Just a few months after The Coca-Cola Co.’s decision to discontinue Honest Tea, Honest Tea’s co-founders Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff announced their return to the bottled, ready-to-drink (RTD) tea business with the launch of Just Ice Tea, which is slated for distribution in September.
The organic iced tea brand is focused on sourcing simple ingredients for its Fair Trade Certified teas and sweeteners. The RTD iced teas are the latest addition to Eat the Change, the planet-friendly snack (and now beverage) company founded by Goldman and Mendelsohn in 2020.
The news for Eat the Change’s expansion into the bottle tea space follows Coca-Cola’s May 2022 announcement that it would discontinue Honest Tea in the fall. Goldman and Nalebuff founded Honest Tea in Bethesda, Md., in 1998 and are now working with celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn on the new product lineup. Honest Tea was the first bottled tea brand to offer organic (1999) and Fair Trade certified varieties (2003), the company says.
“Just Ice Tea is picking up where Honest Tea left off, but we are tripling down on our commitments to our core values — Fair Trade Certified, organic and just sweet enough,” says Seth Goldman, co-founder of Honest Tea, Just Ice Tea and Eat the Change. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to once again serve, and hopefully expand, the community of tea growers and retailers we assembled who were abandoned by the discontinuation of Honest Tea.”
Goldman explains that the brand is named Just Ice Tea because “Just Ice” refers to the set of working standards and environmental principles the team aims to support through Fair Trade premiums and working standards. The brand is also committed to supporting our planet with varieties that are certified organic and avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers.
“We didn’t want to leave our loyal customers high and dry, either,” says Barry Nalebuff, co-founder of Honest Tea and Just Ice Tea. “Challenging the line from F. Scott Fitzgerald, he predicted ‘We think Act 2 will be even better’.”
The co-founders report that Honest Tea fans will recognize new renditions of crowd favorites with Just Ice Tea. While similar, some key differentiators to note are: no cane sugar (Fair Trade Certified Organic agave and/or honey are used for sweeteners), glass bottles only, a bit less sweet, and chef-crafted by co-founder Spike Mendelsohn who leads innovation at Eat the Change.
Co-founder of Just Ice Tea and Eat the Change Mendelsohn adds: “Teaming up with Seth and Barry, leaders with a proven track record from the success of Honest Tea, to launch the next generation of bottled tea is truly a milestone moment for me. Innovation is my favorite part of being a chef, and we're excited to introduce this new line of chef-crafted blends made with the highest quality tea leaves from our trusted suppliers."
Just Ice Tea will launch with 6 SKUs with a suggested retail price of $2.69-2.89. Flavor names and varieties are:
• Berry Hibiscus Herbal Tea: Organic herbal hibiscus and blackberry leaves are brewed and blended with blackberry juice for a fruity and earthy caffeine free blend.
• Honey Green Tea: Real-brewed green tea leaves and a “just sweet enough” taste of agave and honey offers a classic taste of this popular blend.
• Moroccan Mint Tea: Blend of real brewed green tea and mint makes for a refreshing taste with a hint of honey at only 35 calories for the whole bottle.
• Original Green Tea: Smooth, unsweetened green tea is as simple as it gets. No flavoring (except from real-brewed tea leaves) and no sweetener — just the clean taste of real brewed green tea.
• Peach Oolong Tea: Real-brewed oolong and black tea leaves blend with the flavor of fragrant sweet peaches at just 60 calories per bottle.
• ½ Tea ½ Lemonade: Real-brewed and black tea leaves blend with the sweet, citrus taste of classic lemonade. Two favorites, one bottle.
Just Ice Tea will be distributed nationwide and begin to hit shelves in September, first at Sprouts Farmers Market nationally, and PLNT Burger locations in New York City. Other retailers set to carry Just Ice Tea include Whole Foods Market, Hy-vee, Town & Country, New Seasons Market, Erewhon and more.