As runaway inflation and rising costs continue to put pressure on everyday consumers, iconic beverage company AriZona Iced Tea remains committed to providing its 23-ounce cans for an affordable 99 cents—a price that has not increased by as much as a penny for more than 30 years. In a recent interview, AriZona co-founder Don Vultaggio defended the surprisingly customer-friendly approach to beverage sales, saying that his family-owned company will “fight as hard as we can” to give back to American tea drinkers.

Speaking with NBC’s “Today Show” late last month, Vultaggio said that while he could not promise a price hike would never happen, there are no plans to implement one “in the foreseeable future.”

“We’re successful, we’re debt free, we own everything.” the beverage billionaire said. “Why? Why have people who are having a hard time paying their rent pay more for our drink? Maybe it’s my little way to give back.”

“We’re going to fight as hard as we can for consumers because consumers are my friends,” he stated.

Learn more about the 2024 Vault Conference and secure your ticket today!

AriZona launched its successful line of iced teas in 1992 after seeing the runaway success of Snapple in the previously untapped market. When the drinks hit store shelves, they were sold for 99 cents apiece—and the company has remained committed to keeping that price consistent for 32 years. (Individual stores may increase the price per can, but the drinks are still sold to retailers at  99 cents apiece.)

Today, AriZona Iced Tea is a multi-billion-dollar company, and Vultaggio has a personal net worth of $4.5 billion.

This conscious decision to keep prices low has required AriZona to adopt a number of innovative cost-cutting methods, including increasing production pace, optimizing shipping, and, in light of the recent inflationary challenges, decreasing the volume of beverage cans from 23 ounces to 22 ounces. Similar strategies have been adopted by companies like Costco, which has gone to great lengths to keep the cost of core items—particularly its famous hot dogs—consistent.

In a 2022 interview with CNBC, Vultaggio explained that AriZona also avoids using large marketing agencies, instead relying on word of mouth to raise brand awareness.

“I tell people every day I go to a gunfight with Coke and Pepsi,” he said at the time, adding, “I have a water gun and they have machine guns.”

Related: Majority of Americans Say Economic Prospects are Worsening

Keeping the company in the family has also been a key part of AriZona’s success. Vultaggio’s sons, Wesley and Spencer, currently serve as the company’s chief creative officer and chief marketing officer, respectively. “Anybody who hasn’t tried [working with family] should. Otherwise, when your children grow and go to college, you only see them on birthdays, holidays, weekends sometimes. I get to see them all the time.”

Connor Walcott is a staff writer for Follow Connor on X and look for him on VT’s “The Unusual Suspects.”

Got a hot scoop or an idea for a story? Connect with the VT writers on Minnect!

Add comment