The AriZona Maverick

Calling him the “blue-collar anti-CEO,” Time Magazine featured a story on Don Vultaggio, the co-founder of AriZona Iced Tea, in a special section on “Business Mavericks” this week (April 10, 2006).

According to Time, Vultaggio will spend a Friday night on a forklift, unlike other CEO’s.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Vultaggio prefers the forklift to the corner office because he is more at home on the warehouse floor. “Some may call that micromanaging,” says Vultaggio of his hands-on approach. “I don’t know what that is. To me, it’s just normal,” Time wrote.

In the story, Vultaggio is quoted as calling Lipton “garbage,” says that Coke marketing executives are “out there covering their asses,” and declares that Cadbury-Schweppes owners no longer consider Snapple “even worth talking about.”

Time declares that Arizona has grown through solid pricing, clever, interior design-worthy packaging and healthy new products, and describes Vultaggio’s rise through beer distributorships to the tea business, where he understood that the real opportunity lay in pricing. According to Vultaggio, his sales force had an easy time:

“Some of those guys couldn’t sell lemonade in Saudi Arabia in the summer, and they come back with orders,” he says.