Hello! Thanks for having me. I am Don Vultaggio, Founder & Chairman of AriZona Beverage Company. I look forward to hearing from you all, today.

Here is a little bit about how I ended up here:

I broke into the beverage industry in the early 70's as a local beer distributor. I went on to build a beer business, Hornell Brewing Co. We were very successful but I wanted to offer something to a wider audience...

In 1992 I had the idea to start selling iced teas bigger and better than anyone out there… literally! We packaged our tea in a never-done-before Big Can and started with AriZona Lemon and Raspberry Iced Tea. We then went on to create Green Tea and Arnold Palmer, among many other AriZona products you know and love. It was very exciting to see the fans love and support, in such a big way.

In 1998, we introduced the the 99-cent suggested price point to the packaging label. We still pre price them 99¢ to this day. My goal was to bring quality and quantity to the masses for an affordable price and the rest is history!

We produced our first AriZona Tea on May 5th in 1992 and today we are celebrating our 28th anniversary! Thanks to our employees, loyal fans, and retailers we now sell AriZona worldwide in over 50 countries.

Despite our global growth, we remain family-owned and operated and plan to keep it that way. My son Spencer is helping me write these responses. So, don't be shy, ask me (us) anything about our history, favorite AriZona beverages, about building a business or more.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/c8j8fzuf8lw41.jpg

Comments: 3432 • Responses: 60  • Date: 

ActaEtVerba3241 karma

What’s the story behind the cherry blossom design on the green tea cans?

Edit: Added “green tea” to the question.

DonVultaggio5173 karma

That came about when my son Spencer had a coloring book, and that was the Japanese inspired look we were going for when we introduced it in 94. My wife did the original art that we used on the original can.

Thegauloise2886 karma

Have you ever taken a bath in Arizona Iced Tea?

DonVultaggio4301 karma

Not yet.

Jassyladd3112676 karma

How do you keep the prices consistent throughout the years?

DonVultaggio4727 karma

We work real hard at it. We give the value back to the consumers. Over the years we modernized our facilities to produce faster. When we started in ‘92 we ran the can at 150 per minute in one facility. Today we run over 45 facilities, and some run at 1500 cans per minute.

WUMIBO851 karma

I read they spend $0 on advertising, idk how true that is but maybe he could confirm

DonVultaggio2785 karma

That is true. We don't do traditional marketing. We use our beautiful designs to market our products. We believe consumers make the decision to buy our products with their eyes.

E-vaughn2456 karma

Why is the "Z" capitalized in the name of the drink?

DonVultaggio4407 karma

When we originally came up with the design for AriZona my wife Ilene came up with the big Z to make it look cute.

periodicsheep2097 karma

i went to summer camp with your son a million years ago, and i remember when the canteen switched to all arizona drinks. ah the 90s. my question is, how is your son?

DonVultaggio2389 karma

I’m good, thanks for asking - Spencer

Togapr331804 karma

How did you partner with Arnold Palmer for the drink? Was he a fan prior?

DonVultaggio2515 karma

It was brought to us by our flavor house who had the connection to the Arnold Palmer organization. We introduced that product over 20 years ago and it is one of our best sellers. No, but he was a fan of iced tea and lemonade and when we introduced it was a big fan of it.

DonVultaggio1735 karma

Thanks to the reddit community and everyone who joined me during today’s AMA. It was fun to respond to so many of the inquisitive and insightful questions posted.

I hope I was able to answer them, and I appreciate the time you took out of your day to be here.

Even during these unprecedented times, one thing you can count on for sure, is that AriZona will continue doing what we’ve been doing best for the last 28 years.

This has been a great experience. I hope you all enjoyed learning more about AriZona Beverages! Stay safe, be well and thanks for the business! -- Don

loztriforce1632 karma

Why do I feel more powerful after drinking your iced tea and what should I do with the extra power?

DonVultaggio2076 karma

Work hard!! You never know you may become a great success.

TheTalentedMrTorres1593 karma

Given the current trend of beer companies coming out with alcoholic seltzers to compete with White Claw and the like, would you ever consider releasing a line of 'hard' teas?

DonVultaggio3741 karma

We’re doing Hard Green Tea in Canada. The product tastes great and the can looks great and we are thinking of introducing it in America. We have plans to formulate a hard seltzer with some of our great flavors in the US.

