Posted by Stephanie Startz on November 5, 2009 12:42 PM
Italian coffee maker Illy is hoping Americans infatuated with coffee culture, but burned by Starbucks’ roast will pause for a taste of Italy.
Illy is increasing its profile in the United States through a stealth campaign in independent coffee shops, signing agreements with 28 independent cafes to exclusively brew the Italian roast, allowing Illy to intervene in order to assure quality control.
The coffee maker launched the program three years ago in Italy: "Artisti del Gusto," or Artists of Taste. In the US, Illy is currently found in high end grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. The new partnerships will raise the brand's profile as cafes adopt Illy-branded merchandise: espresso machines, artwork, ceramic mugs and red stand umbrellas.
The “Artists of Taste” program offers benefits to the cafes, and a chance to compete with local Starbucks shops. Café owners, like Sean Lupton-Smith, find value in offering Illy as a “consistent experience to our customers," and sees it as a "strong enough [brand] to stand up to the Starbucks around the corner.”Continue reading...