Boozy Tea Continues to Extend Its Reach

Harry Brompton Iced TeaCould the British develop a touch of America’s passion for iced tea? Father and son Martin and Ian O’Donohue think so, especially if that tea has a touch of alcohol.

Marketing itself as the “world’s first premium alcoholic Ice Tea,” Harry Brompton’s London Ice Tea blends Kenyan black tea, grain spirits, and a touch of citrus. The O’Donohues along with family friend Philip Harding recognized a sizable gap in the ice tea market. They were not impressed by the quality of the bottled teas on the market, and believed that there would be interest in a bottled alcoholic tea that had a true tea flavor.

They spent a few years developing the recipe and finally had a product ready for market in June 2013. The tea was shown at the March 4 Craft Beer Rising festival to positive response, one of the only non-beer products featured. A distribution plan has now been announced for the 56 Waitrose shops in the UK.

In the U.S., one of the more popular bottled hard iced teas is Twisted Tea. At 4-5% alcohol by volume (ABV), it is similar strength to the Brompton’s beverage. A comparison of the company websites, however, reveals a striking difference. Twisted Tea’s site is heavily focused on fan pictures, but provides no information about the tea, only the ABV. Brompton’s, however, speaks at length about the sourcing of the tea, the ingredients added, and the commitment to avoid artificial colors, flavors and preservatives.

American tea drinkers may have better luck exploring tea beers for a premium experience like Sah’tea by Dogfish Head Brewery. Night Shift Bee Tea incorporates green tea from MEM Imports and Mill Street Brewery makes a Lemon Tea Beer with Earl Grey from Metropolitan Tea Company. Capital Tea created tea sachets designed to drop into beer at home. Discover some other tea beers here.

Images courtesy of Harry Brompton’s.