Xxi3loodshedxx1392 karma

What happened with the pina colada flavors? Used to buy them by the case lol.

DonVultaggio3299 karma

We had some separation of the coconut cream but we think we have overcome the issue and we hope to reintroduce it this summer.

Hoessay1062 karma

I love all of your can designs. was that the same aesthetic you had in mind from the beginning?

DonVultaggio1134 karma

Yeah we came up with the southwest motif when we came up with the name AriZona and carried that over the years.

lilundere1009 karma

What ever happened to shaq Soda? And would you ever be able to bring it back even if it has a different name? That stuff was delicious!

DonVultaggio1622 karma

Shaq was a fabulous spokesperson and was lots of fun working with him. The cans were terrific looking and a great tasting drink. We had a great initial response but then sales slacked off and we dropped it. They were great flavors. Inspiration for cream soda was I loved it as a kid growing up in Brooklyn NY. As or right now we have no plans on reintroducing cream soda.

the-one-and-only-pot976 karma

I remember hearing a while back that AriZona Tea was messing around with the idea of CBD products and haven’t really heard any news of any products like that since. Is AriZona going to come out with CBD products?

DonVultaggio1410 karma

We are exploring the opportunity and don't know where that trend is going. We are always open to new ideas.

TheCheddarBay949 karma

Have you ever been approached to be acquired by larger brands (Coke, PepsiCo) why did you choose not to sell?

DonVultaggio3532 karma

We've been approached many times by large companies to be bought out. On one occasion a president of a company came to tell me they wanted to buy me out and I said I'm not for sale. He said “well then I’ll just have to rip your heart out” and I said “you better bring some of your friends because I’m going to put up a fight” and that was over a decade ago.

pwhisper795 karma

Hi Don, thanks for doing this AMA.

Important question, how do I stop drinking AriZona Green Tea once I'm hooked? I don't recall the last time I bought individual cans, instead of lugging cases out it from my local Costco.


DonVultaggio1297 karma

We did that on purpose. We made it taste great and look great and price it right.

breadyboii750 karma

What’s your personal favorite AriZona flavor?

DonVultaggio1686 karma

I drink Arnold Palmer Zero everyday with lunch.

burnshimself735 karma

What motivated your team to print the price on the label? And have you ever gotten retailer / distributor pushback or thought about removing it?

Think you are one of the only products to do that and it goes a long way to enforcing your MSRP plus getting a lot of buyer attention. Super interesting decision and surprisingly not one many have copied.

DonVultaggio1049 karma

We came up with the idea of pre-pricing the can in 1998. At the time we were selling glass bottles with beautiful shrink labels on them and the big can sales declined so the idea was to offer the big can at an attractive price (99c). We think about newspapers and potato chips that have prices on them but in the beverage industry people have not taken that approach.

NotoriousPop684 karma

👋🏼 Thanks for doing this. I run a small craft farm-to-can soda company.

Large beverage brands are notoriously failing in their sustainability initiatives. From high energy costs to waste (like single-use plastics for example) to extracting valuable water resources from at-risk communities, to name a few.

So, as a large beverage brand, what is AriZona doing to operate sustainably?

DonVultaggio1977 karma

We’re in the process of completing a facility in NJ and it’s highly automated with solar panels and water treatment facilities attached. We have rail siding too so we can ship by rail to avoid over the road trucks. We’re manufacturing bottles in the facility so we avoid extra trucking to the facility. The facility produces on multiple lines aluminum cans which are highly recyclable. We instituted a practice of delivering products at night to avoid congestion during the day. We lightweighted our containers with new technologies to use less aluminum and plastic.

DippityDop33651 karma

Most stores don’t carry the whole lineup of AriZona products, any better way to find or get the drinks we can’t find?

DonVultaggio716 karma

Keep searching and we’ll keep working hard to have more stores handle our drinks.

22yr637 karma

Is there any way to get a pair of AriZona Adidas shoes yet? I missed out on the occasion :(

DonVultaggio743 karma

Sorry you didn't have a chance to get a pair but stay tuned .

bluntraumaa529 karma

Hi Don. I’d just like to let you know I’ve been collecting your many different flavours of AriZona for the past 10 years. I have amassed 65+ unique ‘Zona flavours so far, a little tougher feat when living in Canada.

