"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest"

Written by Matt Aaron / July 14th, 2016


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Seth Goldman co-founded Honest® Tea in 1998 with Professor Barry Nalebuff of the Yale School of Management. They were acquired in 2011 are now a $160 million division of Coca-Cola.

Honest Tea is the nation’s top selling ready-to-drink organic bottled tea and Honest Kids® is the nation’s top-selling organic children/youth beverage.

The brands are carried in more than 100,000 outlets in the United States, including all Wendy’s and Chik-fil-A restaurants.

It was a long, tough, and fun road to get to where they are today. One of the best food business books I have ever read, Mission in a Bottle tells their story. I interviewed Seth about the book and he responded with sage advice for emerging food startups:

  • “I can’t ask others to invest if I’m not completely invested in myself.”
  • The biggest mistakes that almost put the company under
  • Why the company needs to shift and evolve along the way
  • Dealing with competitors inside the tent
  • “Creating a successful company depends on your ability to successfully two questions”
  • How to sign on and have success with distributors
  • Learnings from an unsuccessful run with Barnes + Noble
  • How he sold Canada Dry Potomac after 4 years of rejections
  • Why the “little things” add up and can make or break your company
  • “You have to win in New York” – Learnings from a Red Sox fan
  • On selling their company to Coca-Cola
  • How Seth managed a harmonious and prolific relationship with his co-founder
  • Negotiating shipping rates
  • The main problems he sees when advising food startups