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Sinise pudeli kohvi sissetoomine toob Hipsteri kohvi eest 20 miljonit dollarit

Sinise pudeli kohvi sissetoomine toob Hipsteri kohvi eest 20 miljonit dollarit


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San Franciscos asuval poel on uus omanik ja palju sularaha

Tundub, et Sinise pudeli kohv järgib Starbucksi ja teiste kohvi edulugude jälgi: väike, väike rong, mis võiks hipsteri kohvik, kogus investeeringuid tohutult 20 miljonit dollarit.

TechCrunch oli esimene, kes teatas sularahakoormustest; SEC esitused näitasid, et suurem osa rahast tuli True Venturesilt ja Index Venturesilt. Ja investeerivad suurkujud on üsna auväärsed: Instagrami ja About.com kaasasutajad, Diggi ja Google Venturesi poisid ning isegi rulataja Tony Hawk. Lisaks on ettevõttel uus president ja tegevjuht Bryan Meehan; kuigi The New York Times märgib, et asutajal James Freemanil on ettevõttes endiselt suur osa.

Muidugi mõtlevad nüüd kõik, mida see ettevõtte ja selle tulevikuplaanide jaoks tähendab. TechCrunch spekuleerib, et see võib olla kohvimüük supermarketites või isegi veebipõhise jaemüügi laiendamine; Wired märgib, et ettevõte võiks minna veelgi peavoolu - võta Blue Bottle'i laiendus Rockefelleri keskusesse ja kaubamärgiga pidžaamapüksid (mida me täiesti tahame). Praeguse seisuga on Blue Bottle Company'il San Franciscos ja New Yorgis vaid 10 poodi ja kioski, kuid see võib peagi muutuda. Siiski röstime a Vietnami kohv Blue Bottle'i edule.


Sinise pudeli kohvi ütlemata tõde

Kui elate lahe piirkonnas, pole Blue Bottle Coffee'st mingit võimalust pääseda. Ettevõte sai alguse Berkeley põllumajandustootjate turul 2000. aastate alguses, kuid just San Francisco kohvikute võrgustik tõi kaasa kultuse, mis võimaldas kaubamärgil levida New Yorki, Bostonisse, Washington DC -sse ja lõpuks Jaapanisse. Lõuna -Korea ja Hongkong samuti. CNBC andmetel, mitmed suured nimed investorid, kes aitasid Blue Bottle’il kuulsust koguda-sellised inimesed nagu Instagrami asutaja Kevin Systrom ja U2 Bono-, mis aitasid tõsta brändi tagasihoidlikelt Bay Area röstijatelt kolmanda laine kohvi liikumise pioneerideni.

Kas see oli lihtsalt Bono maagiline puudutus, mis andis Blue Bottle Coffee'ile espresso, mis oli vajalik maailma vallutamiseks? Või oli esialgsel põllumeeste turu stendil teistsugune maagia või esimene Blue Bottle'i kohvik, mis asutaja sõnul asus "pissilõhnalise tupiktänava" lõpus. Kui keegi peab vajalikuks 16 dollarit (via Inc.) tassi kohvi eest, mida serveeritakse uriinilõhnalisel alleel, kas põletame ta tuleriidal või valime ta presidendiks? Uurime enne otsustamist rohkem.


Unustage Sopranod. Tutvuge Bionionidega.

Kõige dramaatilisema (ja haletsusväärsema) loo kohta, kus maffiapere õmblustest laguneb, lülitage teler välja ja lugege edasi: Te ei usu, kuidas kurikuulsa Dallase mänguri ja reketi lapsed on tema pärandi segi ajanud.

BENNY BINION EI VÕI TUNNISTADA OMA LIIGET. Tema nimi vilgub endiselt kuldsetes tuledes Las Vegase kesklinnas Fremont Streeti kohal, kuid Binioni Horseshoe Hotel and Casino õhkkond on selgelt desinfitseeritud, nagu oleks keegi andnud metsseale mullivanni. Hobuseraua, Golden Nuggeti ja allesjäänud Glitter Gulchi hasartmängumajade ees laiub jalakäijate kaubanduskeskus ning laserlampidega katus blokeerib päikese ja tähed. Potipalmid, mis on pandud möödujatele udu pritsima, on paigutatud kioskite vahele, kus müüakse T-särke ja odavaid suveniire. Te ei leia New Yorgi, Pariisi või Veneetsia kesklinnast purskkaevusid, ülaosata kooritüdrukuid, rullnokki, püramiide ​​ega juustumaiseid koopiaid, nagu seda tehakse palju moodsama Stripi ääres - ja unustage keelpillikvartett smokingites, kes mängivad Bachi, nagu üks Bellagio fuajeebaaris - aga akustilise kitarrimängija nimega Buzz Evans lõbustab õnnelikke hingi, kes sinna pärast pimedat seiklevad, enamasti Aasia turistid koos kaameratega ja noorpaaridega, kes näevad välja nagu oleksid just kastist maha hüpanud. Kogu see täiustamine on osa sellest, mida kaubanduskoda nimetab “Fremont Street Experience’iks”, ekslikuks katseks muuta Glitter Gulch ajastule hipiks. See jätab asja olemata. Selle aasta alguses Las Vegase linnapeaks valitud endise moblaadvokaadi Oscar Goodmani sõnadega: "Inimesed ei tule siia Disneylandi otsima, vaid Bugsy Siegeli otsima."

Kui Benny, hasartmängur ja reketirändur, kellel oli vähe eakaaslasi Texases või mujal, lahkus Dallasest 1946. aastal Sin City andestavama õhkkonna pärast, poleks ta osanud ette kujutada seda mitme miljoni dollari suurust pärandit, mille ta ühel päeval oma lastest jätab. Ja ta ei osanud arvata, millise jama nad sellest teevad. Kaks Benny viiest lapsest on surnud narkootikumide üledoosi tõttu - üks näiline enesetapp, teine ​​rikutud mängu ohver. Tema päevil ei kasutanud mafioosod narkootikume, vaid müüsid neid. Ahnus, reetmine ja külmavereline mõrv on selles firmalinnas traditsioonid, kuid praegune põlvkond tundub olevat unustanud, et see on ainult äri. Pärast Benny surma 1989. aastal ja tema abikaasa Teddy Jane'i 1994. aastal puhkes Binioni õdede-vendade seas täielik sõda hobuseraua kontrollimise pärast. Jack Binion lõi oma õdede Brenda Michaeli ja Becky Behneni vastu, väikevend Lonnie “Ted” Binion oli aga sunnitud kõrvalt vaatama. Tedi hasartmängude litsents oli peatatud ... mafioosistega hängimise eest! Kellega ta pidi rippuma, moraalne enamus? Tedi peatamine oli lihtsalt järjekordne sümbol perekonna olemuse, kuritegevuse ja muidu muutuste kohta. Ta kandis püstolit nagu isagi, ainult tema jaoks oli see ornament. Binionide lahingut peeti kuulipildujate asemel kohtuprotsesside ja hoiuleandmistega, kuid mõnes mõttes oli see räpasem ja vähem auväärne kui varasematel aegadel. Sa ei pea olema Tony Soprano kahane, et aru saada, mis siin juhtus: Binions oli kohtunud vaenlasega ja see oli nemad.

Lahing lõppes vähemalt ajutiselt 1998. aasta suvel, kui jõuti kohtuvälisele kokkuleppele. Sellele järgnes ja kahtlemata kiirendas Nevada mängukomisjoni korraldus, mis sundis Tedit müüma oma 20 -protsendilise osaluse kasiinos. Peaaegu kogu selle ostis Benny lastest noorim Becky. Kuu aega hiljem leiti Ted surnuna heroiini üledoosi tõttu - narkootikum, mida ta oli kasutanud alates keskkoolist. Esialgu arvasid politseiametnikud, et 55-aastane mees on end tapnud või kogemata üledoosi andnud, kuid nüüd näitavad tõendid, et ta oli oma elusa sõbranna veidra, peaaegu koomiliselt saamatu vandenõu ohver, et teda tappa ja varastada tema varandust. Tedi surm oli Binionidele viimane purustav löök. Ta oli Benny lemmik - tema koopia, ainult ilma serva ja karastuseta, mis tegi vanainimesest loomuliku ellujääja. Tedi surma järel on üks Las Vegase viimaseid perekonnale kuuluvaid kasiinosid oma endise varju. Nii ka perega.

ENNE Stripi toimumist ja ammu enne seda, kui mängumogul Steve Wynn hakkas maailma seitset imet imiteerima ja igasse nurka mänguautomaate paigaldama, oli Binioni hobuseraua varjupaigaks kõvade silmadega ja mõttetutele mänguritele. See oli Glitter Gulchi-Las Vegase kesklinna kõige mürarikkama, räigema ja kõige laiemalt avatud kasiino-nurgakivi. Uksed ei sulgunud kunagi ja tegevus ei peatunud. Benny kiitis, et pakkus maailma parimaid koefitsiente ja ta ei põrganud kunagi panuse tegemisest. Eriti Texase kõrgeid rollereid köitis tema vankumatu poliitika piiranguteta ja kergemeelsusega. "Limiidi suurus on teie esimese panuse suurus," lubas Benny. Lugu mehest, kes käis ühe miljoni dollari suuruse kotiga hobuseraua sisse ja kaotas selle crapside laua ääres passiliinile, kuulub nüüd Vegase folkloori juurde. Binioni hobuseraua ei võitnud sel ööl lihtsalt miljonit dollarit, vaid võitis linna ainsa puhta hasartmänguühendusena püsiva maine.