I have an Arnold Palmer umbrella tattooed on my ankle! My favourite summer drink! AZ dedication.

I’ve shot lots of photos using your awesome branded merchandise and products, and AriZona has used them to promote the products online via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc.

I’ve always found that to be such a great way to advertise. Put the product in the hands of customers and let them BE the ad by word of mouth, and via online posts that don’t always have to be directly from the company itself. AriZona has always been known to not show commercials! And yet they’re one of the number one to-go tea/juice brands in the world...

MY QUESTION IS: what exactly goes into choosing which flavours appear in which countries? Mostly just demand? Cultural preference for certain flavours? Some countries receive unique flavours like CARROT COWBOY COCKTAIL or PINA COLADA and others only get the standard ‘Zona staples such as green tea/lemon tea/raspberry tea/AP.

DonVultaggio588 karma

Well we put products in the market place and we see what sticks. For instance in Europe our number one flavor is Pomegranate and in Mexico our number one flavor is Watermelon, in America its Green Tea. By country sometimes the flavors vary based on consumers preferences.

ProjectUK458 karma

Will you ever expand operation to the UK? Any reason why this hasn’t happened yet? The shops that do sell charge outrageous prices... upwards of £3.20 ( $3.98 )


DonVultaggio520 karma

We have multiple manufacturing facilities in Europe and are expanding in all parts of Europe. Pricing in Europe is difficult to manage due to the retailers and the belief that they can charge more for our product. Our bottles and cans look so pretty…. We try to give consumers an ongoing value.

areyoujayok430 karma

Have you ever been in a store that sells the tea for above the price marked on the can, complained, and then gotten it for the price on the can? What are your thoughts on stores marking up from the can price?

DonVultaggio618 karma

I have not but I was in Mexico for vacation and I saw them scratch the price off the can. It is a suggested retail and most retailers follow the suggestion.

sundial11sxm426 karma

How did you have the idea to put pear juice in the Arnold Palmer? I love your zero Arnold Palmer, so thank you! I have diabetes.

DonVultaggio670 karma

Because pear juice gives you a great taste and lingers on your taste buds. We use pear juice often because it’s very satisfying to the taste buds. It rounds off flavor nicely.

ChoppedChef33374 karma

I remember years ago ya'll had a chocolate soda, did it not do well enough to be a permanent offering?

DonVultaggio690 karma

The chocolate soda comes from my roots in Brooklyn. In Brooklyn we call it an egg cream but we experienced difficulties in producing the product because of the setting of the chocolate syrup

mishmoigon2367 karma

How long did it take for your company to become profitable/successful/mainstream?

DonVultaggio789 karma

The first case of AriZona we made a profit on it and last one we shipped last night we made a profit on that too. We launched in NY and it is a high profile market and both wholesalers and retailers ask for it and became a national success pretty rapidly.

Jackz94340 karma

Thank you for your creation! Are there any other flavors you have considered making but didn’t find any success during the testing phases?

DonVultaggio672 karma

We don’t do testing. We introduce products to NY and FL and see if the consumers like it then we roll it out nationally.

Digital_Shiba304 karma

No joking, is an honor to speak with the founder of the company that makes my favorite beverage, thank you for creating it.

I would like to ask, Are you aware (as a company) of the influence that you had (and have) on the creation of the aesthetics of the Vaporwave? Which is a music subgenre.

DonVultaggio477 karma

I know a little bit of it from what my sons show me on social media. But other than that I don’t use a computer or carry a cellphone.

sashahdk296 karma

Hello Don! Thanks for sharing your story :) How would one be able to pitch you or your sons a marketing idea? The idea consists of a few comedic vignettes on how you kept your price at 99 cents for over 20 years.

Thank you!


DonVultaggio341 karma

DM us on Instagram @drinkarizona

Dovahkiin1405255 karma

Any chance red apple green tea will make a come back?

DonVultaggio328 karma

We are still producing that flavor but in limited quantities. It is a fabulous tasting product and we hope to introduce it to additional markets.

only___dar___ic232 karma

Thanks for doing this! AriZona Fruit Punch for 99c is the best gas station grab ever.

What is your preferred beer nowadays? Do you have a brand or style you go to?

