Five months after Will Kreutz has sold his coffee brand to Lëtz Coffee for a confidential sum, the transition is coming to an end. Since this week the online shop has been transferred to the director of Lëtz Coffee, Olivier Delrue.
I am a coffee lover
From tea to coffee
It all started in 2019. "Mr. Kreutz came to me for a collaboration," Delrue explains. At the time, the amount he asked for was "astronomical". "I said I wasn't interested". Kreutz returned in 2021 with what Delrue calls a "more reasonable" offer. This time Delrue seized the opportunity.
His lawyers carefully drafted the agreement for the transfer of the business and the brand, to avoid any problems, as had been the case with the Moulin Dieschbourg company, which Will Kreutz had put on notice for having, according to him, misappropriated his "Roude Léiw” brand. "The red lion belongs to the Lëtz company," Delrue says.
CEO of the Harney and Sons tea brand for Europe from Luxembourg, the now 53-year-old diversified his business with the creation of Lëtz Coffee in 2018. "I am a coffee enthusiast", he declares. An enthusiast with a pronounced taste for specialty coffee.
Thanks to Bio Roude Léiw coffee, Delrue sees the opportunity to offer a range "accessible to everyone", with a price per kilo that revolves around €28, tocompared €52 for his usual products. An without losing quality. "I have already taken over all the roasting" of the Bio Roude Léiw products. Another product caught his attention: the wooden capsule, a Bio Roude Léiw project that Lëtz Coffee has taken over and intends to expand.
The company also has other plans. It has invested more than a million euros to expand its premises in Rambrouch from 600 to 1,600m2 in order to create a "roasting school". It is due to open in September. The director also wants to launch Lëtz Coffee France and Belgium. One to three new recruits could join the team of three people in 2022 to support this growth. The crisis has not shaken the company, since when B2B sales have decreased, B2C sales have largely compensated. Lëtz Coffee ended 2021 with a turnover of €1.8 million.
Devoting itself to Gëlle Fra
Bio Roude Léiw's turnover was €400,000. This is, more precisely, the turnover of Atypical SARL, Will Kreutz's company, but "that's [coffee] all I was doing", he explains. That's why he decided to part ways with the brand. "From a volume point of view, it was no longer possible. I was doing everything on my own: packaging, delivery. He says he has driven 200,000 kilometres in the last two years alone. "I didn't want to start developing a structure, I had to find someone who already had the logistics.” After a year and a half of searching, Lëtz Coffee appeared to be the ideal buyer. Will Kreutz had created the brand six years ago. It has attracted 1,000 private customers and 120 sales outlets in Luxembourg.
I found it hard to let go of the baby.
The 65-year-old, who comes from the world of communications where he earned a reputation as an "enfant terrible", wanted to "do something else" when he created Bio Roude Léiw. He had actually joined Solar Wood as marketing director in 2014 but left in 2018. "It was a special market, I don't speak the language of engineers". Today, "I have retired from communication for the most part, I still just work for some clients".
The agreement with Lëtz Coffee prohibits him from working in the coffee industry in and around Luxembourg for the next three years, but he is still being asked to work on projects as far away as Majorca, though he does not provide any details. Above all, Kreutz intends to devote himself to the other brand created in 2017: Gëlle Fra. He has already released a "high-end" crémant with the Henri Ruppert estate and plans other partnerships, from crémant to local whisky to chocolate. "This will develop further. In the course of the year, four or five products will follow".
This will keep his mind busy, as he admits that he had "difficulty letting go of the baby" that was Bio Roude Léiw. Especially at a price that he feels "does not reflect what the company was worth. But I accept it". He also points out that the payment by Lëtz Coffee is still spread over several months. Today, Kreutz says he is “turning the page”.
This story was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.