A pioneer of New Zealand's cafe culture, Atomic Coffee Roasters, has been sold to Singapore-based Cerebos Pacific, in a move that is boosting its distribution nationwide.

Cerebos, controlled by Japanese brewer Suntory, bought the coffee roaster for an undisclosed sum in April from co-founder David Thomas and his wife Louise Pagonis.

It hopes Atomic will allow it to capture some of the growth that has seen the firm grow in just over a decade from servicing the popular Atomic Cafe in Auckland's Ponsonby Rd to roasting between 7 and 8 tonnes a month, worth around $1 million a year. Atomic general manager Harry Gosselman said: "[Cerebos] has never been able to achieve the upper end of the market, which is where we come in."

Cerebos owns the Greggs instant coffee and Robert Harris brands.

It wants Atomic to expand its South Island sales, growing the contribution from 10 per cent of total sales to around 30 per cent.

Cerebos' buying power will also help Atomic offset the worldwide surge in coffee prices following concerns of a supply squeeze from producers such as Vietnam and Brazil.

Gosselman said Atomic would continue to operate as a stand-alone entity.

Atomic Coffee Roasters started in 1992 servicing the Atomic Cafe using a 4kg roaster. It was spun off from the cafe in 1996.

Thomas was not available for comment.

Cerebos' New Zealand arm, Cerebos Greggs, started in 1861 as W. Gregg & Co in Dunedin, which specialised in coffee roasting, spice and food manufacture.

Meanwhile, another Auckland roaster, Allpress Espresso, has denied talk it has been courted by international food giant Nestle.