larsen said the brand has found its feet with the “true coffee” crowd, and that it will try to stay there with an emphasis on Illy as a coffee-based source of energy. Just don’t expect high-calorie smoothies, he added, saying “We’re not going to go down the vanilla and hazelnut route.”