Hobuseraua juures polnud tervisespaa, Rootsi massööri, juuksurit, meelelahutust. "Ma ei taha näha, kuidas mu raha mõne mehe trompeti otsast välja puhub," selgitas Benny. Joogid olid helded - Benny oli teerajaja, et mängijad joovad tasuta - ning toit oli odav ja kasulik. Tema hilisõhtune 2 dollari suurune praad sai klassikaliseks kasiino tulekuks. Seal ei olnud uhket söögituba ega prantsuse kokka, vaid plekitud põllega mees, kes vana Dallase vangimaja retsepti järgi segas poti rasvast ja tulist tšillit. Hobuseraud ei sisaldanud aastaid isegi hotelli. Kui Steve Wynn rääkis Bennyle oma plaanist ehitada üle tänava ekstravagantne kahe tuhande toaline hotell ja kasiino, mida kutsutakse Kuldseks tükiks, keeras Benny isaliku käe ümber õla ja ütles: „Suurepärane, nad saavad teie asemel magada ja mängida minu oma. "

Benny õppis seda äri kahekümnendatel aastatel Warren Diamondilt, Dallase vana aja reketilt, kes korraldas Dallase maakonna kohtumaja lähedal St. George hotellis piiramatut jama. Ehkki ta väitis, et pole kunagi kooliruumi astunud, teadis Benny numbritest. Kaubanduse kõnepruugis oli ta „square craps fader” - „square”, mis tähendab „aus”, ja „fader” on see, kes panuse katab. Craps faderit eelistav varu on väike, näiteks 1,4 protsenti, kuid aastate jooksul muutis see Benny tohutult rikkaks. Kolmekümnendate aastate alguses oli ta Dallase reketite kuningas, tiitlit tuli tal perioodiliselt relvaga kaitsta. Tema moto oli: Tehke oma vaenlased enne, kui nad teiega hakkama saavad. Ta teenis oma hüüdnime Cowboy põhjustel, mis olid seotud laskmisega, mitte ratsutamisega, tulistas ta maha vähemalt kaks äririvaali ja peletas palju teisi. Pikka aega pärast Dallasest lahkumist jätkas ta seal ja Fort Worthis reketite kontrollimist - ning rivaalitsevate gangsterite surnukehad kuhjusid edasi.

Kui Benny linna tabas, oli Las Vegas tühjal Los Angelesse kulgeval maanteel kurb sukeldumiste kogum, mida ei avastanud peale Bugsy Siegeli ja tema mafioossõprade. See oli miljöö, milles ta oli väga kodus. Nagu Dallases, kasvatas Benny kõrgetel kohtadel sõpru: kohtunikke, poliitikuid, politseijuhte. Need olid selles kliimas hädavajalikud. Jõustajatele, nagu Chicago maffia boss Tony “sipelgas” Spilotrole, meeldis vaenlaste päid pahesid suruda, kuni nende silmamunad välja hüppasid ning kõrb oli täis värskelt kaevatud haudu ja kasutatud padruneid. "Benny ei pidanud selles linnas kunagi murusõda pidama, meenutab Harry Claiborne, kes oli tema advokaat üle neljakümne aasta ja on kõigi oma laste mitteametlik ristiisa. "Ma ei tundnud kunagi kedagi, kellele ta ei meeldinud." Enne kui nad olid sõbrad, oli Claiborne Clarki maakonna ringkonnaprokuröri asetäitja ning ta oli isiklikult süüdistuse esitanud ja saatnud eluks ajaks Benny vana Texase abilise Cliff Helmsi. "Vahetult pärast seda, kui alustasin erapraksist," ütles Claiborne mulle, "Benny tuli ühel päeval minu juurde ja küsis, kas ma tahan olla tema advokaat. Ütlesin talle, et ma tean, et ta ei armasta seda, mida ma Helmsiga tegin, kuid Benny vaatas mulle nende külmade siniste silmadega otsa ja ütles: „Pole kuradi seadust, et peate oma advokaati armunud olema.” ” Hiljem pälvis Claiborne tunnustuse, et ta on üks käputäiest föderaalkohtunikest, keda sel sajandil süüdistati ja süüdi mõisteti, mis tegi temast ikooni Vegases.

Binioni lapsed kasvasid üles teadmisega, et nad on ohtliku äri pärijad. Kodu, mille Benny oma perele Bonanza teel ostis, oli 4500 ruutjalga kindlus kuuel aakril ja see oli varustatud keerukate turvalisuse täiustustega. Puudusid varjatud koridorid, mida ta kartis, et röövijad võiksid oma eesmärkidel kasutada, kuid taga oli ait ja ta käskis oma lastel õhurünnaku korral end sinna peita. Oht oli reaalne: 1951. aastal vahistasid politseiametnikud Benny kauaaegse Dallase rivaali Herbert “kass” Noble’i, kes valmistus lendama Las Vegasesse oma ehmatava tiivaga Beechcraftis, millel oli kaks pommiriiulile paigaldatud pommi. Varsti pärast seda lõhkus Kassi tükkideks tema postkasti pandud pomm. Kõik arvasid, et Benny on vastutav, kuid keegi pole seda kunagi tõestanud.

LAS VEGASE TARGID arvasid ALATI, et Ted hakkab hobuserauaga sõitma, kui Benny nöör otsa saab - too kaine, tõsine Jack oli suurepärane raamatupidaja, kuid tal puudus igasugune abivahend sellise uhke koha juhtimiseks. Benny vanim tütar Barbara oli 1983. aastal narkootikumide üledoosi tõttu surnud ja ülejäänud kaks ei tundunud selleks tööks sobivad. Keskmine tüdruk Brenda elas Amarillos, kaugel tegevusest. Noorim Becky oli Silver Star kasiinot opereerinud seitsmekümnendate lõpus, kuid ainult seetõttu, et Nevada mängukomisjon keeldus oma abikaasale Nick Behnenile litsentsi väljastamast. Behnenil keelati isegi hõbetähte siseneda, kuid kõik arvasid, et ta on tõeline boss.

Ted oli Benny noorem versioon või püüdis ta seda olla. Ta riietus nagu temagi, saapadesse ja kauboimütsini, pistis püstoli teksadesse ja sõitis pikapiga koos koeraga printsessiga. Suvel töötas ta perekonna rohkem kui 100 000 aakri suurusel rantšos Montanas. (Kui Brenda kasutas oma võimu ema kinnisvara täideviijana 1997. aastal rantšo müümiseks, oli Ted peaaegu lohutamatu.) Metsik ja kartmatu ning alati lõbuks valmis, oli ta kohe meeldiv. Ta oli ka helde ja vea suhtes lojaalne. "Tedil oli palju imelikke halva mainega sõpru, kuid Benny oli samamoodi," ütleb Claiborne. "Kui sa olid tema sõber, olid sa tema sõber." Ted ei hoolinud formaalsest haridusest, kuid luges kirglikult Ameerika ja Lääne ajalugu ning võis kodusõja lahinguid üksikasjalikult lugeda. "Ta oli renessansiaegne mees," meenutab advokaat David Chesnoff, teine ​​sõber. "Kauboi, kuid ilmselt kõige maisem mees, keda ma kunagi kohanud olen." Alates teismelise eluaastast kogus Ted antiikseid ja piiratud väljalaskega relvi, haruldasi ja mündimünte ning vanu kasiinokrõpse, ostis ta hõbekangid ja päris oma ema mündikogu. Lõpuks kasvas tema enda mündi- ja hõbekollektsioon 24 tonnini ning see tuli hoiuseraua juures hoida kahes võlvis.

Benny lapsed olid Vegase standardite järgi aristokraadid, noored kuninglikud, kes kasvasid kodus, kus luksus oli tavaline, ja linnas, kus uksed käskluse peale avanesid. Ted kasvas praktiliselt üles kasiinos, õppides seda ametit preteenina oma isalt ja mõnelt riigi nutikamalt mängijalt. Kaheksateistkümneaastaseks saades oli ta vana käsi. "Benny ütles mulle, et Ted oli selles valdkonnas parim," meenutab Claiborne. Ta oli ka narkomaan, olles üle läinud potilt oopiumile ja LSD -le ning lõpuks oma valitud narkootikumile: musta tõrva heroiinile. "Benny oli laastatud," ütleb Claiborne. "Ta vihkas narkootikume üle kõige maailmas, kuid ta ei saanud midagi teha." Kuna Ted vihkas nõelu, ei süstinud ta suitsetatud ravimit. "Draakoni jälitama," nimetas ta seda. Isegi tsoneerituna oli Tedil rohkem ajusid ja moksi kui teistel. See tegi temast ilmse kandidaadi hobuseraua juhtimiseks - ühel päeval.

