Royal Cup Coffee has been in operation since 1896 and continues today as a privately-held, family-owned and managed company. It has grown from small, humble roots to become a major importer, roaster and distributor of premium coffees and teas. With operations from coast to coast, Royal Cup is a Food Service and Office Coffee Service national powerhouse, providing coffees and tea to some of the country’s most recognizable and influential brands. Royal Cup operates one of the nation's most extensive Food Service and Office Coffee route delivery systems, allowing fresh products to be delivered directly to businesses across the country. Royal Cup is involved in the entire supply chain process, from roasting, distributing, and serving our coffees and teas. The strong relationships and service-oriented values implemented with Royal Cup's first route are the same qualities that contribute to our successes today. Company policy encourages all employees to present themselves in a professional manner, greeting all with a hearty handshake and a warm smile.

The Royal Cup office coffee division specializes in designing, implementing, and maintaining remarkable office break room programs on a local and national level. The Royal Connection partnership provides organizations with a national break room program customized for your company's specific desires. Combining skilled expertise with personal service, quality products, and noteworthy professionalism, Royal Cup provides solutions to meet your company needs. Give us a call, and let us show you why Royal Cup Coffee is an experience worth savoring.

Royal Cup Coffee Timeline


Batterton Coffee Company 1896

The Beginning

The company was founded in this year by Henry T. Batterton as the Batterton Coffee Company in Birmingham, AL. Mr. Batterton was the first coffee roaster in the state of Alabama.


Batterton Coffee Company 1909

Batterton Coffee Company Moves

The company outgrew its original building and moved to a new facility pictured here on 1st avenue north and 24th street in downtown Birmingham.


Food line during the depression

The Depression Years

During the years of the Great Depression, the company did well due to the fact that the public viewed coffee as an essential commodity. This picture shows people standing in line for a free cup of coffee.


Mr. Batterton and Royal Cup Coffee package

Batterton's Royal Cup Coffee

Mr. Batterton's coffee was so fresh and flavorful, it was deemed fit for royalty. A label of the "Royal Cup Coffee" blend is shown here.

Mr. Batterton Passes Away

Mr. Batterton and his wife were killed in an automobile accident, and the bank took over control of the company.


WWII poster

Coffee Rationing During to WWII

During World War II, coffee became scarce and had to be rationed. Instead of allocating it's supply carefully to all of its customers, Batterton Coffee Company sold coffee mainly to several large customers. This hurt the company's position with many of the neighborhood grocers who had been left without coffee.


Batterton Coffee Company 1950 and news article

W. E. Smith of Birmingham Purchases Batterton Coffee Company

In this year, a group of investors lead by William E. Smith of Birmingham purchased the coffee company from Mr. Batterton's estate, and the company's name was changed to Royal Cup, Inc.

Royal Cup Coffee Grows

During the 1950's, a concentrated effort was made to win back the friendships and business of the neighborhood grocers lost during the war years. This is a picture of the Royal Cup building on 24th street and 1st avenue south in Birmingham.


W. E. Smith and Royal Cup Office Coffee advertisement

1963 - Bunn Introduces the Auto-Drip Coffee Maker

The Bunn-o-Matic Corporation introduced the first automatic drip coffee maker for commercial use, revolutionizing the way coffee was brewed.

1968 - W. E. Smith, Jr. Takes Over as President

In this year, William E. Smith was diagnosed with cancer and passed away within six months. It was at this time that his oldest son, William E. Smith, Jr., left his employment at General Mills to take over as president of Royal Cup. He was 26 years old at the time.

1968 - The Office Coffee Division Begins

In this year, the office coffee division was established to provide service to companies offering coffee as a benefit to their workforce.


New Royal Cup Facility and Joe DiMaggio ad

1972 - The Auto Drip Brewer For Home Use

Bunn-o-Matic introduced the first commercial quality automatic drip coffee brewer for home use in this year. In the same year, Mr. Coffee marketed their home brewer with the help of Joe DiMaggio.

1976 - Royal Cup Moves its Facility

To support its rapid growth, Royal Cup relocated to its current location just north of Birmingham in the Pinson Valley area.


Office soda dispenser, Hatton Smith and William Smith

1985 - Coca Cola Fountains Offered to Offices

Royal Cup began offering Coca Cola fountain drinks to offices through the office coffee division.

1989 - Hatton C. V. Smith Becomes President

Hatton C. V. Smith assumed responsibility as president of Royal Cup, and William E. Smith, Jr. became chairman of the company at that time. Hatton (left) and Bill (right) are pictured sitting on burlap bags filled with green coffee beans.


Batterton Coffee Company 1896

1996 - Royal Cup Celebrates 100 Years

Royal Cup celebrated its 100th anniversary in the fall of 1996. A new logo was introduced that year, as well as the adoption of the unique "lion head" as another symbol of the company.

1997-1998 - Royal Cup Expands its Campus

In 1997, Royal Cup occupied a new warehouse facility on its headquarters campus. Also, in 1998 a new office facility was completed. This facility addition brought the Royal Cup corporate campus to it current state.

1999 - Royal Cup Begins Offering Flavia

Royal Cup began offering the Flavia single-serve coffee solution in the office environment.


Batterton Coffee Company 1896

2001 - September 11th

During the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Royal Cup partnered with Outback Steakhouse, a longtime customer, to provide coffee and other provisions to the rescue workers at "ground zero".

2004 - "Best In Business"

Royal Cup was recognized the by The Birmingham Business Journal in receiving the "Best in Business" Award for companies with more than 400 employees.


Batterton Coffee Company 1896

2007 - Royal Cup Expands On The West Coast

In this year, Royal Cup continued expanding its west coast route delivery operations by going to California, allowing Royal Cup to serve the best coffee from coast to coast to coast. Royal Cup was already operating in the pacific Northwest.

2008 - Office Coffee Operator of the Year

Royal Cup was recognized as the office coffee service operator of the year by the Automatic Merchandiser publication.

2008 - The Newcomen Society

Hatton C. V. Smith and William E. Smith, Jr. of Royal Cup were guests of honor and speakers at the "2008 Alabama Meeting" of the Newcomen Society. The Society is an "educational foundation founded in 1923 for the study and recognition of achievement in American business."


Batterton Coffee Company 1896

114 Years of History

Royal Cup continues today as a privately-held, family-owned and managed coffee roaster and distributor. It provides route distribution directly to customers in approximately 28 states with distribution throughout the remainder of the US through the licensees program. The strong relationships and service-oriented values implemented through the first route are the same qualities that contribute to our successes today. "Savor the Experience" of Royal Cup Coffee.