Feb 8, 2010

More Steaz Please

Eric Schnell of STEAZ was gracious enough to allow a few questions, THANK YOU!

HOUSE: Eric, what birthed the Steaz idea?

Eric: A lifelong passion for my business partner and I to make a difference in the world through a company that could use a mainstream “product” to bring to life the story of ethical and responsible business practices. We didn’t know the official words used to describe this type of thinking in early 2000, but now the corporate world calls this type of business one that is “Triple Bottom Line” and adheres to the founding principles of “People, Planet and ethical Profits”. We always knew it was just about doing what we felt was the “right” way to build a company and conduct ourselves as a brand. So what birthed the idea of sparkling water, meets green tea, meets organic and natural flavors and sweeteners? What better way to try change the world than to make soda “healthier” we thought. It is the classic David vs. Goliath story and we love being the underdogs to Coke and Pepsi! That is why we named our company “The Healthy Beverage Co.”.

HOUSE: Eric, what significance does the name "Steaz" carry?

Eric: We thought what a cool brand name came out of blending the words “soda” and “teas”, as that was really the concept for our first product. We ended with a “Z”, because it is a strong letter with a lot of energy, and called our new soft drink concept Steaz. Coincidentally, years later we met one of the founders of Snapple and he told us the story of how they came up with the word “Snapple”. We all had a good laugh when he told us they thought of what to call their unique concept for their first product, which was a carbonated apple juice. “Soda” plus “apple” and so they called it Snapple!

HOUSE: Tell us about the products? The ingredients? How the awesome flavors were blended to perfection?

Eric: Steaz is an organic and fair trade certified ready to drink tea brand that makes sparkling glass bottled soft drinks, lightly sweetened premium iced teaz and superfood based energy drinks and shots. All of these 4 product lines are formulated and marketed to be “healthier” and more earth friendly alternatives to their mainstream counterparts (ex. Coke, Lipton, Red Bull and 5 Hour Energy). All of our main ingredients share a common bond, the Steaz brand is “organic tea, creatively unleashed”. We use no artificial ingredients or preservatives and we heat pasteurize all of our products, which is more natural way to keep drinks shelf stable as well as allows the flavors to really taste their best andstand up better over time. Often mainstream soft drink brands have to add a lot of “junk” to mask the taste of their harsh chemical preservatives they use to keep the product’s shelf life long.

HOUSE: What are the benefits in drinking these products?

Eric: We do not make any formal “functional” claims as we instead focus on promoting where in the world our ingredients are sourced and how our company uses it’s drinks to promote the education of our mission statement and corporate values. We have been very fortunate that the media does a better job than we can ever do educating consumers as to the beneficial health benefits of drinking green tea each day. Most of our other popular ingredients, such as Acai and Yerba Mate, as well, are enjoying quite a bit of positive press and the manufacturers that we partner with to source those ingredients are dedicated to studying and promoting their ingredients and their notable health benefits.

HOUSE: Can you give us insight to the plant and processing?

Eric: After developing our concept we found a real challenge in securing a bottling plant (manufacturer) to actually make our new drink. The problem is, Steaz needed to be brewed in a plant that was able to use “heat pasteurization” to preserve our products and to bring out the full taste of our tea. There were very few of those bottling plants in the US at the time and they were mainly beer breweries. Being certified organic we could not, and did not want to, use harsh chemical preservatives like Sodium Benzoate and Phosphoric Acid to make our drinks shelf stable. In the end we found a 100+ year old regional beer brewery 2 hours from where we are based in Pennsylvania. The owners believed in our concept and fortunately were willing to invest to become organic certified by the USDA. Our very first full year in business, both of our companies won a joint Manufacturers Excellence Award from the state of PA!

HOUSE: I loved the tea, Energy drink (Diet too) and of course the Sparkling Water - but I also felt GREAT after drinking them, what has been other response to your healthy beverages?

Eric: We are very lucky, we make drinks that make people happy! Most all of our consumer feedback is positive. At our very first tradeshow in 2003, I’ll never forget, a woman came up to me to shake my hand and thank me for making a drink that could finally get her off her addiction to bad for you soda. I knew we had something very special with the Steaz brand right then.

HOUSE: Where can we find Steaz? What is your vision for Steaz in five years? Do you see the product available where they should be, ie schools, hospitals, day cares and city-state-federal facilities?

Eric: Steaz is available in most local health foods stores, natural sections of regional supermarkets as well as nationally sold in large name retailers like Whole Foods and Target. We are a small company still, but our goal has always been to eventually build a brand that is as easy to find as Coke and Pepsi’s products. We feel all consumers deserve to have an organic alternative to choose from when doing their everyday shopping for their families. I believe in 5 years we may actually be a household name if we keep growing the way we are!


LOVE it!!! (disclaimer: Houseonahillorg participated in a dinner introducing the product. Houseonahillorg has not, however, been compensated for this endorsement, which is a true assessment of Houseonahillorg's feelings for the product Steaz)

LEAVE a comment and you will be entered into the 6 pack Steaz giveaway! (sorry, U.S. residents only)



Dawn Copeland said...

It's refreshing to find a tasty compliment to my daily routine of water, and tea.

Reinventing My Life...One Day at a Time said...

Love the interview with Eric from Steaz. Its great that not only are you promoting healthy eating/drinking, but you are promoting small business as well and that is awesome. Steaz is a business with heart and with an honest and viable belief in their products ability to be healthy to its consumers. I happen to be a fan of Steaz and am excited when I see a chance to promote their name. Thanks for your insightful interview

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