|Manufacturer||Honest Tea, Inc / The Coca-Cola Company|
|Distributor||The Coca-Cola Company|
|Country of origin||United States|
Honest Tea (U.S.) is a bottled organic tea company based in Bethesda, Maryland. It was founded in 1998 by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company. The name is a pun on the word "honesty".
Honest Tea was founded in 1998 by Seth Goldman, a graduate of Harvard and the Yale School of Management who got the idea to found a beverage company while he was at business school. There were two key ideas behind the company: to bring beverages to market that were organic and not as heavily sweetened, and to conduct the business using fair trade principles. Goldman and one of his Yale professors, Barry Nalebuff, conceived the idea for the company and raised $500,000 in startup funds from friends and family.
The first order for Honest Tea was from Fresh Fields, an East Coast natural grocery chain that was later acquired by Whole Foods Market. By 2006, Honest Tea had revenue of $13.5 million and was selling about 1.5 million cases a year.
The Coca-Cola Company purchased a 40% stake of the U.S. company at $43 million in 2008. It bought the rest of the company in 2011.
In 2009, Honest Tea US received an unpaid endorsement when The New York Times reported that it was President Barack Obama's preferred beverage.
A separate small company, Springleaf, controls the "Honest Tea" trademark in Australia. Honest Tea lost an attempt to claim the rights to the phrase in Australia in 2007.
In 2015, Annabel Young won her case against Coca-Cola in Australia as the original brand name holder, retaining the Honest Tea brand.
In 2013 Honest Tea's sales were worth $112 million, and in June 2014 sales for 2014 were projected to be around $130 million.