After selling over 1 billion beverages, Honest Tea, organic tea business, is still thriving to make its mark in the industry.
The Bethesda, MD- based company was founded in 1998 by Seth Goldman. Honest Tea is recognized for its bottled teas and juices which contain fewer calories, use of organic sugar cane instead of artificial sweeteners, along with other ingredients gathered from countries overseas like India and China.
This past May, Honest Tea sold 1 billion drinks. Goldman attributes the majority of its success to Coca-cola (Coke). In 2008, Goldman sold 40 percent of its shares to Coke for $43 million. The partnership was established to help Honest Tea reach main stream distributors such as large supermarkets and convenience stores. Coke would also assist the company with maximizing its ability to acquire more consumers on a national level.
A few years later in 2011, Coke purchased an additional 55 percent of Goldman’s stock. This alliance would enable the company to expand even further and gain access to a wider population than it had done during its initial agreement.
Last year Honest Tea reported earnings of $112 million in sales. This year, the business is expected to gross over $130 million.
Honest Tea has become one of the most popular beverages in demand especially within the Washington, DC metropolitan area. It has even made its way to the White House. As noted in The New York Times, Honest Tea is now a preferred beverage by President Barack Obama. He enjoys flavors such as “Black Forest Berry” and “Green Dragon.”
Yet, after achieving such a remarkable goal, Goldman continues to operate 5 percent of its remaining shares in the Bethesda headquarters. Unlike many owners, who sell their companies for a substantial amount of money and retire, Goldman chooses to remain active. He mentioned that most of his profits from the sale have been invested into re-establishing its brand. In the near future, Goldman plans to extend its product line to include infusions of lemonade beverages. The drinks will be supplied primarily at the local grocery chain, Whole Foods.