Steaz Organic Tea Sold

WTN160823_SteazGroup-loresSteaz, a bottled green iced tea pioneer in the U.S., was acquired last week by an unnamed buyer for an undisclosed sum.

Linda Barron, CEO of Steaz, said the acquisition “will provide the company with resources and strategic synergies to further accelerate the growth of the brand.”

Steaz was founded in Doylestown, Penn., in 2002 by Steven Kessler and Eric Schnell. The parent Healthy Beverage Company began with a homemade brew called Long Life Tea, which was introduced to fill a void opened when schools began removing soft drinks from schools. The Steaz brand first launched with a green tea soda that became the first USDA Organic certified soda. Steaz products were also Fair Trade certified. Steaz, which sources its green tea in Kenya, became a million dollar brand within two years.

A line of natural certified-organic energy drinks followed. The company has continued to innovate with flavors such as peach and mint. The most recent addition to the line is Steaz Cactus Water with prickly pear cactus fruit juice and green tea in three flavors.

Distribution was largely confined to natural products grocers until 2005 when the company signed an agreement with Polar Beverages. Steaz then became available in supermarkets, and in 2014 and 2015 at Costco and Target.

WTN180623_LOGO-Steaz_New-loresIn a press release, First Beverage Group managing partner Nicole Fry, whose investment banking firm managed the transaction, said the deal provided the former shareholders with liquidity and brings the company a new value-added strategic partner.

“Steaz has created a one-of-a-kind green tea-based beverage platform that is extremely well-positioned and poised to be one of the leaders in the tea and functional beverage categories,” said Fry.

Steaz will continue to operate independently out if its Pennsylvania headquarters, according to the release.

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Dan Bolton

About Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton edits STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International. He was formerly editor and publisher of World Tea News and former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine and former editor-in-chief of Specialty Coffee Retailer. He is a beverage retail consultant and frequent speaker at industry seminars and conferences. His work has appeared in many beverage publications. He was a newspaper reporter and editor for 20 years prior to his career in magazines. Dan is the founding editor of Natural Food magazine and has led six publishing ventures since 1995. He lives in Winnipeg, Canada.