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Md. tea in a bottle ready to go places

Entrepreneur: Seth Goldman and his Honest Tea got their big break a year ago with a Fresh Fields order, and now may be on the verge of big success.

May 05, 1999|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,SUN STAFF

"They seem to be on the right track," said Greg Prince, executive editor of Beverage World magazine in New York. "It's a unique product. They have apparently tapped into a desire for alternatives to the alternative, and made their case compellingly with distributors and retailers, the whole bit about social responsibility and unique flavors."

He believes the demand for the product, if less than overwhelming now, could be created.

"I'm sure there are people who are not satisfied with lemon iced teas, who want herbal, but that's a small segment," he said. "Honest Tea, if they succeed, will have created a demand for themselves."

Thinking big

This year, Goldman has raised $1 million in financing, including an investment from the president of his former employer, Calvert Group. That will enable the company to expand its staff, start manufacturing on the West Coast and develop a tea bag line.

"Barry and I don't think in small terms," Goldman said. "Tea is international, the second-most popular drink in the world. This should be an international company."

Already, Honest Tea has sniffs of interest from Caribbean importers. Goldman can envision expanding to South America this year. For the next few months, though, he'll be happy with a heat wave.

"The challenge for the summer is to get off the shelves," he said.

Pub Date: 5/05/99

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