Honest Timeline


$250,000 in Sales

Honest Tea launches in February out of Seth’s home. The first five tea varieties hit shelves in June: Gold Rush Cinnamon, Kashmiri Chai, Black Forest Berry, Moroccan Mint Green and Assam Black. We land our first account at Fresh Fields (Whole Foods), with batches of tea Seth and Barry made in Seth’s kitchen.


$1.1 million in Sales

We introduce Decaf Ceylon and the world’s first organic bottled tea, First Nation Peppermint, produced in partnership with a woman-owned company on the Crow Reservation. Honest Tea becomes part owner of Three Rivers Bottling Plant in New Kensington, PA


$1.9 million in Sales

Whole leaf tea bags are launched. We also introduce Jakarta Ginger, and become the fastest-growing bottled tea brand in natural food stores (SPINSscan).


$3.2 million in Sales

More than 50% of our offerings become organic, including Moroccan Mint Green, which becomes best-selling RTD tea in natural food stores. We introduce Community Green, created in partnership with City Year, and are named to Oprah’s O List.


$4.6 million in Sales

Honest Tea becomes the best-selling bottled tea brand in the natural foods industry, claiming seven of the top ten best-selling varieties (SPINSscan). We introduce two unsweetened teas, Haarlem Honeybush and Lori’s Lemon Tea. Haarlem Honeybush is marketed and produced in partnership with a cooperative in South Africa. Honest Tea launches its first official summer sampling tour with a branded vehicle.


$5.5 million in Sales

We launch our first “Tad Sweet” teas, Peach Oo-la-long – the first Fair Trade Certified™ bottled tea – and Green Dragon Tea. These are the two most successful beverages launched in the natural foods industry in 2003. Honest Tea becomes #117 on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest growing private companies. We are awarded the grand prize for the “Dream Big Award” sponsored by Inc. and Visa.


$5.9 million in Sales

In January, every Honest Tea product gains USDA organic certification. We introduce plastic bottles which win several packaging awards. Honest Tea partners with Ford Escape Hybrid for The Great Tea Escape Summer Sampling Tour and a national sweepstakes with Whole Foods Market.


$9.6 million in Sales

Honest Ade organic thirst quenchers are launched: Cranberry Lemonade and Limeade. First white teas are introduced: Mango Açaí White Tea, Pearfect White Tea and Vanilla Mint White Tea. We also introduce Heavenly Honey Green.


$13.5 million in Sales

An “Honest Winner.” Honest Tea’s Lori’s Lemon is named Best Lemon Iced Tea by Consumer Reports. Pomegranate Blue is added to the Honest Ade lineup and we introduce the first organic diet drink, Tangerine Green Tea, using an organic sweetener. We introduce two fair trade and unsweetened teas: Just Green Tea and Just Black Tea. Honest Tea partners with Hewlett-Packard for The Honest, Fair & Wired Sweepstakes supporting fair trade and giving away computer equipment to consumers and fair trade tea gardens.


$23 million in Sales

We launch 9 new products, including Honest Kids organic thirst quenchers: Berry Berry Good Lemonade, Goodness Grapeness, Tropical Tango Punch; Pomegranate Red Tea with Goji Berry; Sublime Mate; Pomegranate White Tea with Açaí and Honest Ade Orange Mango with Mangosteen. Honest Tea makes the cover of Beverage Industry magazine. Honest Tea partners with Jamis Bikes to give away 500 bikes to consumers, and one to every Honest Tea employee. Honest Tea moves to new environmentally friendly headquarters, making our local contribution to sustainability.


87 Employees and $38 million in Sales

The Coca-Cola Company invests 40% in Honest Tea. The Organic Revolution begins…We relabel our PET line and introduce Superfruit Punch. We launch Jasmine Green Energy Tea and buy renewable energy credits to offset the CO2 emissions generated from bottling it. Now that’s a sip in the right direction. Our local sustainability initiative unveils the first public recycling bins in our home market and launches a biodiesel initiative. We make the cover of Beverage World magazine. We partner with Saturn to promote sustainable transportation with a branded fleet of Saturn VUE Hybrids. There are two new additions to the White House: President Barack Obama and his favorite organic brew, Honest Tea. Honest Kids Drink Pouch Brigade® finishes the year with 6,500 locations and 3.7 million pouches upcycled.


$47 million in Sales

We increased distribution through our expansion with the Coca-Cola bottling network. Honest Kombucha® was introduced in three Fair Trade Certified™ varieties: Berry Hibiscus, Lemon Ginger and Peach Mango. We introduced a new PET bottle with 22% less plastic, reducing our annual resin consumption by one million pounds. The new bottle had a unique shape with a deep depression on the bottom to keep it pressurized, which left some consumers puzzled. We updated the labels with a note explaining the greener bottle. Honest Tea received a 4-Leaf rating from Greenopia.com as the “greenest beverage company,” became a Montgomery County Certified Green Business and helped open Maryland’s first green business incubator at Bethesda Green. Honest Kids became available nationally for the first time through Costco, and we launched the Pouch-Points™ green rewards program.


