Vermont’s Green Mountain Coffee — A Bitter Aftertaste

Still, GMCR reflects importance of environmentalism, sustainable agriculture in Vermont


Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) might share Vermont’s state nickname, but the mountain has been a lot less green for the company lately. Although it has been serving up java in many forms since its founding in 1981 as a small cafe in Waitsfield, Vt., 2012 has been anything but a coffee high for Green Mountain. Its shares have been pushed below $20 at times in 2012, a far cry from its heydays above $100.

Earnings momentum has been decaying since the Keurig single-cup coffee machine penetration reached critical mass, and those K-Cups are coming off patent. But most of all, Green Mountain was so successful in changing the way consumers brew coffee at home, it has spawned some mighty competition. Namely, from Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX), which has become a major threat to Green Mountain now that it has its own single-serve brewing machine called Verismo.

Despite its fall from the summit, Green Mountain Coffee still reflects the importance of environmentalism and sustainable agriculture in the fabric of Vermont’s economy. GMCR donates at least 5% of pre-tax profit to socially responsible initiatives, has lines that focus on fair trade and organic coffee, and was ranked No. 1 on the list of “100 Best Corporate Citizens” by CRO magazine in both 2006 and 2007.

In addition to its company headquarters in Vermont, GMCR operates a 90,000-square-foot roasting and distribution facility and employs hundreds of local workers.

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Mike Mercurio is Managing Editor of InvestorPlace. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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