The Coke-owned organic tea company produced a run of 16 oz. tea bottles to bring its product into compliance with the now-scuttled New York City “Big Beverage” regulation. The policy, advocated by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, would have fined some retailers for selling drinks larger than 16 oz. that contain more than 50 calories from sugar per 8 oz. serving. It was scheduled to go into effect this week before a judge struck it down.
The stock bottles contained just a tad less tea than the company’s usual 16.9 oz. PET bottle. But the label, which contained a dig at the policy, was anything but stock, featuring lettering on the side saying “Now in a NYC-Friendly Size.”
“We’ll try to sell through,” said Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman, who had publicly opposed the ban in printed editorials. “We’re still building the brand in New York, though, so every disruption is a pain.”
According to Goldman, about half the bottles have shipped to its New York distributor, while the rest are in the company’s warehouse.
Still, the week wasn’t a total disruption for Goldman, an entrepreneur whose story – along with that of co-founder Barry Nalebuff — will be told in a graphic novel that the two penned, it was revealed this week. Also revealed? Current BevNET publisher Barry Nathanson couldn’t close the deal…