Vermont Business Magazine - Keurig Green Mountain announced Tuesday that it has discontinued making the Keurig Kold system and has laid off over 100 employees effective immediately. According to a Keurig spokesperson, "After careful review and consideration, we are discontinuing the first generation of Keurig KOLD as of today and we are offering consumers a refund for the full purchase price of their KOLD drink-makers. The decision to discontinue KOLD also means that the roles of many of our colleagues are impacted. Earlier today, we notified 108 Vermont employees that their roles were affected by a workforce reduction. The majority of those impacted were employees on our KOLD pod manufacturing and related support team whose roles were impacted by our decision to discontinue our first generation Keurig KOLD system. Employees whose roles were affected will receive severance benefits including salary continuation and outplacement support. They will also be encouraged to apply for one of the roughly 200 open jobs we have currently."
The Kold line was developed with Coca-Cola. But when Coke sold its large stake in Keurig as part of the sale of Keurig to JAB in March of this year, the Kold line soon followed it out the door. Keurig Kold was an attempt by Coke to compete with the cheaper SodaStream. But at $369.99 for the Kold machine and over a dollar per 8 ounce serving, the price point kept sales down. The product did receive technological acclaim in its short life. Earlier this year it was nominated for an Edison Award.
LEFT, Keurig® KOLD™ Drinkmaker from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. (Photo: Business Wire). ABOVE, a sampling of the KOLD brands as demonstrated at the Keurig offices in South Burlington in December. Vermont Business Magazine photo.
Keurig Kold was launched in September 2015. Keurig Kold was the first beverage system that allowed consumers to freshly make a wide range of cold sparkling and still beverages at home with the push of a button. Keurig Kold offered a broad range of beverage brands like Coca-Cola, Dr Pepper and Snapple along with zero-calorie flavored seltzers, ice teas and many more.
The Keurig spokesperson said, "We view our initial KOLD system launch as a pioneering execution. 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. After careful review and consideration though, we are discontinuing the first generation of Keurig KOLD as of today and we are offering consumers a refund for the full purchase price of their KOLD drinkmakers.
We know that the success of our products is fundamentally rooted in the trust and support of our consumers and their willingness to embrace our innovations and we are grateful to all of our consumers who have supported our company in the innovation of single-serve beverages. Reimagining how beverages can be created, personalized and enjoyed will continue to guide Keurig’s strategy into the future."
In a statement, Governor Shumlin said "This is obviously incredibly difficult news for the Vermonters affected by these layoffs. Our first concern is for them and their families. The Department of Labor is already working to provide rapid response services and connect affected workers with the many Vermont companies currently hiring and expanding. According to the Vermont Department of Labor, there are approximately 5,000 job openings statewide. My Administration will do everything it can to help these Vermonters find employment elsewhere as quickly as possible.
"From conversations with Keurig, we understand these layoffs to be related to the canceling of the first generation Keurig Kold system and that other parts of the company will not be affected. This business decision is not a reflection on Vermont's overall economy, which remains strong with one of the lowest unemployment rates in America and 18,000 jobs created since January 2011, according to the Department of Labor."
Lt. Governor Phil Scott issued the following statement on layoffs at Keurig as a result of the discontinuation of its KOLD system:
“As we digest the news of 108 layoffs at Keurig, we must remember our primary responsibility is to support the impacted Vermont workers and their families.
“I understand Keurig will do everything in their power to place the former Keurig KOLD team in new positions within the company. For my part, I will work in conjunction with State leaders, agencies and the employees themselves to get them back to work here in Vermont.
“Going forward, I hope we can make the economy a priority so that more companies like Keurig can innovate and bring products and services to consumers around the world from home bases in Vermont.”