SEATTLE — Starbucks Coffee Co. is partnering with St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch to produce, bottle, distribute and market Teavana ready-to-drink tea in the United States next year. Starbucks acquired Teavana in 2012 and within the past year has sold more than $1 billion of handcrafted Teavana brewed and iced teas in its U.S. coffee shops, representing 11% growth in year-over-year sales.
“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 of 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.”
Premium bottled tea is the fastest growing segment in the $1.1 billion ready-to-drink tea category, representing a significant growth opportunity for the two companies. Starbucks brings Teavana’s tea expertise, retail activation and consumer engagement capabilities to the partnership, and Anheuser-Busch, the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light beers, will oversee production, bottling and distribution to retailers nationwide through its established network of wholesalers. The companies expect to finalize definitive agreements later this year.“This arrangement will bring together the strengths of two great companies, each with a long history of successful brand-building,” said Carlos Brito, chief executive officer of Anheuser-Busch InBev. “Starbucks’ expertise and leadership in premium tea, combined with our world-class production capabilities and strong U.S. distribution footprint, will position this new product well in what is an exciting and growing category. 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 R.T.D. tea across the U.S.”