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Dunkin’ Donuts Is Finally Joining the Bottled Coffee Fray

What took them so long?

Dunkin' Donuts coffee cups m01229/Flickr

Dunkin’ Donuts can’t match Starbucks in size — it has around 11,000 stores worldwide vs. the Seattle-based giant’s 23,000 — but nonetheless, it does its best to give the Pumpkin Spice Latte slinger a run for its money: Over the past year it’s doubled down on espresso drinks, introduced its own mobile ordering platform, and gotten into the cold-brew game.

Now, it’s also gunning for a piece of the bottled coffee market. Starbucks has long dominated the category with its bottled Frappuccino drinks, but the Wall Street Journal reports Dunkin’ will launch its own bottled coffee in early 2017.

But underneath the Starbucks-versus-Dunkin’ narrative, there’s even bigger competition: the age-old Coke against Pepsi rivalry. Starbucks’ bottled coffee drinks, which have been on shelves for more than two decades, are made by PepsiCo, while Dunkin’s soon-to-launch beverages will be made by Coca-Cola.

Packaged, ready-to-drink coffee is nothing new, but as soda sales decline, Coca-Cola is betting that coffee will be essential to its future success, and it’s pouring money into the category accordingly. In addition to the Dunkin’ venture, Coke also recently announced it’s launching a line of Gold Peak brand cold-brew coffee drinks. Gold Peak is known for tea, though, so getting people to buy its cold-brew may be a bit of a stretch, while Dunkin’ will have instant brand recognition.

Coke’s got a steep uphill climb ahead of it if it hopes to compete with PepsiCo in the ready-to-drink coffee realm, however: As the WSJ notes, PepsiCo’s Starbucks drinks dominate a whopping 75 percent of the market share. (Its next closest competitor, Monster, has just 15 percent.)

Dunkin hasn’t released many specific details on its new product line yet (such as whether or not they’ll be bearing the catchy “Dunkaccino” name?), but according to a press release the drinks will be made with “Arabica coffee blends” and “will include real milk and sugar in a variety of flavors.”

Meanwhile, fans of ready-to-drink bottled coffee that don’t want to give their money to Coke or Pepsi have plenty of other options: From pseudo-indie brands like Stumptown to truly independent coffee producers, there are a crap-ton of tasty packaged cold-brew options on the market right now.

Coca-Cola to Produce, Distribute Bottled Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee [WSJ]
Coca-Cola Bets Big on Coffee [E]
More Coffee Coverage [E]