Benny nöör sai aga enneaegselt otsa. Tema heade poiste võrgustik ei sobinud kahele Dallase ristisõdijale. Esiteks Will Wilson ja seejärel Henry Wade olid teda jälitanud alates neljakümnendate keskpaigast. Aastal 1953 naelutas Wade lõpuks Bennyle tulumaksudest kõrvalehoidumise ja hasartmängude eest, mis pärinesid tema mobla päevilt Dallases, ja saatis ta 42 kuuks minema.

Benny pääses välja 1957. aastal, kuid ei omanud enam kunagi mänguluba. Kuni surmani jälgis ta tegevust hobuseraua kohviku nurgalaualt, samal ajal kui Teddy Jane töötas kassapuuri ja Jack juhtis äri.

Mõnele üllatuseks oli Jack enam kui oma ülesandega hakkama saanud. Ta säilitas põhimõtte, et mänguri esimene panus oli tema piir ja ta kasutas turundusvahendina tabavat fraasi „õiglane mäng ja õiglane koefitsient”. Kuigi Jacki isiksus oli taltsutav ja palju tagasihoidlikum kui Benny, oli ta isa silmis eeliseks. 1988. aastal suurendas ta hotelli suurust enam kui neljakordseks, ostes 27 miljoni dollari eest kõrval asuva Mint Casino ja hotelli. Ta jagas ka Benny tunnustust tegelaste ja kaabakate vastu: nagu ikka, tuli kõiki kliente kohelda külalistena. Kui ta sai teada, et kurikuulus nikli- ja peenraha mängija Goldie oli rääkinud hobuseraua juhendajale, et ta saadaks tema juurde limusiini, et see tooks kümmekond sõõrikut ja paki sigarette, küsis Jack endalt: "Mida Benny teeks?" ja otsustas selle unustada. Ligi kolmkümmend aastat seadis ta Hobuseraua peaaegu kõigest muust oma elus ette. "Ta on jumalatu töökas," ütleb Tom Stephenson, Dallase kirjanik, kes kummardas Jack Binioni väike must raamat hasartmängudest. "Ta on tavaliselt kuueks oma kontoris ja sel õhtul kell kümme. Ma ei usu, et ta oleks kunagi oma elus pausi teinud. ”

TED ESIMENE SAI 1966. aastal oma hasartmängude litsentsi. Hoolimata oma heroiinist, hakkas ta töötama kasiinopõrandal, nagu Bennygi - tervitades suuri lööke, tegeledes tüliküsimustega, püüdes kõiki õnnelikena hoida. Libe tee, mis ta lõpuks surnuks viis, sai alguse 1987. aastal, kui ta mõisteti süüdi narkootikumide omamises ja litsents peatati.

Sel ajal oli Ted abielus ja elas koos oma naise Dorise ja nende tütre Bonniega heas kodus Palomino Lane'i ääres. Talle kuulus ka kuuekümne aakri suurune rantšo Pahrumpis, väikelinnas Las Vegasest 53 miili läänes. Ted hoidis kodus ja rantšos suures koguses sularaha ja muud väärtuslikku ning mõnikord mattis ta oma varanduse - ta uskus, et see on ainus kindel viis selle kaitsmiseks. Heroiin polnud tema ainus deemon: tal oli ka nõrkusi märjukese, suurte rindade showtüdrukute ja allilma tüüpide suhtes. Võib -olla Benny maine tõttu tundis Ted, et peab näitama, et on kõva mees. 1990. aastal esitas FBI talle ja veel seitsmele hobuseraua töötajale süüdistuse mängijate peksmises ja röövimises, keda kahtlustatakse blackjackis petmises. Süüdistused paljastasid pereettevõtte koleda poole: kõik väidetavad petturid olid mustad. Föderaalprokurörid käsitlesid juhtumit valesti, nii et see ei läinud kunagi kohtusse, kuid Ted kaotas taas ajutiselt oma litsentsi.

Ta sai selle tagasi 1993. aastal, kuid kaotas selle järgmisel aastal uuesti. See teine ​​peatamine oli kaheksateist kuud, kuid hiljem jätkas Nevada mängukomisjon seda määramata ajaks. Probleem ei olnud enam pelgalt narkootikumid, vaid Tedi jätkuv seos maffioosidega: komisjon avastas tõendeid selle kohta, et ta oli andnud 100 000 dollari suuruse laenu tuntud Kansas City mafioosile Peter Ribaste'ile ja ühele vanale Chicago pättile nimega Herbert “Fat Herb” Blitzstein, olnud Tony “Sipelgas” Spilotro ülemleitnant. Blitzstein juhtis tulutavat segmenti Vegase tänavareketitest, sealhulgas laenuhaigete ja kindlustuskelmuse autoremonditöökojast. Ühel korral, kuigi mängukomisjon keelas Tedil hobuseraua sisse astuda, teenis ta seal Fat Herbi autokindlustuse tšekkide eest 11 000 dollarit. Ted tundus Herbile kiindunud ja talle meeldis kõva kapuutsiga ülaosata baarides hängida, kus suur osa tema äritegevusest aeti. Ted pidi kindlasti teadma, et agendid jälgivad tema käike, kuid kas ta oli liiga hoolimatu, et hoolitseda või uskus ta, et sõprus aitas, mitte ei kahjustanud tema pingutusi litsentsi tagasi saada. Ametnike nimekirjas, kellele Fat Herb väitis altkäemaksu andmist, oli hasartmängukontrolli nõukogu liige Steve DuCharme, kes oli varem Vegase politseiseersant. Fat Herb ega Ted ei teadnud, et DuCharme töötas altkäemaksu võtmise ajal salaja. Ted läks Fat Herbiga lahku 1996. aasta detsembris, kui juhatus lisas mafioosi oma kurikuulsasse mustasse soovimatute raamatusse, kuid kahju tehti.

Mõni nädal hiljem mõrvati Fat Herbi oma kodus löögimehe poolt, kelle palkasid L.A. mobi bossid reketite ülevõtmiseks. Tänaval räägiti, et sihtmärgiks oli ka Ted ja kindlasti pritsis keegi mõne päeva jooksul tema kodu kuulidega. Vegase politseiametnikud soovitasid Claiborne'il Ted linnast välja viia, kuid tekkis probleem: Tedi peatamise tingimus nõudis, et ta esitaks kolm uriinianalüüsi nädalas ja oleks kättesaadav muude juhuslike testide jaoks. "See oli tema elus väga haavatav periood," meenutab Claiborne. "Ta oli praktiliselt oma kodus vang. Mänguasutused ähvardasid ta litsentsi jäädavalt ära võtta. Lisaks olid ta ja ta naine lahus. Doris oli sõltuvusega nii palju aastaid elanud, et naine oli väsinud. Ta ei olnud enam abikaasa, väljavalitu ega isegi kaaslane. ”

Vähemalt mitte talle. Selleks ajaks oli Tedil uus kaaslane, temast poole noorem ülaosata tantsija nimega Sandy Murphy, teise nimega Iiri Veenus. Repo mehe tütar Sandy oli Los Angelese väikeses Bellfloweri äärelinnas olnud teismeliste võistluste printsess, kuid oli keskkooli pooleli jätnud, kui avastas karjäärivõimalused täiskasvanute meelelahutuses ja kiirete vestluste alal. Ted kohtus temaga 1995. aastal Vegase ülaosavabas ühenduses Cheetah’s Lounge. Õhtu lõpus libistas ta talle paar tuhat dollarit, kuid naine viskas selle talle näkku. "Ta pole nagu teised," sõnas ta sõpradele. Tal oli õigus, kuigi mitte nii, nagu ta arvas. Varsti pärast seda, kui Doris Palomino Lane'i majast välja kolis, kolis Sandy sisse-ja ta hakkas elama kõrge krediidikaardiga (tema igakuine arve oli keskmiselt 5100 dollarit), kallid ehted ja Euroopa puhkused, mille kõik tasus Ted. Sandyl oli tehtud nii palju iluoperatsioone, et Becky kord lõhenes: "Ta peab oma järgmise poiss -sõbra jaoks valmis saama." Sandy ja Ted armastasid mõlemad terve öö pidutseda ja terve päeva magada. Varsti võttis ta tema elu üle. Esiteks muutis ta tema maja ümber, asendades Dorise magamistoa mööbli Itaaliast tellitud käsitöökomplektiga, rebides vaiba välja ja asendades selle marmoriga, siis hakkas ta tegelema tema pangatehingutega, jälgima tema telefonikõnesid ja näägutanud teda oma koju panema. tahe. Sandy oli kuulus oma suure suu poolest: ta nimetas Tedit "vanaks" ja "inetuks" ning tunnistas avalikult, et jääb raha pärast lihtsalt ringi. Ted laksutas teda regulaarselt, mida ta näis tehingu osana aktsepteerivat - ta nimetas peksmist "minu karistuseks", kuid ta leppis alati temaga. Ühe eriti kalli lepituse eest ostis ta talle 97 000 dollari suuruse Mercedese.

