Starbucks brews up hotel distribution deal

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Starbucks Corp. has brewed up a deal to provide single-serve coffee to half a million hotel rooms, a major step into a small but fast-growing market.

The company announced Tuesday that it will provide coffee for Courtesy Products’ CVI single-serve coffee systems beginning this fall.

The companies did not disclose the value of the deal.

Starbucks has tried to reach a wider array of coffee drinkers, recently adding its Via instant coffee line. The company said customers should “look for further announcements” as it expands further into the single-serve business.

The deal follows reports this weekend that Starbucks was in talks with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to provide coffee for its popular Keurig Brewing system.

“At this very early stage, there are numerous contenders and no demonstrated, long-term winners related to either format or machines,” Jeff Hansberry, president of Starbucks Consumer Products Group, said in a statement.

Starbucks wants to expand in the segment as it ends its agreement with Kraft Foods Inc., under which Starbucks provides coffee discs for Kraft Foods’ Tassimo one-cup brewer. Kraft also distributes the coffee giant’s products to retailers through this agreement. Starbucks plans to end the partnership on March 1, but the termination remains mired in a legal dispute.

Courtesy Products is a privately held company based in St. Louis.