Taste Radio Episode 618

What Keeps Emma Chamberlain Up At Night? It’s Not The Coffee.

+ Christopher Gallant, Chamberlain Coffee & Buster Houston, Alberstons


Emma Chamberlain isn’t jaded by the ebb and flow of beverage entrepreneurship. Not yet, anyway.

On the contrary, the 22-year-old, who rose to fame as a YouTube creator and has since become one of the most prominent influencers in the world, says that she revels in the daily lessons learned from building her coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee. 

Founded in 2020, Chamberlain Coffee sells whole beans, matcha and instant coffee direct-to-consumer and also markets ready-to-drink dairy-free lattes that are carried by Whole Foods, Albertsons, Walmart and Target. 

We sat down with Emma and Chamberlain Coffee CEO Christopher Gallant at the 2024 Beverage Forum, held last week in Manhattan Beach, California, for a conversation about the brand’s development and growth strategy, why its identity is anchored by love and modernity, and how collaborations with other brands is determined by a set of “filters.”

This episode also features a conversation with Buster Houston, the vice president of national merchandising for supermarket giant Albertsons. Buster offers a deep dive into Albertsons’ merchandising strategy and the “four p’s” that dictate decision-making; how packaging impacts shelf placement and, in turn, generates trial; why slotting fees aren’t as cut and dry as they may seem and how early-stage brands can start a conversation with the retailer.  

In this Episode

0:35: Interview: Emma Chamberlain, Founder & Chris Gallant, CEO, Chamberlain Coffee – Ray makes Emma blush before she and Chris discuss Chamberlain Coffee’s progress at Whole Foods, how the brand is generating velocity at the retailer and how they are attempting to cultivate love for the brand among Emma’s followers. They also talk about how product mix enables them to reach a broader audience, creating a coffee company for modern consumers, convincing Starbucks consumers to try Chamberlain Coffee and why Emma is constantly fascinated by the beverage industry.
14:03: Interview: Buster Houston, VP National Merchandising, Albertsons – Buster riffs on his first name before discussing the complexity and key elements of a successful merchandising strategy. He also talks about the evolution of package design and how it applies to esoteric beverages, what might compel Albertsons to take a flier on a new or innovative brand, the art and science of merchandising, and how the company uses internal and external data to make merchandising decisions. He also explains how brands can “graduate” out of the natural sections of its stores, the reason that he describes slotting fees as part of a partnership with Albertsons and why he encourages founders to email him.

Also Mentioned

 Chamberlain Coffee, Starbucks, 818 Tequila