Nagu Ted avastama pidi, „kiilus” Sandy sageli koos Rick Tabishiga, 33-aastase kiusajaga, kes oli 1997. aastal Vegasesse tulnud kerge raha otsima, jättes koju naise, kaks last ja mõned suured võlad. Missoula, Montana. Kuigi tema isa oli jõukas ärimees, oli ta sinikaelne luuser, kes oli ebaõnnestunud kõikides seaduslikes ettevõtmistes, mida ta kunagi proovis. Tema varad olid tema hea välimus ja sujuv joon, mida ta kasutas, et siseneda Tedi siseringi. Peagi kinnitas ta sõpradele, et „paneb piibu Binioni tüdruksõbrale” ja kasutab teda, et edendada oma plaani varastada suurem osa Tedi varandusest, sealhulgas tonni hõbedat ja haruldasi münte, mis on hoiuseraua võlvides.

Clarki maakonna ringkonnaprokuröri büroo väljastatud vahistamismääruse kohaselt oli Rickil palju suuri ideid. Nevada panga 200 000 dollari suuruse laenuga asutas ta korporatsiooni MRT Transportation of Nevada ja lihastas end tulusa liivakastioperatsiooniga, piinates ja ähvardades ühe partneri tappa. 1998. aasta kevadeks, ütluste kohaselt, oli sinikaellane luuser palganud oma lennuki ja piloodi ning vestles Beverly Hillsis asuva maakleriga Tedi varanduse müümisest. Ricki õhutusel lendas maakler Las Vegasesse, et tema ja Sandy vaatamise ajal hõbedat inventeerida ja hinnata. Maakler hindas selle väärtuseks 5–7 miljonit dollarit.

SHOWDOWN TULI SELGELT üks, mis hõlmas mitte ainult Tedi sassis romantilist elu, vaid kogu Binioni pereettevõtet. Hobuseraua juhatuses, mis tol ajal koosnesid Jackist, Brendast ja Beckyst, oli ägenemine suurenenud (Ted ei saanud oma ametist kõrvaldamise tõttu juhatuses olla ega oma 20-protsendilist osalust hääletada). Küsimus, mis õed -vennad esialgu lõhestas, oli Jacki ettepanek laiendada oma kasiinopakkumisi teistesse osariikidesse. Becky ja Brenda tundsid end otsustusprotsessist välja lõigatud ja ütlesid ei. Kuigi Jackile kuulus 42,2 protsenti aktsiatest, võrreldes tema õdede 9,6 protsendiga, kontrollis Brenda veel 27,5 protsenti ema pärandvara täitjana. Jack leidis aga oma investorid ning avas Mississippis ja Louisianas kasiinod, kasutades Binioni hobuseraua logo. Nagu kohtudokumendid näitavad, veendusid Becky ja Brenda, et Jack kobistas hobuseraua vara teiste oma kasiinode rahastamiseks. Samuti kahtlustasid nad, et ta kavatseb tahvli virnastada „nõuetele vastavamate” kõrvaliste isikutega, ja kartsid, et ta ohustab ettevaatamatult äri, jätkates kasiino piiranguteta poliitikat.

Claiborne võttis ühendust kõigi Benny lastega, pakkudes vaidlust vahendada. "Ma hoiatasin neid," ütleb ta, "et kui nad selle kohtumajja viiksid, oleks see häving mitte ainult Binioni perele, vaid ka Binioni hobuserauale." Claiborne ütleb, et Jack ja Brenda nõustusid temaga kohtuma, kuid Becky ei vastanud kunagi. 1996. aasta jaanuaris esitas Becky Jacki vastu hagi, paludes kohtul ta presidendist tagandada. Kohtunik otsustas, et Becky ja Jack peaksid tegutsema ajutiste kaaspresidentidena, ning käskis olulised otsused teha ühehäälselt ja takistada operatsiooni. Järgmise pooleteise aasta jooksul kibedus eskaleerus ja sai avalikuks. Kohtule esitatud dokumentides väitis Becky, et hobuseraua kasum on järsult langenud pärast seda, kui tema vend hakkas oma tähelepanu pöörama teistele kasiinodele, ning et 1997. aasta juunis lõppeval eelarveaastal kannatas Horseshoe enneolematult 20 miljonit dollarit. Jack vastas, et kaotuste põhjuseks oli ummikseis, mille Becky lõi. Becky süüdistas ka seda, et Jack rikkus mängureegleid, hallas halvasti baccarat ja mänguautomaatide toiminguid ning varjas olulist finantsteavet. Ta ütles, et ta oli postitanud 2 miljoni dollari suuruse võlakirja Mehhiko kõrgete rullide eest, kes mõisteti maksudest kõrvalehoidumise eest vangi, ja laenas talle seejärel veel 4 miljonit dollarit, et mängida teistes kasiinodes - laenu, mida kunagi tagasi ei maksta. Ta ütles ka, et ta sai Indoneesia kõrgete rullidega kõrge intressiga 2,5 miljoni dollari suuruse isikliku laenu, lubades neil samal ajal Hobuseraua juures suuri summasid mängida.

Aprillis 1998 tühistas Nevada mängukomisjon Tedi litsentsi jäädavalt, käskides tal müüa oma 20 -protsendiline osalus hobuseraua. Becky oli öelnud, et hobuseraual ei olnud isegi piisavalt raha, et Tedi intressi osta, kuid korraldus sundis kohtuasja kiiresti lahendama. Äkiliste tehingutega ostis Jack Brenda ja Tedi välja ning müüs seejärel nende ja oma huvid Beckyle, kes sai kahe aasta jooksul tasumisele kuuluva 20 miljoni dollari suuruse soodushinnaga täieliku kontrolli Hobuseraua üle. Mõne hinnangu kohaselt oli hobuseraua tegelik väärtus 80 miljonit dollarit.

Tema sidemed kasiinoga katkesid igaveseks, Ted pidi oma müntide ja valuplokkide kasiinovõlvidest välja viima. Sandy, Rick ja mõned MRT juhid tulid vabatahtlikult appi ning varud hoiti ajutiselt Tedi garaažis. Seejärel sõlmis Ted Rickiga lepingu, et ehitada tema aardele alaline hoiukoht-kümne jala suurune betoonvõlv Pahrumpis asuvale krundile. 4. juulil 1998 kolis Rick ja tema meeskond aarded Tedi garaažist ja sulgesid selle võlvi. Tedi disaini järgi oli võlvlaev Burger Kingi ja Terrible’s Town kasiino vahel, Pahrumpit Las Vegasega ühendaval peateel, kus sissetungijaid kindlasti märgati.

Vaid paar päeva pärast aare sulgemist vaatas Ted oma tahte üle. Kuigi suurem osa tema umbes 30 miljoni dollari suurusest kinnisvarast pidi veel jääma tütrele, kustutas ta paljude vanade sõprade nimed ja pärandas Sandyle 300 000 dollarit, oma kodu ja kogu selle sisu. Et veenduda uue testamendi kehtivuses, lasi Sandy oma juristi selle üle vaadata. Vahistamiskirja kohaselt teatas ta sõpradele, et on ka Tedi miljoni dollari suuruse kindlustuspoliisi kasusaaja. Kummalisel kombel oli armastuse leek ammendunud selleks ajaks, kui Ted selle muudatuse tegi. Tema ja Sandy magasid eraldi magamistubades ja naine tunnistas mitmele inimesele - sealhulgas Tedi aednikule Tom Lovedayle -, et tema narkomaania tõttu ei saanud ta magamistoas esineda. "Ma olen kakskümmend kuus ja vajan seksi," tunnistas ta Lovedayle. Sandy vaevu vaevus oma asja Rickiga varjama. Prokuröride konfiskeeritud dokumendid näitavad, et ta ostis talle Neimani Marcuselt Tedi krediitkaardi abil kalleid kingitusi ja lendas koos temaga Los Angelesse, kus nad registreerusid Beverly Hillsi hotellis meheks ja naiseks.

Augustiks oli Rick tõsistes finantsraskustes. Tema ettevõtte väljastatud tšekid hüppasid üle kogu linna, seadmete liisingufirma saatis 67 000 dollari suuruse maksehäireteate, IRS nõudis 337 000 dollari suurust tagasimakset, tema Montana ettevõte oli jätnud maksmata 75 000 dollari suuruse laenu ja 200 000 dollari suuruse Nevada pangalaenu tähtaeg oli saabumas. Mitmete süüdistuste tunnistajate sõnul tunnistas Rick, et kavatseb Tedi tappa ja aarde varastada, ning hakkas värvama kaas vandenõusid, sealhulgas Tedi rantšo töödejuhatajat. Samuti võttis ta ühendust Montana kauaaegse sõbraga, endise armee valvuriga, kelle nimi oli Kurt Gratzer, ja rääkis talle oma plaanist Ted tappa ning varastada tema kodus olev raha, ehted ja hõbe ning võlvi maetud aare. Gratzer ütles hiljem võimudele, et Rick lubas anda talle osa kindlustusrahast ja uue auto, kui ta löögi teeb. Rick tegi mitu plaani. Esiteks soovitas ta Gratzeril kasutada snaipripüssi. Alternatiivse skeemi kohaselt pidi ta seda tegema ühe Tedi antiigipüstoliga, seejärel rullima keha vaibale ja viskama kivimurru. Kui Gratzer neist skeemidest loobus, soovitas Rick sundida teda alla neelama surmava kombinatsiooni heroiinist ja retseptiravimist Xanax, mille Ted võttis, et aidata oma heroiiniharjumusest lahti saada. Gratzer helistas teisele sõbrale, Montana proviisorile, ja palus tal uurida sellise üledoosi jaoks vajalikku Xanaxi kogust. Nagu Gratzer, rääkis apteeker hiljem oma loo Clarki maakonna prokuröridele.

