Bethesda, MD January 29, 2007 – Honest Tea, maker of the nation’s top-selling organic bottled tea*, announced today that it has received $12 million in equity financing from three primary sources: top-tier beverage distributors; Stonyfield Farm, Inc. and Inventages Venture Capital Investment Inc, an international private equity firm specializing in health science and wellness.
“The timing for this infusion is perfect,” said Seth Goldman, President & TeaEO. “We’ve been enjoying strong growth since we started Honest Tea out of my house in 1998 but we’re seeing sales and distribution reach a new level as consumers seek healthier beverages.” Honest Tea co-founder and Chair, Barry Nalebuff said, “Whether it’s the great taste, lower-calorie profile or organic formulations, people are responding to Honest Tea. This is the time to take things to the next level and now we have the financing and the partners to bring our tea to a mainstream audience.”
The company, which accounts for 58 % of the certified organic bottled tea market as tracked by SPINSscan*, had sales of $13.5 million in 2006 and has been averaging 50%+ growth for the past two years, will use the proceeds of the financing to hire new people to expand distribution and introduce several products in 2007 including new varieties, new packages, and a breakthrough children’s line called Honest Kids.
*Data according to SPINSscan for the 12 month period ended December 2, 2006
Gary Hirshberg, President & CE-Yo of Stonyfield Farm, first joined Honest Tea’s board when his company made an investment in 2002. “We have long supported Seth and Honest Tea’s efforts to provide a quality product and capitalize on a growing market – most recently, we mixed Honest Tea’s Kashmiri Chai with our organic vanilla ice cream to create our very popular Vanilla Chai ice cream,” says Hirshberg. “This stepped-up investment reflects our continued excitement and renewed confidence in the potential for Honest Tea to become one of the nation’s top organic beverage companies.”
Dr. Gunnar Weikert, Chairman of Inventages, will join Honest Tea’s board, alongside Hirshberg, Goldman and Nalebuff. The other board members are Jeffrey Swartz, President & CEO of The Timberland Company, Tim Tenney, President & CEO of Pepsi-Cola of the Hudson Valley and Robin Prever, former CEO of Saratoga Beverage Group. “Honest Tea has shown that consumers are passionate about a bottled tea that actually tastes like tea, not liquid candy. We see great potential in what Honest Tea has started and we look forward to helping the enterprise grow.” said Weikert.
Honest Tea has several new varieties it is launching in the first quarter of 2007:
In 16.9-ounce recyclable PET bottles:
. Pomegranate White Tea with Açaí
. Orange Mango, Organic Thirst Quencher
In 16-ounce glass bottles:
. Pomegranate Red Tea with Goji Berry
. Sublime Mate – yerba mate with lime
. Honest Kids – the nation’s first organic kids drink packaged in a portable pouch, in three flavors, Berry Berry Good Lemonade, Goodness Grapeness, and Tropical Tango Punch. Each variety is certified organic, contains less than half the sugar and calories of other kid’s drinks on the market and provides a full day’s supply of Vitamin C.
. In 64 ounce PET multiserve bottles — Just Green and Just Black – unsweetened, organic and Fair Trade teas in family sizes.
Honest Tea is the nation’s best-selling and fastest-growing organic bottled tea company with a mission to make great-tasting, truly healthy organic beverages sweetened with less sugar and calories than most bottled drinks. The company has been repeatedly ranked in Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies in the United States. Honest Tea’s products include organic ready-to-drink tea and thirst quenchers in both glass and plastic bottles. All varieties are certified Organic by the USDA and Kosher by the Orthodox Union. For more information about the company and its products, visit www.honesttea.com.