Pigott family company in Ottawa sues coffee giant

It’s a multi-billion dollar industry and now the coffee war is heating up.

A coffee company owned by a prominent Ottawa family has launched a $600-million lawsuit against a home-brew java giant.

“I feel like David against Goliath some days,” says Club Coffee CEO John Pigott, holding up his company’s single serving coffee pod, “that’s my stone and I’m not afraid to throw it.”

Pigott, son of the late prominent Ottawa business woman and MP Jean Pigott, has been in the food industry for decades.  His family started Morrison Lamothe Bakery in Ottawa 82 years ago, since then transforming it into a frozen food giant.  Pigott started Club Coffee, a division of Morrison Lamothe Inc., in 2007.  The company manufactures coffee pods that fit the Keurig and Keurig 2.0 machines.

While Club Coffee has sold hundreds of millions of pods world-wide, Pigott says Keurig is now trying to stop them from growing further in the industry.  Pigott says Keurig Green Mountain is now forcing large retailers to sign long-term exclusivity contracts, blocking Club Coffee and other smaller companies, from getting shelf space.

“What really upset us are stories that this company told, suggesting that people should sign long term contracts, should work with them, and exclude the competition.  I think this is fundamentally wrong,” says Pigott.

“Competition is really good for the consumer, it gives them variety, it certainly gives them value because we are charging less than they are,” adds Pigott, “I’m battling the company who’s misleading the consumer, misleading their customers and calling out the truth.”

Pigott says Club Coffee manufactures a fully compostable pod, offering less waste than the traditional Keurig pod.

In a statement to CTV, Keurig Green Mountain VP of Corporate Communications & IR says, “We believe the suit is totally without merit and we intend to defend it vigorously.”

Pigott says with 71-percent of Canadians drinking their first cup of coffee at home, the coffee pod industry is one of the fastest growing.

The lawsuit is expected to take years to be resolved.  Pigott says like a good cup of coffee, it is worth the wait.

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