Vahetult enne Tedi surma levitasid Rick ja Sandy avalduse kohaselt igaüks sõna, et Tedi narkootikumide harjumus on hullem, ja ütlesid, et ühel neist päevadest tapab ta end üledoosi tõttu. Sandy jõi palju, käitus nagu kokaiinis ja räägiks sinist triipu. Mitmed ilusalongi Neiman Marcus töötajad kuulsid tema röökimist umbes 3 miljoni dollari saamise ja maja üle, kui Ted suri heroiini üledoosi tõttu, mis ta ennustas olevat väga varsti. Kolm päeva enne Tedi surma raputasid Sandy ja Rick uuesti Beverly Hillsis.

Sellegipoolest tundus Ted optimistlik. He talked to attorneys about trying to get back his gambling license and to a real estate broker about buying several properties for potential casinos. He talked to a journalist about writing a book and a movie script based on the life of his famous father. He wrote a $1 million check to open a new investment account and donated $40,000 to Las Vegas mayor Jan Jones’s campaign for governor. By this point Ted had guessed that Sandy was having an affair with Rick. He told friends that he was planning to “get rid of the bitch” and unloaded his guns, explaining to his maid that he was afraid Sandy might shoot him. On September 16, one day before his death, Ted called his lawyer and instructed him to “take Sandy out of the will, if she doesn’t kill me tonight.” Later that day, speaking to a ranch hand who was visiting his home, Ted pointed to Sandy and Rick seated in the next room and said, “They got me the best shit that I’ve had in a long time.” The ranch hand assumed that his boss meant heroin. Late that evening Ted’s regular dealer delivered twelve balloons of black tar heroin, and Ted tipped him with thirty tablets from the Xanax bottle he had just had refilled.

The following morning Sandy telephoned the maid and told her, “Ted isn’t feeling well. Don’t come to work today.” About noon, Ted’s real estate broker phoned and was informed by Sandy that he was still asleep and couldn’t be bothered. Police officers now believe that by noon Ted was already dead and that Sandy was busy cleaning up the mess and staging the scene. At 3:47 p.m. Rick telephoned Sandy, and seven minutes later she dialed 911 and reported in a hysterical voice, “My husband has stopped breathing!” The authorities found Ted’s body on a mattress on the floor of his den, partly covered with a sleeping bag. Beside him was an empty bottle of Xanax, and in the bathroom were some narcotics paraphernalia, including a knife and some pieces of foil like those Ted used when he smoked heroin. Police reports at the time indicated “absolutely no evidence…to suggest foul play.”

Nobody who knew Ted bought the cops’ theory. “Ted loved life way too much to kill himself,” said Tony Cook, a former casino manager at the Horseshoe who had known him since high school. “He had such a knowledge of drugs and was such an active drug user, Ted wouldn’t accidentally overdose,” Becky said. Moreover, the scene itself was too pat, too sterile. “As soon as I saw the scene,” Claiborne recalls, “I told them it had been staged.” In fact, several things seemed suspicious, starting with the fact that nobody had ever known Ted to sleep on the floor, much less on a sleeping bag. The bruises and cuts and the position of the body suggested that it had moved after death. Though there were traces of heroin on the knife blade, there was no trace of the drug on the pieces of foil. An autopsy revealed no heroin in Ted’s lungs but high concentrations of both heroin and Xanax in his stomach. This alone should have suggested foul play: Nobody eats black tar heroin.

Prosecutors believe that Rick restrained Ted with handcuffs or thumbcuffs while Sandy mixed up the fatal cocktail in a wineglass. According to this theory, Ted was forced to drink the cocktail and then smothered. The wineglass disappeared, but prosecutors have a videotape filmed the following day that shows Sandy removing a wineglass from a kitchen counter and dropping it in her handbag. A subsequent inventory of the house revealed that a large amount of cash and jewelry were missing, as was a $300,000 collection of rare coins and currency that Ted had kept in his den.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 19—three days before they buried Ted—sheriff’s deputies in Pahrump spotted Rick and two others using a backhoe to break into the vault. All of the silver except a single silver dollar had already been loaded into a tractor-trailer. Rick tried to convince the deputies that he was merely following Ted’s instructions: to sell the silver and set up a trust fund for Ted’s daughter, Bonnie, in case of his sudden demise. When that didn’t fly, he made a crude attempt at bribery, claiming that Ted’s will bequeathed $250,000 to the sheriff. The deputies took the three to jail and charged them with theft. Two days later Sandy bailed her lover out, pledging her Mercedes Benz 500 SL convertible and five pieces of jewelry as collateral.

After her initial hysteria, Sandy calmed herself and went methodically about the task of grabbing what she believed was coming to her. In addition to the $300,000 in cash, the house, its contents, the $1 million insurance policy, and $3 million in savings, she expected a fat check for the literary rights to her story. Things didn’t work out that neatly, however. Ted had indeed obtained forms making her the beneficiary of the policy, but he died before signing them. A probate judge awarded Sandy the items stipulated in the will—Ted’s call to his lawyer was too late—but lawyers for the estate appealed, and Becky filed a separate suit, claiming many of Ted’s personal items. When lawyers at the probate hearing began asking embarrassing questions about Ted’s death and the thousands of dollars in cash and valuables missing from his home, Sandy and Rick both took the Fifth.

While the police did little or nothing, the estate hired a private investigator, former Las Vegas homicide detective Tom Dillard, who turned up a trail of cellular phone conversations and secret meetings between Rick and Sandy, as well as evidence that they had told people about their plot to kill Ted. In December, three months after Ted’s death, the chief deputy district attorney for Clark County, David Rogers, impaneled a grand jury as a tool to continue the investigation that Dillard had started. Over the next three months Rogers called dozens of witness and gathered volumes of information. In March of this year the Las Vegas coroner changed his finding to homicide. In June, the same day Sandy expected an appeals court to validate her take from Ted’s will, she and Rick were arrested and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder and/or robbery.

THE STRUGGLE FOR CONTROL OF BINION’S Horseshoe won’t be officially settled until July 2000, when the $20 million note signed by Becky comes due. The wiseguys are betting that she will default and that Jack will emerge triumphant. Jack’s casinos in Mississippi and Louisiana appear wildly successful, attracting millions of dollars from Texas gamblers.

In the meantime, there are other issues to be resolved. When the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the sale of Ted’s stake to Becky and awarded her a license, it issued explicit instructions that her husband, Nick, had to keep his hands off the business, as it had in 1978 when Becky was running the Silver Star. Many of Benny’s old friends believe that Nick calls the shots at the Horseshoe and refuse to patronize it. So do many Vegas residents who used to be regulars. One of them, a high-stakes gambler named Bob Stupak, sued the Horseshoe because it refused to cash $250,000 in $5,000 chips, including one that he had donated to his church. Though Nick is not an officer of the corporation, Stupak named him as a defendant and charged that he “has done irreparable harm to the Horseshoe.” Nobody is sure how many unredeemed Horseshoe chips are floating around. In January the casino redeemed $10 million in $5,000 chips but refused to cash another $1 million. Another $3 million in chips were discovered in the toolroom of Ted’s ranch. Apparently, he took the chips along with the silver, though nobody knows why.

Benny’s name may glitter in gold, but his soul has gone south. You can get a bowl of Horseshoe Chili for $2.75 at either of the two snack bars on the casino floor, and the late-night steak is still a bargain at $2.99, but Benny would be appalled to discover that somebody has added a Chinese restaurant. The players have lost the wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth intensity that used to make every roll of the dice a life-altering experience. They look haggard and listless, as though they were killing time at a bus station—women with piles of orange hair and tight pants, guys in gimme caps and jeans soiled with the drudge of the oil patch. They look bored or maybe dead. What’s missing is the no-holds-barred élan of the Wild West: dudes with suitcases of cash ready to play the bundle on one hand of Texas Kickass and the delicious possibility that Benny might suddenly appear to air-cool a bottom dealer. The nearest thing these days is a mounted collection of guns once owned by Cowboy and his pals. A Smith and Wesson .38 Special is identified as a piece “owned and carried by Benny Binion during the depression era in Dallas, Texas.” But even that appears suspect. According to old police reports, Benny always used a .45.


Blue Bottle Coffee to sell controlling stake to Nestlé

Some CEOs in the midst of an international deal might camp out in a boardroom. But James Freeman, having just sold a majority stake in Blue Bottle Coffee to Swiss food giant Nestlé, was answering calls and emails from his Old Oakland cafe on Thursday.

