Hoover's - A D&B Company - We Make It Easier
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    60 Cronyways Park Dr Ste 400Phone: +1-516-812-0300
    United StatesMap Map This Company
    http://www.arizonabev.comHoover's coverage by Catherine Colbert


    John Ferolito and Don Vultaggio started delivering beer in an old VW bus in 1972 to some of New York's tougher neighborhoods. The wholesale business grew and so did the partners' ambition. In 1986 the pair launched Midnight Dragon, a malt liquor marketed with a poster featuring a scantily clad woman whose provocative utterance, "I could suck on this all night," offended Vultaggio's wife, among others.

    The success of Snapple iced tea prompted the two "beer guys" to develop a competing product; AriZona Iced Tea debuted in 1992. Caseload sales soared fifteenfold within a year. Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons won a First Amendment battle in 1993 to keep producing its Crazy Horse malt liquor after Congress banned it for being offensive to Native Americans. (It changed the name to Crazy Stallion in 2004.) In 1994 the tea products went into national distribution, and the company rejected a $400 million takeover overture from brewer G. Heileman.

    Ferolito, Vultaggio found early distribution success by hitching rides on beer trucks, but switched to soft-drink distributors to secure stronger shelf placement. As tea sales fell, in 1996 Ferolito, Vultaggio unveiled a line of colas and root beer, but sales were flat and the line was dropped in 1997. In 1996 it debuted Mississippi Mud beer in bottles that resembled moonshine jugs. The firm introduced Blue Luna iced coffee in 1998, and the next year the company dipped into the snack business with Blue Luna Salsa 'n' Chips.

    A new line of ready-to-drink teas, using the name of and developed in partnership with Celestial Seasonings, was rolled out in 2000. The company also launched AriZona Rx Elixirs (herbal teas) later that year.

    In 2001 the company partnered with Allied Domecq (prior to its purchase by Pernod Ricard), makers of the coffee-flavored liqueur Kahlua, in launching the non-alcoholic Kahlua Iced Coffee beverage. The company introduced the low-calorie Rx Total Trim Cocktail, aimed at dieters, in 2002. Flavored water and low-carbohydrate tea followed the next year.

    In response to the growing popularity of ready-to-drink (RTD) coffees, in 2004 Ferolito, Vultaggio began selling its AriZona coffee drinks at retail outlets instead of just through vending machines. The following year, the company introduced SweetTea. The company billed it as an all-natural, real-brewed, Southern-style tea (think Scarlet O'Hara on the front portico of Tara on a sweltering summer day). In so doing it hoped to attract healty food cusotmers ("all-natural"), Southeners ("Southern-style"), and nostalgia buffs (SweetTea).

    In 2006 the company began offering its green and lemon teas as concentrates -- a 89-ounce can of concentrate makes 64 ounces of tea. The concentrates were marketed to specific groups (campers, hikers, sport particpants of all kinds), as well as the general consumer.

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