A Wilmington-based maker of sparkling teas partnered recently with a national distributor as it works to grow its reach.
Tama Tea partnered with United Natural Foods Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) to expand across the east coast adding retailers, college campuses and restaurant chains, according to a news release.
“We have some lofty 2020 goals and they are just the distributor we need to help us reach those goals. They are taking a bet on us and we are going to ensure they see a return,” stated Tama Tea co-founder Rocco Quaranto III in the release.
He said the relationship has already resulted in opening up conversations with potential clients and adds credibility to the product. Tama Tea is a blend of sparkling organic green tea, brewed with fruits and herbs, that includes no sweetener, no calories and no artificial flavors. Organic green tea is used to craft brew all three flavors: Lemon Lavender, Peach Pear and Mango Verde.
Quaranto said Tama Tea, which used to be brewed at Wrightsville Beach Brewery until it needed more capacity, recently struck a deal with Abita Brewing in Louisiana to produce Tama Tea.
It's carried by local distributors in the Southeast, but the partnership with UNFI opens the entire East Coast, with the possibility of nationwide expansion. Quaranto said the teas are available at 100 retailers in North Carolina, with a third of those in the Wilmington area.
“We have strategically mapped out the east coast and what markets we want to hit. We plan to grow quickly, yet methodically, so we can give the proper service and support to all of our accounts as they partner with us," Quaranto said in the release. "UNFI has been an amazing partner for us already. Being a small brand they could easily just ignore us but they have been willing to lend a hand and point us in the right direction when needed.”
Tama Tea launched in January 2019. The brand was a finalist for the NEXTY award at EXPO East 2019 in the coffee and tea category. The canned teas are a product line extension for its Tama Cafe chain, which has locations in Wilmington and Raleigh.
Tama also donates a penny from every can sold to Masonboro.org, a nonprofit that protects public land access and preserves Masonboro Island, a barrier island off the coast of Wilmington.
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