The pace was frantic, and the stakes high: Nestlé reportedly paid as much as $500 million for 68 percent of Blue Bottle. Yet Freeman, the company&rsquos founder, remained calm, because, he believed, after 15 years, he was finally turning an obsession into validation.

The hipster world of single-origin, high-end coffee is now big business. It&rsquos becoming a familiar pattern: Blue Bottle is just the latest beloved local food and beverage brand to sell out after its Bay Area ethos of sustainability and craftsmanship attracted the interest of a large corporation. The series of deals &mdash Scharffen Berger, Anchor Brewing Co., Cowgirl Creamery &mdash have a common thread: Love may be priceless, but capital, the lifeblood of business expansion, is dear.

1 of 9 People pose for a photograph after getting a coffee outside of the Blue Bottle Coffee stand in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 9 Martina Elsenhaus' Blue Bottle Coffee drink is seen on a table at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 9 Gottfried Elsenhaus( left) and Martina Elsenhaus (center) who are visiting from Switzerland, sit outside the Blue Bottle Coffee shop as they drink coffee at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

4 of 9 James Freeman (left) and Caitlin Williams Freeman (right) with their children Monroe Freeeman (left), 3 months old, and Linden Pepper Freeman (right), 2 years old, on Wednesday, July 12, 2017 in Geyserville, Calif. Liz Hafalia/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

5 of 9 Sophie Chen (center,left) and Jack Chen (center,right) wait for Sophie's coffee to be ready as they wait outside the Blue Bottle Coffee stand in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

6 of 9 Bags of Blue Bottle Coffee are seen for sale at the cafe in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

7 of 9 Lead barista Lee Cabuhat (left) and cafe leader Elizabeth Boatman (right) chat at the Blue Bottle Coffee shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

8 of 9 Barista Esteban Castillo pours hot water while making a pour over coffee at the Blue Bottle Coffee shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

9 of 9 Jim Shelly, visiting from Philadelphia, looks over the menu before ordering a coffee at the Blue Bottle Coffee stand in the Ferry Building in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

Freeman would not confirm the price Nestlé paid. For Blue Bottle, he said, the deal represents security.

&ldquoWe don&rsquot have to do an IPO. We don&rsquot have to fundraise again. We don&rsquot have to talk to bankers,&rdquo he said.

CEO Bryan Meehan will remain in his role, Freeman will continue as chief product officer and Blue Bottle will be run as a stand-alone company from its Oakland headquarters.

The company traces its roots back to a coffee stand at an Oakland farmers&rsquo market in 2002, which eventually led to a San Francisco outpost in a garage off an alley in Hayes Valley. Freeman prided himself on individual servings of pour-over coffee made from meticulously selected beans.

Money, too, poured over Blue Bottle, which attracted celebrity investors including Jared Leto, Tony Hawk and U2 singer Bono, along with firms like True Ventures, Morgan Stanley and others. The company raised a total of $120 million.

Thanks to the cash infusions, Blue Bottle has 35 cafes in the Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, and plans to add 25 this year, with new outposts in Miami, Boston and Washington. Along the way, it bought Handsome Coffee Roasters, Tonx and Perfect Coffee to expand its offerings to coffee subscriptions and more. Not all deal making went smoothly: In 2015, Blue Bottle and Tartine Bakery announced a merger that would have put loaves and lattes together, but that combination fell through.

Now Blue Bottle will have access to Nestlé&rsquos resources the Swiss company generated $10.5 billion from its operations last year that could be available for investment, according to its annual report, thanks to its sales of everything from Gerber baby food to Kit-Kat candy bars to Purina dog food.

The very scale of Nestlé, though, could stoke fears among Blue Bottle&rsquos fans who think that the upstart &mdash long regarded as the Bay Area&rsquos artisanal answer to Starbucks &mdash will morph into something far different from its market-stand origins. This year, residents of the Lower Haight rejected Blue Bottle&rsquos plan to move into a space on Steiner Street, because the company is now large enough to qualify as a chain.

&ldquoThere are people who are worried that this will mess up the things that they love about Blue Bottle,&rdquo Freeman said. &ldquoThat won&rsquot be the case. We have complete autonomy over everything. I just ask that they trust us.&rdquo

The new backing from Nestlé could even jeopardize Blue Bottle&rsquos position as a Ferry Building vendor &mdash one with two prominent locations in the landmark for gourmands. The marketplace&rsquos &ldquolocal grocer&rdquo ethos highlights small, independent businesses.

Nestlé has bigger concerns. Its Nespresso one-shot coffee machine is a competitor to the Keurig. And Blue Bottle, if it continues to expand at its current pace, could one day become a legitimate competitor to Starbucks, the world&rsquos largest coffee house chain with 24,000 stores in 70 countries.

Specialty coffee is also on the menu for Germany&rsquos JAB Holding Co., which has spent billions in similar acquisitions, gobbling up Peet&rsquos, Stumptown, Keurig Green Mountain and Intelligentsia, all in an effort to challenge Nestlé&rsquos position atop the packaged coffee market.

Blue Bottle executives and investors say the Nestlé deal will help the company develop its technology, open new cafes and roasteries domestically and internationally, and expand its product lines, among other things.

&ldquoGrowth requires capital,&rdquo said Index Ventures partner Mike Volpi, who led his firm&rsquos investment in Blue Bottle. &ldquoEvery shop requires around $700,000 to $800,000. When you&rsquore opening 10 in a year, that&rsquos $7 million, so the numbers add up.&rdquo

Freeman said the company&rsquos rate of growth won&rsquot change under Nestlé. Doubling the number of cafes each year remains the benchmark. It could also seek to buy better, cutting-edge equipment. Outside of that, Freeman says, the Nestlé deal is validation of a lifelong obsession.

&ldquoWhen I first started, it was a fringe interest. People thought I was just this crank about coffee and they wondered why I obsessed over it so much,&rdquo Freeman said. &ldquoThe specialty coffee world has changed. It&rsquos a beautiful thing to see.&rdquo

Justin Phillips is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @JustMrPhillips

Prominent sales

Many Bay Area independent food and beverage brands have sacrificed that independence to gain funds for expansion and wider distribution.


Blue Bottle Coffee Cashes in, Raises $20 Million for Hipster Coffee - Recipes

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New Orleans-style Iced Coffee

Sweet, creamy, and always delicious

What You'll Need

4 qt nonreactive stockpot

Koostisosad

Milk, cream, or dairy alternative

Brew Time
Have Questions?
Jaga

Taust

Initially conceived as an alternative to the erratically composed and often disappointing iced latte, our New Orleans-style Iced Coffee is cold-brewed for 12 hours with roasted chicory and sweetened with organic cane sugar. The end result is a potent concentrate that we cut with organic whole milk. It's sweet, creamy, and consistently delicious.

Grind 12 oz / 340 g of whole bean coffee on a coarse setting. Coffee grounds should be gritty and the particles should be easy to distinguish from one another.

Add the coffee and 1 oz / 28 g of roasted chicory to the stockpot.

Pour 2 qt / 2 L of filtered water into the stockpot. Stir with a wooden spoon until the grounds are fully saturated.

Cover the stockpot, and steep the coffee and chicory for 12 hours at room temperature.

After 12 hours, pour the concentrate, which will be thick and viscous, through a fine-meshed sieve into the jar.

Add 4 tablespoons / 68 g of simple syrup (made from 3 tablespoons each of sugar and water heated until dissolved) to the coffee concentrate. Stir until syrup is incorporated.

Alternatively: Add just enough simple syrup to each serving to sweeten.

Serve over ice, pouring equal amounts of sweetened coffee concentrate and milk or cream (or dairy alternative) into a glass.

Refrigerate any remaining concentrate. Unsweetened, NOLA lasts 7 days. Sweetened, it’s best consumed within 2 days, and with milk, we recommend drinking up—NOLA’s best when made to order.

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We source great coffees, roast them to perfection, and get them to you fresh.


Blue Bottle Coffee faces challenges as it moves to new ground

1 of 3 Jan Tsuchiya (left) and James Cunningham leave Blue Bottle Coffee with their coffees in hand, in Oakland, California, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016 Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

2 of 3 (second from left - right) Kevin Wee, Santi Ponvarin and Pimolpa Sunitchok stand outside Blue Bottle Coffee while enjoying their coffees, in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

3 of 3 Christine Attia (right) grabs her coffee from barista Gabby Gamboa (left), inside Blue Bottle Coffee at Mint Plaza, in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

No matter how many stores Blue Bottle Coffee opens &mdash currently 25 and ticking up &mdash there is always a line for espresso. It is a democratizing force even in the power center of Silicon Valley. At the Oakland company&rsquos Palo Alto cafe, an army clad in high-end khakis slow-marched Thursday toward a barista station bracketed in gilded curlicues and scuffed Spanish tile, the only measure of their impatience the speed at which thumbs flicked iPhone screens. A few of the pre-caffeinated paused to study the boxes of Blue Bottle&rsquos newest product: packets of ground coffee that have longtime observers of the company agog.

