2022 | Business

Honest Tea founders to continue producing organic tea under Eat the Change brand

News comes after Coca-Cola announced it is discontinuing the product at the end of 2022

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The Eat the Change headquarters in Bethesda.

Photo by Leigh McDonald

Fans of Honest Tea no longer have to worry about hoarding supplies following Coca-Cola’s announcement that it will cease production of the beverages at the end of 2022.

That’s because Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff, who started Honest Tea in Bethesda 24 years ago, announced in a press release Tuesday that they will continue producing organic tea as a product of Eat the Change – a food and beverage company dedicated to environmental sustainability.

A new name for the tea has yet to be announced, but it will be under the Eat the Change brand, according to Kelly Patterson of the public relations firm The Door.

Coca-Cola became an investor in Honest Tea in 2008 and bought the beverage company in 2011. Honest Tea’s offices in Bethesda moved to Coca-Cola’s headquarters in Atlanta in early 2020, shortly after Goldman stepped away from the company.

Also in 2020, Goldman started Eat the Change with Washington, D.C.-area celebrity chef Spike Mendelsohn. The company, headquartered in Honest Tea’s former Bethesda offices, sells plant-based snacks such as “cosmic carrot chews” and mushroom jerky. Goldman and Mendelsohn have also opened a chain of fast-casual restaurants serving plant-based burgers called PLNT Burger.

After Coca-Cola announced last month that it would discontinue Honest Tea at the end of the year, Goldman told Bethesda Beat that it was “such a bummer.” He said he empathized with the farmers around that world that have partnered with Honest Tea over the years in producing the fair-trade ingredients that are used to make the beverages.

Goldman said in Tuesday’s press release that after posting the news about Honest Tea on LinkedIn a couple weeks ago, he received an “overwhelming response.”

It is clear from the response to the Honest Tea news that “the community of people who Honest Tea touched and inspired was even larger, and more passionate than we hoped,” Goldman said in the statement.

“Our organic and fair trade suppliers deserve to be treated better,” Goldman said.  “So we are bringing back many of the same key team members that launched Honest Tea to introduce a line of organic and fair trade certified bottled tea from Eat the Change.”

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com