Eighteen and a half years ago when I started Honest Tea out of my home, my youngest son Isaac was less than a year old. Now that Isaac is a college freshman, it is time for me to graduate to a new stage in my career.
I am not leaving Honest Tea, but over the next few months the nature of my work will shift toward a half-time role as Co-Founder and TeaEO Emeritus of Honest Tea (how could I ever give up that title!) as well as a new role as Innovation Catalyst for the Venturing and Emerging Brands unit of The Coca-Cola Company. I’m still involved as brand steward and advocate, while the other part of my time I will be taking an active role as Executive Chairman with Beyond Meat, an early-stage plant protein company in California that is not associated with Coca-Cola.
Changing my role at a company that I painstakingly built for the past 18 years is a big deal for me. But I am so excited by the mission and opportunity of Beyond Meat that I can’t resist the challenge of helping to guide the growth of another enterprise I believe can be a major driver of health and environmental change.
2015 has been a phenomenal year of growth for Honest Tea. We have seen our brand move from the niche markets to the mainstream and launched in quick-service restaurants- Wendy’s and Chick-fil-A. And at the same time, we’ve shifted all of the organic sugar we purchase to Fair Trade certification, joining the organic and fair trade teas we already use.
I love Honest Tea and its impact, and I love the team that we have built over this 18 year ride. We have all been through a lot and developed strong and deep relationships. I intend to stay close to this business and I hope that you – the stakeholders in Honest Tea — will help us all keep this brand Honest. We’ve come a long way since Barry and I brewed those five thermoses in my kitchen, but we still have a long way to go. Our tea party is just getting started!
P.S. You can read more about my upcoming job transition here.