$71.5 million in Sales

Our new Half Tea & Half Lemonade quickly became one of our most popular varieties, gaining placement in more than 7,000 CVS stores nationwide. In honor of Earth Month, we distributed 100,000 reusable shopping bags with our retail partners and partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant 10,000 trees. We completed our national rollout with the Coca-Cola Bottling Network. Our social experiment, Honest City, placed pop-up beverage stands in nine major cities across the country and generated extensive media coverage. We published our first annual mission report “Keeping it Honest” and launched our first national day of service. For the second year in a row we were awarded Greenopia.com’s coveted 4-Leaf rating as “the greenest beverage company” and The Washington Post named us one of the “five standout companies of 2010” for remaining true to our roots while expanding our partnership with Coca-Cola. We sadly said goodbye to Honest Kombucha®, but continued to innovate with the launch of both Heavenly Lemon Tulsi and Passion Fruit Green Tea with Maqui Berry, the first organic bottled tea sweetened with organic stevia. We partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to help raise awareness for breast cancer by outfitting two million bottles of tea in pink labels and cups and donating $100,000 to the cause.


$75 million in Sales

In March, The Coca-Cola Company purchased Honest Tea, bringing us into the Coke family as an independent operating unit. We transitioned all of our teas to Fair Trade Certified™. We launched Honest CocoaNova, a cacao infusion with only 50 calories per bottle. Though adored by some, the product line was discontinued at the end of the year. We introduced our zero calorie, stevia sweetened PET line with Zero Calorie Lemonade and zero calorie Passion Fruit Green Tea. Our Honest Cities social experiment expanded to 12 cities. We refreshed our PET labels, emphasizing the HONEST name and our organic ingredients.


$88.5 million in Sales

On April 30, Honest Tea kicked off The Great Recycle by placing a 30-foot tall recycling bin in Times Square, NYC. Approximately 500 lbs. of recyclable containers were collected – an estimated equivalent of 18,000 16.9 oz. Honest Tea bottles. Over the summer we launched our first integrated advertising campaign with TV spots, web videos, billboards and wrapped mass transit vehicles sporting the tagline “Refreshingly Honest,” to highlight our real ingredients and commitment to transparency. In August, we tested the honesty of the country by expanding our third annual social experiment to more than 30 cities nationwide. The National Honesty Index tracked the honesty of participants’ observable characteristics. More than 93% of those who took part were honest! Men’s Health magazine awarded Honey Green Tea “Best Green Tea,” marking the fifth straight year our products have been highlighted by the publication. Raspberry Fields was named one of Women’s Health magazine’s “125 Best Packaged Foods for Women,” and Classic Green was awarded Real Simple magazine’s “Best Green Tea.” We reformulated the Honest Kids line of beverages, now sweetened only with fruit juice.


$112 million in Sales

Innovation played an enormous role in 2013. We introduced a new line of stevia sweetened zero calorie sodas called HONEST® Fizz, available in four varieties nationwide. We launched Unsweet Lemon Tea, the first unsweetened option in our plastic-bottled line, and expanded our multi-serve options with the launch of a new 59 fl. oz. container. We also welcomed Smashburger as the first national quick service restaurant to take in our Freshly Brewed HONEST® Tea. Crown Books, a division of Random House, published Mission in a Bottle, The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently and Succeeding, written by Seth and Barry and illustrated by Sungyoon Choi. The business book, which is written in comic book form, shares the challenges and rewards of building a mission-driven business in a profit-driven world. The Great Recycle, our national recycling initiative, collected 128,633 bottles at 82 activations throughout the country. And The National Honesty Index expanded to all 50 states, finding that people were 92% honest.


$134 million in Sales

We sold our 1,000,000,000th beverage since being founded in 1998, and launched a new line of “Summer Refreshers” – four lemonades and a limeade – exclusively with Whole Foods Market.  The new beverage line incorporates organic, Fair Trade Certified sugar as the sweetener, which is a first for us as a company.  For the first time in 16 years, we made significant changes to the label designs of our glass-bottled teas.  The result is a celebration of the origin and spirit of each variety inside the “T” frame, and an extension of the design to the label’s borders.  We also transitioned to using organic, Fair Trade Certified sugar in all glass varieties, and committed to donate the equivalent of at least one percent of the sales from this beverage line via 1% for the Planet. 5,127 eye exams were conducted and 2,400 pairs of free eyeglasses were distributed at the Tonganagaon Tea garden in Assam, India as a result of a collaboration between Fair Trade USA, Honest Tea and VisionSpring. For the fifth straight year we tested the honesty of people around the country.  Honesty was up overall to 95%, as were media impressions (54 million). We launched two organic, Fair Trade Certified, brewed over ice K-Cup Packs with Keurig Green Mountain – the first Coca-Cola brand to release a product on this platform.


