Honest Tea founder announces new tea brand in wake of Coca-Cola discontinuation

Seth Goldman, a Bethesda entrepreneur who co-founded Honest Tea in 1998 has announced a new iced tea company to launch this fall called "Just Ice Tea." The announcement comes just a little over a month since Coca-Cola, who fully bought Honest Tea in 2011, announced plans to phase out Honest tea products by the end of this year. 

Much like the values Honest Tea embodied, the brand is committing to being ethical environmentally and through Fair Trade certification, as detailed in a Twitter thread Seth posted on Wednesday.

While Coca-Cola plans to continue producing the Honest Kids line of organic juice drinks also offered at McDonald's, it made the decision to prioritize two other brands Gold Peak and Peace Tea due to supply chain issues. 

At the time of Coca-Cola's announcement, Goldman called it a "gut punch" on a Twitter thread where many loyal fans expressed their own disappointment over the news. The brand started with $250,000 in revenue in its first year and had earned an estimated $600 million in sales in 2019

Goldman continued to lead Honest Tea during its ownership by Coca-Cola in order to "drive growth, drive innovation, and ensure that the brand’s values stayed intact" until he left in 2019 to pursue other ventures including at the time, Beyond Meat (where he is a chairperson today)

Along with Chef Spike Mendelsohn, he co-founded "Eat The Change," based in Bethesda, which focuses on providing a "more delicious and planet-friendly way to eat." Both also co-founded PLNT Burger, a fledgling plant-based casual restaurant with locations in the District, Maryland, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.