The biggest makers of beer and coffee in the United States are joining forces to explore a new product line — ready-to-drink tea.
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Starbucks Corp. announced Thursday an agreement for the brewer to produce, bottle and distribute a ready-to-drink line of Starbucks’ Teavana brand tea in the US.
The move will help Starbucks broaden its reach beyond coffee, a push the company has been making in recent years in an effort to find new avenues of growth, The Wall Street Journal reports.
It will help AB InBev fill capacity at breweries, as US sales of its beer have been falling, and give its network of more than 500 distributors a nonalcoholic beverage to sell.
Ready-to-drink tea is one of the fastest-growing beverage categories in the US, where consumption rose 6.1 percent in 2015, Beverage Marketing Corp. figures show.
AB InBev chief executive Carlos Brito said Starbucks stores would develop new tea flavors, and AB InBev would produce those flavors at one of its dozen US breweries for sale in about 300,000 convenience stores and supermarkets.
Starbucks has had a joint venture with PepsiCo Inc. since 1994 to produce and sell ready-to-drink coffee but couldn’t work with PepsiCo on tea because the soda and snack company already has a joint venture with Unilever plc for the Lipton, Pure Leaf and Brisk brands.
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