Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ: GMCR) got its start in 1981 as a small cafe in Waitsfield, Vt., roasting and serving java to local residents. But thanks to the 2006 acquisition of single-cup brewer Keurig, Green Mountain changed the way many consumers brew coffee at home.
Consider that in fiscal 2006, before the Keurig K-Cup single-serve system was fully integrated into the company’s sales model, revenue totaled $225 million. Five years later, Green Mountain’s fiscal 2011 revenue is projected to be 10 times that, projected to top $2.4 billion.
In addition to its company headquarters in Vermont, the GMCR operates a 90,000-square-foot roasting and distribution facility and employs hundreds of local workers.
Green Mountain Coffee also reflects the importance of environmentalism and sustainable agriculture in fabric of Vermont’s economy. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters donates at least 5% of pre-tax profit to socially responsible initiatives, has lines that focus on fair trade and organic coffee, and has been ranked No. 1 on the list of “100 Best Corporate Citizens” by CRO magazine in both 2006 and 2007.
From an investing perspective, GMCR stock stands out for its mammoth run-up – a gain of more than 2,000% in five years. But Green Mountain’s performance reflects broader trends, since coffee is a popular consumer staple.
The fact that consumers flocked to cheaper home-brewed coffee instead of the drive-thru at Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) says as much about broader spending trends during the recession as it does the value of Green Mountain and its K-Cup brewing systems.
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Jeff Reeves is editor of InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the stocks named here. Follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook.