“I saw firsthand over many years working with Steve at Tazo what he can do to drive innovation in product as well as sales and marketing strategies,” said Tal Johnson, Managing Partner of Adventure Funds and current board member for the Kemper Company. “We’re glad to have him join Kemper’s board.”
Steve Smith, a beverage innovator and pioneer founded Tazo Tea in 1994 and led the branding, marketing, tea blending, and other aspects of the business. Steve was among the first to innovate with brewed tea and juice in concentrate. He was instrumental in building Tazo into a national brand in hot tea, chai, and RTD. Tazo Tea became a subsidiary of Starbucks Coffee in 1999. Prior to Tazo, Steve co-founded and was Teamaster of Stash Tea.
“As a Northwesterner, I’ve known the Thomas Kemper brand and products for a long time,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to working closely with the board and management at Thomas Kemper to help build the Kemper brand and product line. I see opportunities for growth in a category driven by authentic quality and innovation.”
Steve Smith joins current board members Bill Germano (CEO, Thomas Kemper), Tal Johnson (Managing Partner, Adventure Funds), and Ed Maletis (Chairman, Columbia Distributing).
About Thomas Kemper Soda Co.
Thomas Kemper Soda Co. is an independent, employee-owned company that produces classic varieties of craft-brewed cane sugar soda as well as premium low calorie soda. The company got its start in the explosive craft microbrew scene of 1980’s Seattle. Today, Thomas Kemper maintains the same Northwest spirit at its Portland, Ore., headquarters and continues to bottle its soda in small batches. Thomas Kemper products are available at grocery stores, finer retailers, and restaurants throughout the Western U.S. with growing availability across the rest of the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.tksoda.com.