DonVultaggio214 karma

Our new beer from Spain, Velero. I don’t really have a favorite beer.

grandma600218 karma

Hi Don and Spencer! I had the pleasure of meeting you guys a few years ago in High School. It was a radical experience and I still tell that story to this day.

Do you plan to do more pop-up shops in the future?

DonVultaggio278 karma

We will as soon as the COVID thing settles out.

longdonglos206 karma

On the business side of things what are the most difficult challenges to overcome for beverage entrepreneurs? Any tips/resources for those of us that like you want to make a dent in the space.

DonVultaggio544 karma

Well to compete with Coca Cola and Pepsi is a challenge. Because oftentimes they buy up the venues and prohibit other companies from selling. So when we started we went to the mom and pop shops in NYC and when you can create major traction with the product oftentimes the large retailers pick you up.

StechT185 karma

They sell your guys’ nachos where I work, which I had never heard of until recently. Which makes me curious; are there any products other than tea you wanted to try making, but things just didn’t work out?

DonVultaggio317 karma

Well I'll tell you about the things that worked out. We introduced AriZona fruit snacks that turned out to be a big hit.

Luckydude139180 karma

For retailers that dont sell your products at 99 cents, do you see any of that revenue?

DonVultaggio327 karma

We only make it on the wholesale price.

kill-danny167 karma

Hi Don!

big fan of most of your teas but when i was over seas i came in contact with Arizona Blueberry White Tea! it was fantastic and i drank it as often as i could but when i returned back to the states it was no where to be found. So my question is was that a limited run or is there some method for me to grab some now that im back state side? Thanks!

DonVultaggio171 karma

We sell it here but it happens to be one of our better sellers in Europe. We have it in 20 oz bottles as well as gallon jugs.

YourTypicalSaudi162 karma

You mentioned you sell in over 50 countries, what’s your best market in sales after North America?

DonVultaggio238 karma


bobakonush55160 karma

What was the biggest hardship your company has had to endure?

DonVultaggio401 karma

I had a partner I started the business with in the early 70s and then he decided he wanted to sell the company but I did not want to sell. We had a 10 year legal battle about it. I ended up buying him out.

dubadub156 karma

As a fellow lover of Big Cans, what inspired your love of Big Cans, and what advice would you offer other lovers of Big Cans in the neverending pursuit of Big Cans?

DonVultaggio231 karma

When I was a truck driver in the early 70s I delivered Schlitz malt liquor in a big can and they were one of the few beer companies to use the big can to market their product.

FryLock69135 karma

What are your opinions on peace tea?

DonVultaggio363 karma

Peace Tea is a cheap knock off. On the financial side we fight each day to keep the costs down. We don’t want to disappoint consumers by raising the price.

alexanderferzan129 karma

Don!!! What’re some of your favorite brands? Brands that inspired you in the beginning? LONG ISLAND RULES!!!

DonVultaggio278 karma

Snapple inspired me because Snapple started in NY and that’s what inspired me to get into the tea business when I was a beer distributor in NY. It was a day in Feb in 1991 when I was in a retail establishment in NYC and a Snapple truck pulled up delivering tea in the wintertime. Back in those days I didn’t think iced tea sold in the winter.

FitzInAFritz123 karma

How has your business been handling the Covid epidemic?

DonVultaggio446 karma

We have a skeleton crew in our office and we set our employees up to work from home before the order came in to do so. We tried to get ahead of the curve. We're one of the few companies that have not had any furloughs or lay offs.

BayshoreCrew119 karma

Hi Don! I’ve been drinking your green tea for over a decade now! Can you give us a random fun fact about your company?

DonVultaggio299 karma

All of the flavors are created at our lunch table. We invite employees in that work in different departments to try and we go through many different samples before we come to the final one.

Pidth116 karma

What states have the most sales of your products?

DonVultaggio216 karma

The large states - NY, Florida, Texas, California

Twokindsofpeople109 karma

Pretty much every company I can think of has some major scandle, but when I think of the AriZona brand nothing comes to mind. How has your company avoided the unethical practices of companies like Nestle or Coke while still being a household name and turning a profit all these years?

DonVultaggio227 karma

When I first came up with the idea of AriZona I went to my banker and I pitched him the idea and he quickly told me it was a bad idea. So I was able to introduce the product without financing and all these years later I have not relied on bank financing to support the business.