$178 million in Sales

The year started off with a bang as we introduced a new PET bottle, new PET labels, updated a few varieties, and replaced the Honest Ade line with three new flavored herbal teas (Pomegranate Blue Flavored Herbal Tea, Orange Mango Flavored Herbal Tea, and Cranberry Lemon Flavored Herbal Tea) to bring us back to our roots as a tea company.  We also fulfilled our goal of making Honest Fizz organic–a project two years in the making—and debuted of a fifth Honest Fizz variety, Golden Ginger Ale.  To celebrate a new partnership with the national quick-serve restaurant Wendy’s, we developed an exclusive variety of organic, Fair Trade Certified, freshly brewed iced tea called Honest Freshly Brewed Tropical Green Tea which is available nationally.  Although we said goodbye to a few varieties we loved — (not too) Sweet Tea and the three Honest Ade drinks — we also added two new unsweetened varieties, Cinnamon Sunrise Herbal Tea and Ginger Oasis Herbal Tea, to our glass-bottled tea lineup.  In order to keep our lemonade line fresh and innovative, we replaced Berry Hibiscus Lemonade with new Watermelon Lemonade at Whole Foods Market.  The National Honesty Index tested Americans honesty for the sixth year, and Atlanta proved to be the most honest city in the country!


$218 million in Sales

2016 saw Honest Tea’s largest growth and highest sales numbers to date.  We converted our entire supply of organic sugar to Fair Trade Certified, enabling us to cross the $1 million mark in Fair Trade contributions. Honest Kids made its way into more national food chains, joining the menus of Chick-fil-A and SUBWAY restaurants nationwide.  For the first time since 2009, we introduced two new Honest Kids varieties: delicious Cherry Go Round and an updated recipe called Twisted Tropical Tango (formerly Tropical Tango Punch).  Things got a little more Honest across the pond with the launch of three herbal teas unique to the UK: Lemon Flavoured Herbal Tea With Honey, Pomegranate & Blueberry Flavoured Herbal Tea, and Orange & Mango Flavoured Herbal Tea.  Honest Tea continued its National Honesty Index for the seventh year with Honolulu once again taking the title of most honest city.


$222 million in Sales

Honest Tea hit a major milestone by reaching $1.5 million invested into Fair Trade Community Development Funds since 2003, with more than $500,000 just in 2017. By the end of 2017, Honest sold more than 2. 5 billion beverages since 1998. Honest Sport® launched nationally and became the top-selling organic sports drink in Whole Foods Market®. In December 2017, McDonald’s USA completed a transition to Honest Kids® Appley Ever After® juice drink in its McDonald’s® Happy Meals®, helping us grow the availability of our organic juice drinks in quick-service locations nationwide. We launched the Mobile Tea Garden, which travels across the country to provide a firsthand look at the incredible process of growing organic tea leaves and how Fair Trade funds help our sourcing communities. This year’s National Honesty Index social experiment had Americans share their lighthearted truths. For every interaction, Honest donated $1 to VisionSpring®, a non-profit providing vision screenings and eyeglasses to underserved communities worldwide, including two of the Fair Trade tea gardens in Assam, India where Honest Tea sources some of its organic black tea leaves.


Celebrating our 20th Anniversary!

Honest Tea rang in its 20th Anniversary with a year full of celebrations. For the first time, we connected consumers with the beautiful landscapes and people who produce our tea in our TV and online advertising campaign, which was filmed at the picturesque Korakundah Tea Garden in Southern India. We re-launched our glass bottled tea in a new sleek bottle and made it available for the very first time for bottler delivery on the Coca-Cola Red Truck, growing the glass retail business by double digits in dollar volume.


Our food service expansion continued to grow, with Honest Kids’ introduction into several new restaurant chains, including McDonald’s, bringing our brand into a total of more than 53,000 restaurants nationwide. With this expansion, we’re helping to evolve the palates of the next generation by acclimating them to less sweet-tasting organic drinks, a step that helped us earn the Visionary Leadership Award from Partnership for a Healthier America.


We continued to increase our Fair Trade premium contributions to our supplier communities, with our cumulative investments totaling more than $2 million. We also partnered with one of our biggest tea suppliers, West Jalinga Tea Estate in Assam, India, on a project to provide the community with clean drinking water.


Honest continued to collect passports stamps with its global expansion, launching in 40 European markets, Singapore and Mexico. For many of these areas, this is the first organic product being distributed by the Coca-Cola system.