Keurig is shutting down the machine that the brand had hoped could build a future beyond coffee.
On Tuesday, Keurig Green Mountain announced it is discontinuing the Keurig Kold system.
Consumers who already purchased a Keurig Kold — a $370 machine that creates carbonated, chilled beverages — can get a full refund from the company. Keurig will continue to sell pods until supplies run out.
“We view our initial Kold system launch as a pioneering execution,” Keurig said in a statement. “We learned a lot — including that consumers are willing to embrace the concept of a system that delivers fresh-made, cold beverages in the home — and we’ll build our learnings into future beverage systems.”
The Keurig Kold debuted in September 2015, with Keurig staking its hopes on the new device crafting a future for the brand outside of coffee. However, almost immediately, customers began complaining about its size, noisiness, how long it took to make drinks, and the expensive $370 price tag.
Keurig had invested a lot of technology — and money — in the Keurig Kold. The company filed more than 50 patents over the course of five years as it developed the system, investing $100 billion in the device in fiscal 2015. In September, Keurig said it planned to spend a similar amount in 2016.
Keurig wasn’t the only company betting on the success of the Keurig Kold. Coca-Cola spent $2.4 billion on a 16% stake in Keurig in 2014, and partnered with Keurig in creating Keurig Kold flavours such as Coke, Dr. Pepper, and Snapple. In December 2015, Keurig announced it was being acquired by JAB Group for $92 a share — valuing Keurig at $13.9 billion.
For a while, it looked as though Keurig would persevere through the negative reviews of the product.
“We know that the first product we put out in the new technology is never going to be perfect,” Keurig CEO Brian Kelley said of the Kold in the company’s fourth quarter earnings call in November. “We’re going to learn and we’re going to improve.”
However, it’s unclear if Keurig will continue to pursue its goal of creating the cold beverage maker of the future.
With the discontinuation of the Keurig Kold, 108 Vermont employees lost their jobs, primarily from the Kold pod manufacturing and related support teams. Keurig said the ex-employees are encouraged to apply for one of the roughly 200 positions currently open at the company.
“Reimagining how beverages can be created, personalised and enjoyed will continue to guide Keurig’s strategy into the future,” a Keurig spokesperson said in a statement.
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