December 2012 Issue
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The Big Buzz

by Cynthia Fazekas

Starvana or Teabucks?

Big news hit the specialty tea industry recently with the announcement of coffee behemoth Starbucks buying specialty tea retailer Teavana. Conversations with many of you since this news was released suggest that most industry veterans did not anticipate this acquisition. Indeed some are scratching their heads wondering how these two entities will combine. Early indications are that Teavana will remain a separate brand that will benefit from the Starbucks distribution channels.

Starbucks has also just opened their first Tazo retail boutique with a revamped tea line. It will be interesting to see how these two tea avenues coexist, but it really speaks to how far the specialty tea movement has come for this large company to give such attention to our favored beverage. Tea has long played second fiddle to coffee in the US, but is now the up and comer, no longer to be ignored.

If the acquisition is successful, those of us in the tea industry will likely benefit from the added marketing power and subsequent tea awareness with mainstream consumers. Coffee maybe king but tea is the queen of the ball - with many of you hard working tea devotees to thank!