AUSTIN, Texas ¡V June 2, 2004 ¡V Just in time for the summer selling season, Sweet Leaf Tea”§ is being added to the vaults of more than 500 company-operated 7-Eleven”¥ (NYSE: SE) stores in Texas and Colorado. All-natural, bottled Sweet Leaf Tea is being introduced as a new product to the 7-Eleven stores based on customer requests for a fresh, flavorful and thirst-quenching, all-natural alternative to carbonated beverages.
7-Eleven stores will initially carry four of Sweet Leaf Tea¡¦s popular flavors ¡V Original Sweet Tea, Original Diet Sweet Tea with Splenda”¥, Mint & Honey Green Tea, and Raspberry & Tangerine Tea. The convenience retailer will evaluate adding the remaining four flavors of Sweet Leaf Tea products ¡V Lemon & Lime Unsweetened Tea, Peach Tea, Diet Peach Tea, and Organic Hibiscus Tea. The new Organic Hibiscus and Splenda-sweetened Diet Peach teas are the most recent introductions to the Sweet Leaf Tea line-up of ready-to-drink iced tea flavors, and were introduced to distributors, retailers and consumers in April.
Based in Austin, Texas, Sweet Leaf Tea is committed to brewing iced tea with natural ingredients, including the USDA-certified organic Hibiscus tea in response to consumers¡¦ request for a caffeine-free option, in addition to the growing popularity of organic beverages. Sweet Leaf Tea products are currently distributed in 16 states and sold by some of America¡¦s best-recognized retailers.
Sweet Leaf Tea vice president of sales David Smith said that expanding distribution through its new agreement with 7-Eleven represents a milestone for the company.
¡§Besides being the premier name in the convenience store industry, 7-Eleven is well known for its highly customized, by-store merchandising system, so we believe Sweet Leaf Tea will be sold in Colorado and Texas 7-Eleven stores where 7-Eleven already has identified potential consumer demand,¡¨ Smith said. ¡§We¡¦re quite proud of what we have accomplished in a few short years at Sweet Leaf Tea, and we view 7-Eleven¡¦s decision to introduce Sweet Leaf Tea in 500 stores as a validation of the products¡¦ quality.¡¨
¡§Introducing a constant flow of new products is a hallmark of 7-Eleven¡¦s merchandising strategy,¡¨ said Debbie Wildrick, 7-Eleven category manager for non-carbonated beverages. ¡§Our customers have told us they want a refreshing, non-carbonated beverage like the Sweet Leaf Tea products. We will gauge customer demand as we try this brand in our stores in Colorado and Texas to determine if we want to add additional flavors and perhaps, later, offer the product in other markets.¡¨
More information about Sweet Leaf Tea, and where its products are sold, can be found at www.sweetleaftea.com.
About Sweet Leaf Tea
Based in Austin, Texas, Sweet Leaf Tea was founded in 1998 by Clayton Christopher. The idea was conceived on a road trip through Alabama and Mississippi, where Clayton was inspired by the quality and abundance of homemade sweet tea being served in local restaurants. Yet, for all the delicious iced tea being brewed at home and in restaurants, there was no bottled tea on the market that tasted like real iced tea. After tasting teas from all over the world and brewing countless batches from old Southern recipes in crawfish kettles in Clayton¡¦s kitchen, Sweet Leaf Tea was born. What began as an operation out of a warehouse in Beaumont, Texas, Sweet Leaf Tea has grown significantly since its founding with distribution agreements in 16 states and counting. Sweet Leaf Tea offers iced tea lovers eight delicious flavors made with no artificial flavors, coloring or sweeteners. Consumers can buy Sweet Leaf Tea products at many grocery and retail outlets, including 7-Eleven, HEB, Kroger, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Albertson¡¦s, Central Market, among others. For more information about the company and its products, visit www.sweetleaftea.com.
About 7-Eleven, Inc.
7-Eleven, Inc., is the premier name and largest chain in the convenience retailing industry. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, 7-Eleven, Inc. operates or franchises approximately 5,800 7-Eleven”¥ stores in the United States and Canada and licenses more than 20,000 7-Eleven stores in 17 other countries and U.S. territories throughout the world. During 2003, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales of more than $36 billion. Find out more online at www.7-eleven.com.