Major news regarding local specialty coffee wars. Blue Bottle Coffee, which already has major capital backing, is in the process of acquiring Handsome Coffee, says a source familiar with the deal. Already moving into Venice and Culver City with expansive cafes, the Oakland-based Blue Bottle is planning to take over the current Handsome space, including the full roasting operation and retail cafe. It means that a local brand started by three ex-Intelligentsia employees will probably get the ax. The details of the acquisition are still under wraps, but it's a rather sad ending for Handsome, which built up a cult following and relatively widespread wholesale network.
Blue Bottle is currently in the process of building out its Venice cafe, while the Culver City location still seems to be in development. That Culver City spot was supposed to include a roastery on site, but that seems superfluous if Blue Bottle roasts in the Arts District.
Blue Bottle owner James Freeman did tell Sprudge in an interview that he likes having a "coffee bar in a roastery–it makes real estate a little harder, because roasteries aren't very space efficient, but if you can find a balance then it's worth not having tons and tons of space."
On the other hand, Handsome, which has consistently been one of the best coffee shops in L.A. since it opened, as had some troubles as of late, with two of the original three founders leaving to fund their own ventures. Handsome Coffee just recently crossed the two-year mark after opening in February 2012.
· All Handsome Coffee Coverage [~ELA~]
· All Blue Bottle Coffee Coverage [~ELA~]