Financing

Fast-growing 7 Brew Coffee gets growth investment from Blackstone

With the transaction, early investor Jimmy John Liautaud of sandwich chain fame sold his stake in the drive-thru coffee-stand concept.
7 Brew Coffee
7 Brew Coffee has received an investment from Blackstone. | Image: Nico Heins

Fast-growing Arkansas-based drive-thru coffee chain 7 Brew Coffee has a new investor in asset-management firm Blackstone.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but 7 Brew investor Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the eponymous sandwich chain, sold his shares in the company as part of the transaction.

Liautaud, along with Lone Star Steak House Founder Jamie Coulter, purchased a majority stake in the emerging coffee concept in March 2021. At that time, the company had nine units. Today, it has more than 190 7 Brew stands around the country.

“I am truly honored to have had my mentor, the legendary Jamie Coulter, ask me to help launch franchising for this exceptional brand,” Liautaud said in a statement. “I am confident that the Brew Crew, management and Blackstone will continue to drive exponential growth.”

For more than a year, Liautaud, via his Stillwater Brew LLC, had been involved in a back-and-forth legal battle against 7 Brew parent Drink House Holdings and Bar 7 Bar LLC, 7 Brew’s manager, according to Benton County, Ark., Circuit Court documents. Liautaud has asserted that he had been denied the opportunity to review 7 Brew’s financial records. The parties filed to dismiss the suit last month.

7 Brew opened its first coffee stand in Rogers, Ark., in 2017. It tripled its unit count in 2022 and continued its rapid growth in 2023. It has commitments for more than 2,500 additional locations.

The concept is known for its wide assortment of custom drinks, which it claims can be prepared in more than 20,000 combinations. In addition to coffee and espresso, it serves tea, smoothies, shakes, infused sparkling water, energy drinks and more.

Blackstone’s global reach and resources will help the chain grow even more swiftly, CEO John Davidson said.

“Blackstone brings everything we are looking for to help serve our customers and support our franchisees—industry and market knowledge, franchisee relationships, data science, operations and real estate expertise,” Davidson noted.

Davidson, in an interview last fall on the RB podcast A Deeper Dive, said he hoped to grow the brand into the “Dollar General of coffee.” Dollar General currently operates nearly 20,000 retail locations, with a heavy concentration in rural areas.

Blackstone manages more than $1 trillion in assets.

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