The Perfectly Ground Coffee release is just one sign of the Oakland company&rsquos rapid, well-funded growth. Another: On Monday, 14 years after James Freeman started selling coffee at the Oakland Farmers&rsquo Market, the company announced that it was expanding to Boston, Miami and Washington by 2018. Blue Bottle is a test case for how big the beyond-Starbucks generation of coffee companies can grow without sacrificing their standards.

&ldquoWe don&rsquot talk about &lsquoexpansion&rsquo,&rdquo said CEO Bryan Meehan, who joined Blue Bottle in 2012 when a group of investors he led purchased a majority stake in the company. &ldquoThe thing we talk about is improvement.&rdquo

The company&rsquos funding is certainly ever-improving. Unlike Intelligentsia and Stumptown, fellow pioneers of its generation that have been acquired by German holding company Joh. A. Benckiser, Blue Bottle has grown by taking on new investment. The latest round, led by Fidelity in 2015, brought in $70 million, more than doubling the total amount raised in two previous rounds in 2012 and 2014.

Given the pedigrees of the venture capital firms and individual investors who back Blue Bottle &mdash including Morgan Stanley, Index Ventures, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, and actor Jared Leto &mdash online news sites Recode and Wired have tracked Blue Bottle&rsquos investment rounds almost as closely as coffee trade publications have.

One source of the close links between Blue Bottle and tech investors, said Jordan Michelman, co-founder of coffee-industry blog Sprudge, may simply be proximity. The two grew up side by side in the Bay Area. &ldquoSo much commerce, deal-making, and tech development has happened in their cafes or over their coffees over the last 15 to 20 years that has seeped back into the destiny of the brand itself,&rdquo he said.

An elderly dog named Josie walks by a sign for Blue Bottle Coffee right outside the cafe, in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle

A case in point: When payments company Square released a new card-swiping stand in 2013, it chose Blue Bottle&rsquos Mint Plaza cafe as the venue for its introduction. And Blue Bottle has used its venture-backed financial power to buy smaller coffee businesses like Tonx and Perfect Coffee, a strategy straight out of a Silicon Valley playbook.

Blue Bottle opened its first New York store in 2010, and each subsequent round of fundraising has allowed it to move into new cities. In addition to nine Bay Area locations, with three more due this fall, there are seven cafes in New York City, five in Los Angeles and four in Tokyo. The company has 500 employees worldwide.

With the three newest cities, where Blue Bottle will open a total of 10 cafes, the company is changing its growth strategy as well. Unlike the previous four cities, Blue Bottle will not enter each new market with a roastery. Freeman said that, instead, beans will travel quickly from a 20,000-square-foot roasting facility soon to open in Brooklyn, N.Y. Boston and Washington are only hours away. Miami is more of a logistical test, and the company has an older roasting machine ready to ship to Florida if quality dips.

Freeman founded Blue Bottle at the dawn of a nationwide movement to source, roast and brew coffee differently, commonly called the third wave. Rapid expansion isn&rsquot the only difference between Blue Bottle&rsquos approach to growth and that of smaller Bay Area third-wave roasters like Verve and Ritual. Many of its competitors talk up their farm-to-mug approach to brewing coffee, building direct-sales relationships with coffee growers. An almost punk-rock stance toward authenticity pervades the movement.

Blue Bottle, though, has focused from the beginning on creating urban experiences. It bathes in white space, which dominates the company&rsquos packaging. Each cafe is polished in the manner of a high-end eyeglass store, not a corporate restaurant chain. There are no brand messages in sight, only customers snapping Instagrams.

A long line of customers, which overflows onto the street, is seen at Blue Bottle Coffee at Mint Plaza, in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle

Locations are a key part of its strategy. He and Meehan &ldquohave a lot of shared affinities toward finding buildings we like,&rdquo Freeman said. That has included stately ones like the Morse Building in Oakland and 115 Sansome in the Financial District, as well as the High Line elevated park in New York City and sites in stylish neighborhoods in Tokyo and Los Angeles.

Though Freeman, now chief product officer, has ceded many of the logistical details of the company&rsquos operations and expansion to Meehan and the growing team, his personality &mdash self-effacing, charming, persnickety &mdash continues to be the company&rsquos guarantee of quality.

The cafes have refused to grind beans for customers since the beginning, explaining that they didn&rsquot want to compromise their own product. In June 2015, Blue Bottle shut down its wholesale business over concerns about how the cafes that bought its beans prepared drinks.

At the same time, the new funding has allowed Blue Bottle to release several packaged goods: New Orleans iced coffee, made with chicory and organic milk, in 2012, and, more recently, small cans of cold-brewed coffee.

Even its Perfectly Ground Coffee shows a mix of high tech and attention to detail. It uses methods developed by Neil Day, a former chief technology officer at Sears and Shutterfly who developed a process to minimize the oxidation that leaves packaged ground coffee tasting flat and stale.


Blue Bottle Coffee sells to Nestlé – so has it sold out?

When Nestlé announced it had acquired a 68% stake in Blue Bottle Coffee Co earlier this week, the news jolted the highly caffeinated devotees of the chain’s specialist, single-origin coffee.

In the realm of coffees with precisely-calibrated water temperatures and pour-over brew times, customers said the change of ownership is a potential disruption to its loyal but easily spooked customer base.

Steven Plunkett, a fellow customer, recalled how Starbucks,the world’s biggest coffee chain, purchased the California bakery La Boulange for $100m in 2012 and soon closed it down, explaining that blueberry scones and iced lemon pound cakes could not sustain the stores for long-term growth.

Plunkett said that as long as Blue Bottle’s coffee remained up to standard, he’ll “remain a customer. Probably.”

But others had already concluded it could be time to move. Nestlé, they recalled, had been involved in selling controversial powdered baby formula in developing countries in the 1970s. That distant association, they said, was enough to put them off Blue Bottle.

“Nestlé is not an ethical company,” offered Philipa Kerckerinck, a Philadelphia-based instructor with Roots Tribe Yoga. Where one buys coffee, Kerckerinck said, is part of a larger expression of values.

“Where you buy anything right now – especially now – is part of a large point of view around how conscious you want to be about your impact on the world.”

According to reports, Nestlé, the world’s biggest maker of packaged food, paid about $425m for its stake in Blue Bottle, one of a series of deals it has made with specialist food and beverage operations to counter shifting consumer sentiments against big brands.

Under the leadership of veteran healthcare executive Mark Schneider, the Swiss food giant has adopted a new strategic goal to turn itself into a “nutrition, health and wellness” company. Two months after Schneider was installed as CEO in January, he put Nestlé’s US confectionery business, which includes brands like Baby Ruth and Butterfinger, on the block.

For Nestlé, the acquisition of Blue Bottle adds to its multi-billion coffee holdings that includes Nestle and Nespresso and comes during a period of consolidation in the specialist coffee market.

In 2015, Stumptown Coffee Roasters was sold to JAB Holdings, while La Colombe received investment from Chobani yogurt pioneer Hamdi Ulukaya. Starbucks has sought a place in the market and is looking to add “reserve” brands to existing stores and develop standalone, specialist coffee outlets.

Blue Bottle was founded in an Oakland garage in 2002 by former professional clarinet player James Freeman, who was reportedly “washed out” of playing the instrument in local symphonies.

He began serving his first cups of slow coffee at a farmers’ market, relying on a small batch roaster for his beans, and taking the name for his new enterprise from a Viennese folk hero Jerzy Franciszek Kulczycki who, having helped fend off Ottoman invaders in the 17th century, opened a coffee shop called ‘House under the Blue Bottle’.

“One day, I looked up and there were 15 people in line,” Freeman told the Wall Street Journal in 2012. “It’s been like that ever since.”

In Manhattan, Blue Bottle managers were primed to ease customer anxieties over the deal with Nestlé. Pedro Mata said the three central values of the brand – deliciousness, hospitality and sustainability – would not be lost.

“Nestle are endorsing the way we do business and they want us to grow in an organic way. That’s how it it today – a kind of endorsement – but will know in five or 10 years if that changes.” Other employees said Nestlé was an “interesting choice” of investor.

Comparable efforts have not often worked out. In 2001, McDonald’s paid $50m for a 33% stake in the British sandwich maker Pret a Manger that it divested seven years later. The Body Shop was acquired by L’Oreal in 2006 before being sold off earlier this year.

But Ben & Jerry’s, acquired by Unilever in 2000, managed to grow and expand its socially consciousness message under new ownership.

Blue Bottle customers in Manhattan said they hoped their favorite coffee-maker would not be adversely affected.

“They say that nothing is going to change but I don’t know,” offered Christina Schnabel. “Mass production and capitalism are inherently violent.”


The Beauty Queens

Ever since this emerging coffee company began serving their own roasts out of the back of a Williamsburg barbershop, they've turned heads (and not just because of their gorgeous packaging). Led by a Stumptown alum, Parlor offers a small, ever-changing selection of delicately roasted beans you can order online from around the world—if it's too tough for you to make it to the barbershop, that is.

The view from San Francisco's Sightglass Coffee

Photo courtesy of Sightglass Coffee

A more recent comer to the San Francisco game, Sightglass inspires just as much love as the city's long-established boutique brands. Their café in South of Market is one of the country's most striking, and their on-the-lighter-side roasts are presented in the most adorable Kraft bags with handsome info tags—each time you get one, it's like buying a wrapped coffee present for yourself.

