Starbucks has partnered with beer maker Anheuser-Busch to produce, bottle, and distribute its Teavana teas to grocery stores.
Starbucks will provide “Teavana’s tea expertise,” while Anheuser-Busch will be responsible for the production, bottling, and distribution of the non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink tea.
Starbucks promises the drink will “integrate the handcrafted nature and epicurean flavors drawn from Starbucks and Teavana’s retail favorites to offer consumers premium layered flavors.”
It hasn’t yet released the available flavors.
Starbucks bought Teavana in 2012 for $620 million and seems to be doing well with the brand. Last year it sold $1 billion worth of the teas, 11 percent more than the year before.
“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,” said Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and chief executive officer. “We are excited to work with Anheuser-Busch to unlock the premium ready-to-drink market and further grow demand for the Teavana brand.”
Anheuser-Busch is a St. Louis-based brewer dating back to the 19th century. It’s the largest brewer in the United States and one of the top in the world, with brands like Budweiser, Bud Light, and Stella Artois.
“This arrangement will bring together the strengths of two great companies, each with a long history of successful brand-building,” said Carlos Brito, Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO.
The United States imported almost $11 billion worth of tea (in retail value) in 2014, according to Market Realist.
Ready-to-drink tea represented almost half of that value and has been growing.
One of the factors fueling the tea consumption may be the decline in soda intake, as well as people looking for healthier alternatives.
For comparison, the U.S. coffee market is about $48 billion, making the country the largest coffee importer in the world.