Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (UNKNOWN:GMCR.DL) has been collecting some welcome but occasionally surprising awards lately.
Set aside the K-Cup rack on the trophy case shelf to make room for these shiny accolades:
- Today, the company's revealing that its Keurig Vue brewing system won a 2013 gold Edison Award in the consumer packaged goods beverage preparation category.
- On Wednesday, it announced that its Barista Prima Coffeehouse Vanilla Latte Café -- a K-Cup flavor for the Vue platform -- was tapped as New Product of the Year in the hot beverage category of Automatic Merchandiser Magazine's 2013 Readers' Choice Awards.
- For the second year in a row, Keurig was recognized as "Brand of the Year" in the coffee maker category for the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Equity Study that was revealed last week.
- Also last week, Trust Across America singled out Green Mountain Coffee Roasters among 2,000 public companies it researched as the Most Trustworthy Public Company for 2012.
The first and second awards may be surprising to those who still see Keurig as a maker of non-specialty coffee, unaware of what's possible with the Keurig Vue platform that was introduced last year. The final award on trustworthiness may even seem like a spoof to those recalling the bearish accusations of flawed accounting at the company a couple of years ago.
In the end, Green Mountain has come a long way.
The shares have more than tripled since bottoming out last summer. Worrywarts at the time feared that Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) would eat into the company's dominant market share with its espresso-centric coffee maker. There were also fears that last September's expiration of K-Cup patents would translate into the end of growth at Green Mountain.
Well, Green Mountain is still alive and growing.
Starbucks' Verismo has turned out to be a niche product within the much larger coffee maker market, and Starbucks continues to nurture its relationship with Green Mountain as a popular provider of Keurig brews. The expiration of the two patents related to K-Cup portion packs has opened the door for third parties to explore private-label opportunities, but there's still something to be said about working directly with Green Mountain for optimal positioning.
Green Mountain reports financial results in two weeks, and investors will probably like what they see. Analysts see revenue and earnings climbing in the mid-teens. Yes, Green Mountain used to grow a lot faster than that, but the post-Verismo and post-patent expiration collapse that bears were calling for failed to materialize.
Green Mountain's still pouring it out -- and collecting awards.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz owns shares of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. The Motley Fool recommends Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. It recommends and owns shares of Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.