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Arizona Tea Aims to Ride Growth with Category, International Expansions

By Published on .

Don Vultaggio had never been to Arizona. But that didn't stop the Brooklyn native from naming his company after the state nearly 20 years ago.

Mr. Vultaggio, a former beer distributor, distinguished Arizona Tea early on.

The 99-cent price was printed on its 23-ounce cans, so retailers couldn't inflate the tab. And vivid designs distinguished the containers on crowded beverage shelves.

While much has stayed the same -- Communications Director Jackie Harrigan said that Mr. Vultaggio still tastes all products and approves all packaging -- a lot has changed. The beverage company is now tangling with PepsiCo's Lipton for control of the $5.3 billion ready-to-drink iced-tea category. It's also expanding into other categories such as coconut water and malt beverage, as well as eyeing international markets.

Though Arizona Tea continues to shy away from traditional media and does not have agency relationships, Ms. Harrigan said the new ventures, along with new partnerships in the fashion and art worlds and an active social-media presence, will keep the company growing for its next 20 years.

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