Sunday, April 01, 2001

What's the Buzz?

Coffee Web site experiment ends

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The days of waking up and logging on to your computer to create your own special blend of Millstone coffee are over.

        Procter & Gamble, Millstone's owner, has shut down its 3-month-old experiment customizing blends of Millstone coffee at its Web site, which was closed in the middle of March.

        The Cincinnati-based consumer-products giant has no immediate plans to reopen the Web site, said Erin Flowers, a P&G spokeswoman.

        She emphasized that the site was considered a “great internal success because it got tons of great feedback and lots of interest. It just didn't fit with the brand's future plans.”

        Ms. Flowers declined to elaborate.

        Analysts have speculated that P&G, which recently announced 9,600 job cuts worldwide — including 1,900 in Cincinnati — discontinued the Internet initiative to help reduce costs.

        No jobs will be lost in the closing of the Web site, P&G said.

        Millstone, a gourmet brand started in Seattle in 1981 and acquired by P&G in 1995, is the second-best-selling whole-bean coffee in the United States, not including private labels.

        It ranks one spot ahead of Starbucks in the category, where A&P's Eight O'Clock whole-bean coffee is the top-selling brand.

        P&G also competes in the category with its Brothers Gourmet Coffee brand.

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