Lavazza buys control of Kicking Horse Coffee

Old World coffee giant Lavazza is buying control of Kicking Horse Coffee, the company known for its cheekily named blends that can trace its roots to a garage in the Rocky Mountains.

The deal announced Wednesday values the Invermere, B.C., company at $215 million and gives Italy’s Lavazza an 80 per cent stake in the coffee bean roaster.

Elana Rosenfeld, who co-founded Kicking Horse in 1996 with Leo Johnson equipped with little more than a roaster, said the partnership is an ideal fit.

“They come from Italy,” Rosenfeld said in an interview.

“To me, being in the coffee business, they’re like Mecca or Jerusalem. They’ve always been in my coffee conscious.”

Lavazza, which is acquiring the interest from private equity fund Swander Pace Capital, called Kicking Horse one of the “local jewels” it was looking for.

Kicking Horse, with about 110 employees, will still be run independently, said Rosenfeld, who will keep the remaining 20 per cent stake and stay on as CEO. Lavazza CEO Antonio Baravalle will become chairman.

Baravalle said in a statement that Kicking Horse, which offers distinct blends like Kick Ass, Smart Ass and Hoodoo Jo, is a leader in the fast-growing fair trade, organic market that fits well with Lavazza’s portfolio.

In recent years, Lavazza has also bought Carte Noire in France and Denmark’s Merrild as part of its acquisition strategy.

This latest deal comes after years of double-digit growth for Kicking Horse as it has expanded into the U.S. Rosenfeld said overall sales have tripled since 2012.

She said the deal could broaden Kicking Horse’s reach since Lavazza is already selling in some 90 countries, though there are no plans to expand the actual number of blends beyond the 12 they already offer.

Rosenfeld said she’s most excited by the expertise Lavazza will bring to the company.

“We have 20 years of experience, they have 120 years of experience,” said Rosenfeld. “Certainly my roasting and sourcing team and even the maintenance team are pretty excited about that Italian expertise.”

Just Posted

Flu cases steadily climb in Central Alberta

So far the number of Central Albertans admitted to hospital with the… Continue reading

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Auditor general flags Royal Military College for costs, cadet behaviour

The Royal Military College of Canada has taken another blow to its… Continue reading

After death of 8th child, Ikea relaunches dresser recall in U.S and Canada

NEW YORK — Ikea relaunched a recall of 29 million chests and… Continue reading

Red Deer agency supporting for LGBTQ2S+ youth

New report on LGBTQ2S+ youth from the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate

VIDEO: Replay Red Deer: Nov. 19

Watch news highlights from the week of Nov. 13

Innisfail girl goes missing again

RCMP are looking for a missing Innisfail teenager. Taylor Lapointe, 15, was… Continue reading

Red Deer Christmas Bureau to help 1,300 children this year

Demand is high, but Red Deer always provides

CP Holiday train makes stops in Central Alberta

The popular train will feature entertainment from Colin James and Emma-Lee

Kittens rescued after allegedly being tossed from vehicle

Couple finds abandoned kittens new home through Facebook

VIDEO: ‘Party bus’ goes up in flames in Vancouver

Fire crews responded to the late night blaze

Chicken crosses B.C. road, stops traffic

Rooster makes early morning commuters wait in Maple Ridge

Red Deerian honours her brother who died in a motorcycle collision

Houaida Haddad is encouraging Red Deer residents to donate blood

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month