The amazing story behind the name Arizona tea

New York (CNN Business) – When Don Voltaggio was considering the names of his new iced tea business three decades ago, he wanted something that referred to a “warm and healthy environment.”

This meant moving away from Brooklyn, where Voltaggio had grown up. But not too far: His New York friends called his home Santa Fe, for his adobe-style design, full of pinks, yellows, and turquoises. So he decided “Santa Fe” as the name for the drink.

It didn’t last long.

“When I put Santa in the package, he didn’t look good,” Voltaggio told CNN Business. “I thought it looked like a train.”

Thinking of places near Santa Fe that look better on the enclosure, Voltaggio settled in Arizona, where he had never visited before. In fact, Voltaggio never traveled west of the Mississippi.

“I’ve always associated Arizona with a healthy, clean, dry feeling that was different from the feeling of Brooklyn,” he said. “Having a name connected to the lifestyle, the environment and the climate that makes you want to have a refreshing iced tea. That’s why the name made sense to me.”

It was inspired by Snapple, which was founded in 1972 and has become a cultural phenomenon, said AriZona Beverages, which makes the famous 99 cent iced tea in New York City in the early 1990s. Commercials for Snapple Lady made the juice and iced tea company a huge success as sales skyrocketed during the 1990s.

Having achieved their own success with the malt liquor company, Vultaggio and his partners focused on selling iced tea in 23-ounce cans the same size as the malt liquor. This helped AriZona stand out against the 16-ounce Snapple can.

They wanted to keep it at the same price, too. The logo was given a large letter Z, which said it looked better on its packaging.

The vibrant enclosure, with its bold patterns and colours, was inspired by her home in Santa Fe, due to the “constant feedback and praise we’d get from everyone” for the design of her home.

Arizona was roughly called Santa Fe.

AriZona’s design is a “major point of differentiation from its competitors,” according to Andres Nichols, global creative director at design and consultancy firm Prophet. “It was a great tool and a great place to express your personality and quickly tell the market ‘We are not like everyone else. “

Nichols said the brand “was totally brave and consistent in its approach and created a very distinctive design.”

AriZona Ice Tea debuted in 1992 and was an instant hit. Their product line has grown beyond tea and now includes hundreds of products including snacks, candy, coffee and alcohol. One of their most popular drinks is the Arnold Palmer, a half tea, half lemonade based on the golfer’s favorite drink.

But just as remarkable as the design is the 99 cents price for a tall iced tea, which should be adjusted to more than $2 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ price calculator, but the 1992 price still stands.

“Our customers don’t need another rate hike,” he told CNN International host Richard Quest in June. “We reserve this price to give customers a reason to buy from us.”

Manufacturing costs have gone up all over, but the Voltaggio credit is working behind the scenes keeping tea profit margins strong. “We’ve been able to do this by making the canister lighter, creating the canisters faster on the line, and having more facilities in the United States to move closer to the market,” he explained.

The eye-catching design also helps maintain its market dominance, because AriZona doesn’t advertise like Snapple. Instead, the brand relies on its creativity to capture the attention of customers.

“We use packaging and a story of value, then a great product inside,” Voltaggio said. “First time someone buys from us because of the packaging. Forever, they buy it because it tastes great.”

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