One of the Pacific Northwest's finest artisan roasters is located not in Seattle or Portland, but rather between the two, in the small Washington town of Olympia. There, in a region where coffee roasting is almost as popular as beards or beer, Olympia Coffee Roasters devotes loving care to everything from bean sourcing to the almost unbearably handsome packaging.

It's always exciting to see great coffee taken seriously in places you might not expect, and Fayetteville, Arkansas' Onyx Coffee is a great example. From the intricately conceived bags to the roaster's own initials on each batch, this roaster is taking all aspects of craft roasting to the max, showcasing classic styles of coffee like funky, natural-processed Ethiopians to experimental, lactic-acid-processed (!) micro-lot coffees.


9 Best Coffee Brands to Slay Your Busiest Work Days

As busy editors, the most important part of our day is our sacred morning coffee. We're firm believers that caffeine comes first! Before we tackle our morning meetings, grocery shopping, or errands, a cup of coffee &mdash specifically, a large, strong, damn good cup of coffee &mdash is alati korras.

Parimad kohvibrändid

  • Best Everyday Coffee:La Colombe Corsica Blend
  • Best Flavor:Stumptown Coffee Roasters Hair Bender Whole Bean Coffee
  • Best Dark Roast:Death Wish Coffee Co. Whole Bean Coffee
  • Best Medium-Roast Coffee:Peet's Coffee Big Bang Medium Roast
  • Best Mild Roast:Lavazza Super Crema Coffee Blend
  • A Dope Black-Owned Coffee Brand:Dope Coffee Organic Guatemalan Coffee Beans
  • Best Coffee With a Cause:Grounds & Hounds Three Blend Starter Kit
  • A Coffee Brand that Gives Back:Counter Culture Coffee Big Trouble Whole Bean Coffee
  • Best Fair Trade Coffee:Equal Exchange Organic Whole Bean Coffee

How We Chose

For our search through the sea of delicious coffees available for purchase online, we stuck to mostly whole-bean coffee blends (and one or two ground options) to narrow down the playing field, since we find buying whole beans to be most economical for the average consumer. Whether you use a classic drip coffee machine, a stovetop espresso pot, or a pour-over coffee maker at home, these coffee bean brands will make sure you start your morning off on the right foot.

From tried-and-true household names to a brand that claims to make the world's absolute strongest brew, here are the most delicious, versatile, and top-rated coffee brands to cultivate your caffeine buzz.

Best Everyday Coffee

You might be familiar with one of La Colombe's brick-and-mortar cafés across the country &mdash or even their canned Draft Latte line &mdash but we bet you didn&rsquot realize that you can purchase their full line of coffee beans online. What started as a flagship café and bakery in Philadelphia is now an award-winning nationwide coffee brand, and we think La Colombe's Corsica Blend is the best expression of the brand's deliciousness. This blend is made from a mix of beans ethically sourced from Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, and Mexico, and it's named after the ancient Mediterranean island.

The Corsica blend has deep, dark, chocolatey notes and a robust flavor, making it a bold roast that many love to drink first thing in the morning. Many reviewers specifically note that this is their &ldquogo-to morning blend&rdquo since it&rsquos both strong and versatile. The cocoa notes in this blend make it pair especially nicely with milk or cream, although it can certainly stand alone and be sipped black. With consistently positive reviews, a bold yet balanced flavor, and a smooth chocolatey finish that will leave you wanting another sip, La Colombe&rsquos Corsica blend gets our vote for best everyday coffee.


If You’re Still Drinking Iced Coffee Instead of Cold Brew, You’re Doing it Wrong

If you feel you&rsquove seen more cold brew offerings than usual in Target, Whole Foods or whatever nearby grocery store you frequent these days, you&rsquore not crazy. Cold brew coffee has, is and will continue to rise in popularity and sales. And with so many offerings, we set out to find out: Which store-bought cold brew coffees are worth the purchase?

According to stats published by Mintel in September 2017, US retails sales of refrigerated cold brew coffee grew a staggering 460 percent from 2015 to 2017 &mdash and retail cold brew continues to be on the rise. In the report, Mintel predicted the ready-to-drink coffee market will grow 67 percent through 2022. According to Senior Foodservice Analyst at Mintel, Caleb Bryant, ready-to-drink coffee is one of the fastest growing non-alcoholic beverages in the US.

&ldquoIt is convenient, comes in a variety of flavors and is oftentimes cheaper than specialty coffees at coffee houses,&rdquo Bryant tells SheKnows. &ldquoWe also see many brands driving innovation in the category such as the emergence of nitro ready-to-drink coffees.&rdquo

Bryant isn&rsquot exaggerating, either. There are so many brands pushing out their own ready-to-drink cold brew coffee, but we&rsquove narrowed it down to 12 and ranked the best from “solid cold brew” to “the very best.”

Slingshot Coffee Co. bold brew

Based out of Raleigh, North Carolina and launched in 2012, Slingshot is the creation of husband-wife team, Jenny and Jonathan Bonchak. Slingshot offers everything from ready-to-drink teas and coffee to coffee caramels. The Bonchaks’ cold brew, though, take the cake. Described as “light, bright, juicy and fruity,” this cold brew goes down smooth.

You can purchase Slingshot on their website for $20 for a two-pack or at Target or Whole Foods.

Secret Squirrel cold brew coffee

Secret Squirrel isn’t new to the lucrative RTD industry the Los Angeles, California-based roasting and brewing company started making and selling cold brews in 2011 when the concept was still fresh. Now, Secret Squirrel’s cold brew, which is double filtered and cold brewed for 18 to 24 hours, and its other caffeinated products can be found in Target, Whole Foods, Safeway and other stores.

What makes Secret Squirrel set itself apart from the pack is its wide variety of flavors , from dark chocolate mocha cold brew to New Orleans-style chicory coffee and Vietnamese latte.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters original cold brew

Spoon University ranks Stumptown’s RTD cold brew as its No. 1 pick for its consistency, chocolate-y punch and subtle citrus notes. Mida meie like about this Portland, Oregon-based roaster is how smooth it is. You can also pick up Stumptown’s nitro-infused cold brew coffee.

Stumptown cold brew coffees are available at Target, Walmart , Whole Foods and many other stores nationwide for around $3.50 per bottle.

Blue Bottle Coffee cold brew

It&rsquos easy to spot Blue Bottle Coffee&rsquos cold brews it&rsquos in a bite-size silver can with, well, a blue bottle icon on it. Don&rsquot be fooled by the size of this cold brew, though it packs a punch. This road-trip ready cold brew is described as “bright yet chocolatey,” and we’d say that’s accurate.

Blue Bottle cold brew coffee is available on Amazon and at Target, Walmart, Whole Foods and many other stores check stores for prices.

Bizzy cold brew coffee concentrate

Never heard of Bizzy? Neither had we until we put this list together. Apparently, this cold brew is very well-liked by Amazon customers. With nearly 4 stars out of 5 and 185 reviews, Bizzy’s cold brew strong concentrate makes 16 cups of coffee and it’s 67 percent less acidic than traditional coffee.

Bizzy is available on Amazon for $11.39 per bottle.

Chameleon original coffee concentrate

Next time you’re at Whole Foods or Target and you’re feeling that 2 p.m. slump, look for the chameleon. Austin-based Chameleon’s cold brew coffee is favorably reviewed on Google, with many dubbing this brand their go-to ready-to-drink cold brew. One reviewer even went as far as to call this the “best cold brew … ever tasted.” Pair it with almond milk, and you can’t go wrong.

Stok un-sweet black cold-brew coffee

Offered at Target and Walmart, Stok’s cold brew family includes 11 different offerings, including unsweetened, semi-sweet, chocolate and vanilla and they’re all bold and flavorful. What more could you want from a cold brew?

With a 4.6 rating on Walmart and a 4.6 rating on Influenster , Stok drinkers are dedicated and diehard. Maybe it has something to do with Stok&rsquos Arabica-based blend that uses a higher ratio of coffee beans to water than typical hot brewing.

Starbucks cold brew black unsweetened

Can’t go wrong with Starbucks, and clearly many others feel the same. With over 180 reviews and a four-out-of-five star rating on Amazon, Starbucks’ grab-and-go cold brew coffee is well-liked. So, if you’re in the market for very strong, but smooth cold brew, this is a solid option.

Trader Joe’s coconut cold brew coffee concentrate

We said it before and we’ll say it again: This is the best cold brew offered at Trader Joe’s. It isn’t too sweet, it goes down smooth, and it’ll quickly perk you up. It’s affordable, too, priced at $4.99 for at least four 12-ounce cups.

Califia Farms cold brew coffee

If you’re looking for a more decadent cold brew, Califia Farms’ cold brew coffee with almond milk is a creamy dream. With over 200 reviews and a 4.5-star rating on Influenster, this cold brew is catered to those who like their cold brew on the sweeter end. You can find Califia at Target, Walmart, Whole Foods and Kroger.


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