Blue Bottle Coffee Co an upscale US coffee chain operator, says it will open its first South Korean shop in Seoul in the second quarter of next year as the company moves to expand its presence in the Asian market.
It said the new cafe and a roastery will open in Seoul’s eastern Seongsu neighbourhood, a trendy hangout spot where young artists and designers have renovated existing buildings into art spaces, fine restaurants and cafes.
The move will mark Blue Bottle’s second international launch since it opened its shop in Tokyo in 2015. Blue Bottle said it will directly enter the South Korean market as Blue Bottle Coffee Korea Ltd.
“We feel very close to our South Korean guests, having known them for years in our cafes in the US and Japan and on social media,” said Bryan Meehan, CEO of Blue Bottle Coffee. “Now, Blue Bottle Coffee will no longer be just a tourist destination for them but a part of the fabric of Seoul.”
Founded in 2002, the Oakland-based roaster now has 56 cafes in the US and 10 in Japan. Swiss food giant Nestle bought a 68 per cent stake in the company last year.
According to government data, the size of South Korea’s coffee market stood at 11.7 trillion won (US$10.8 billion) in 2017, up more than threefold from a decade earlier.
* Original story from Yonhap, via Korea Bizwire.