Most of our products are produced in factories who we co-pack with. The factories are owned by stand alone companies that produce our product for us and their business is producing product for companies like us.

MamboBumbles95 karma

I love your scarf. Can we purchase this fashion somewhere?

DonVultaggio136 karma

Online we make them available. I’d just come back from my factory in Jersey when the picture was taken.

eganist94 karma

Hey u/donvultaggio,

I've kept a can of AriZona Iced Tea that has no 99c label on it. Is this a rare enough occurrence for me to hold onto it? (It's in the office, so I don't have a pic readily available. I just know it's a cross-promotional can with a film release of some sort.)

DonVultaggio157 karma

It’s very rare. We've sold over a billion last year with 99 cents on it and very few without 99 cents.

Hugs_for_Thugs88 karma

Hi Don, and thanks for doing this AMA! I just want you to know that your AriZona Green Tea got me through my deployment in Afghanistan. We lived out in the sticks, so I would buy a case or 2 every time we'd travel to one of the bigger bases.

My question is what has been the most rewarding part of your career, creating such a unanimously loved beverage?

DonVultaggio132 karma

Well firstly thank you for your service to the country. Making a product made in America by Americans for American consumers and having fun doing it has been great.

thesturdierone86 karma

Will you ever sell Coffee?

DonVultaggio162 karma

Yes, soon.

tidesofblood8885 karma

Other than Arnold Palmer and Shaq(whose soda I miss) what other athelete/person would you want to work with? Has anyone ever approached you?

DonVultaggio111 karma

We work with Jack Nicklaus and we made Joltin Joe Sparkling Espresso. We’re always open to opportunity and on a regular basis we meet celebrities and sports stars that are interested in doing business with us because of the success of Arnold Palmer.

SwaggySnake81 karma

what made you choose the flavor "ginseng and honey"? its bitter but sweet,- just perfect for me.

DonVultaggio178 karma

I was on a flight to Hong Kong and my wife Ilene ordered a green tea from the stewardess. My wife said it's good for you, try it and I did. It was awful. But on my way there and the whole trip I was thinking about it. If I could make it taste good, I think it could be a great success, so I added honey which my mother gave me when I had a cold. The honey smooths off the finish. I added ginseng as well.

ItsYaBoiBiggie6576 karma

What other name choices did you have for the drink before coming to the conclusion of Arizona?

DonVultaggio108 karma

Santa Fe


Where are you from? What part of the US? How long has your family been in America?

DonVultaggio140 karma

I’m from Brooklyn NY. My family has been here since the late 1800’s. They migrated from Sicily.

2fffreddddff68 karma

How come you guys can always make it so much better than any other company and anything I’ve tried to make?

DonVultaggio130 karma

Because we put good ingredients in and we don’t compromise on quality. You can't make it taste good without good ingredients.

bowefasa59 karma

Did you have any personal business in adding a skate team? Being a skateboarder, I cannot tell you how many of these cans I have had in my lifetime...it is in my blood.

DonVultaggio95 karma

We have a skateboarding team and I come see them when they come into the office, they’re cool guys.

brosbe4gnomes57 karma

Don Vultaggio,

I absolutely love your products sir. I have been drinking them since I was a child, I even convinced my corner store deli to carry the rarely seen(at least in my area in Ny) cranberry flavor. I have so much respect and loyalty because of your maintained price point and maintained quality, I wonder what a man like you did before you started your drinking company,And how you felt taking the risk(perhaps financially at the time)to go global?

My admiration and respect, thank you.

DonVultaggio63 karma

I was a truck driver

FryLock6945 karma

What are some Arizona Flavors that never saw the light of day?

DonVultaggio116 karma

Drink your salad green tea.

itsamarylandthing42 karma

Where's the RX? It's my go to and the deli just said they aren't receiving it anymore? Please don't let it be over.

DonVultaggio77 karma

It’s not over. Tell that deli owner to call the company, we have the product. In Florida it’s one of our top flavors.

grinr31 karma

Any thoughts on offering sugar-free or significantly less sugar versions of your products? To be clear, I'm not talking about A product, but a line of your excellent flavors without the (to me, huge) volume of sugar.

DonVultaggio38 karma

We do that already. We have products with low sugar and no sugar. We have a new product line called Santa Fe sweetened only with fruit juice and in Europe we have a line of less than 5g of sugar per 100ml.