Tea industry buzz as AB InBev and Starbucks to partner for new tea range in the US

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th June 2016

tuE9ZM1h-4002-2664Anheuser-Busch (AB InBev) and Starbucks are partnering to release a premium ready-to-drink tea range in the US.

The range will be sold under the ‘Teavana’ speciality tea brand which Starbucks acquired in 2012.

Premium ready-to-drink tea (RTD) is the fastest-growing segment in the US RTD tea category, which the two companies say currently generates US $1.1 billion in sales annually.

“Tea has been an important part of Starbucks heritage since we opened our doors as Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices in the Pike Place Market in 1971,” said Howard Schultz, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Starbucks.

“When we acquired Teavana in 2012, we saw a unique opportunity to do for tea what Starbucks has done for coffee and expand the Teavana brand across many customer experiences and products. We are excited to work with Anheuser-Busch to unlock the premium ready-to-drink market and further grow demand for the Teavana brand.”

AB InBev’s Chief Executive Officer, Carlos Brito, said the partnership brought together  two companies that have successful brand-building histories.

“We are delighted to be in a position to offer this great product to our wholesalers and believe, with their support, we are ideally structured to maximize the sales opportunity for Teavana RTD tea across the U.S,” said Brito.

According to the Tea Association of the U.S., 80 percent of tea consumed in America is iced tea.

Combined, Americans drink 800 million cups of tea weekly.

AB InBev is the largest beer company in the world and is responsible for over 200 beer brands. The tea range will be non-alcoholic.

AB InBev and Starbucks are expected to finalise an agreement by the end of 2016 and launch the product in the first half of 2017.