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Millennials driving up demand for premium coffee, Peet’s CEO says

Millennial customers are spearheading the U.S. shift toward premium coffee beverages that’s been gaining steam in recent years, according to Peet’s Coffee & Tea CEO Dave Burwick, noting that consumers writ large are willing to pay more for higher-quality blends. 

"(Millennials) are coming into their own as coffee drinkers," Burwick told Reuters. "They're the ones who are choosing better coffee right out of the gate.”

Peet's, which prices beverages at its 400 U.S. locations 10 percent to 12 percent above Starbucks, saw “the highest growth of any major coffee brand” during the last quarter, Reuters reports.

"It's not about the cheapest cup of coffee anymore,” Burwick said. “It's about the best, or most convenient. Once you go to a darker roast or a better quality, it's very unlikely that you go back to the economy segment."

In addition to premium blends, consumers are increasingly giving cold-brew coffee a try. 

When Peet’s replaced its traditional iced coffee with a cold-brew variety in June, sales of its iced coffee exceeded last year’s by as much as 70 percent, a spokesperson for the chain told Reuters, indicating that cold-brew options have moved beyond fringe beverage selections to something more mainstream.  

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