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Honest Tea: the comic book

When last we heard from our hero, beverage entrepreneur Seth Goldman ’95MPPM, he was wrestling with Coca-Cola over "honest" labeling of one of Goldman's Honest Tea products. With that cliffhanger resolved, Goldman now returns as the central figure in his very own comic book.

Mission in a Bottle: The Story of Honest Tea is a 304-page hardcover book, due out in September. It starts with Goldman's idea for the company—combining his thirst for a lightly sweetened, natural ice tea with his desire to "create something where I have a direct impact"—and shows how he teamed up with Barry Nalebuff, his former professor at the Yale School of Management, to launch Honest Tea in 1998.

The pair "stumbled around quite a bit,” Goldman tells the New York Times, but eventually reached $75 million in sales by 2011, the year Coca-Cola bought the company. The book chronicles some of their "countless rejections [and] sleepless nights," as well as their bright ideas and breakthroughs, with the hope of instructing and inspiring people who want to start socially responsible businesses.

As for that 2010 facedown with Coca-Cola over Honest Kids fruit drinks? Coke, then a minority investor, objected to the "no high fructose corn syrup" labels, with their implicit criticism of that sweetener. Today, the kids' drinks still proudly bear that phrase, along with a new declaration: "Sweetened only with fruit juice."

This article was revised after posting to note that the Honest Kids packages still say "no high fructose corn syrup."

Filed under Seth Goldman, Honest Tea, Barry Nalebuff, School of Management
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