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How Is AriZona Tea Still $0.99?

Updated September 26, 2019 136.3k views12 items

If you thought nothing could get less expensive than water, you're wrong. AriZona iced tea has become a ubiquitous bodega drink because of its insanely cheap, 23.5-ounce cans. But how? Today, food costs about 50% more than it did in 2000, which is around the time AriZona decided to cement its $0.99 price tag on all of their cans, much to the dismay of bodega owners everywhere.

Even Coca-Cola, which cost a nickel for 70 years, had to eventually cave in to rising costs. Despite the price point, AriZona tea hasn't gone the way of Netflix and MoviePass, who struggle to make profits because of their low price points, or the way of Amazon, a company that keeps their costs minimal by treating warehouse workers and delivery drivers poorly. AriZona tea seems to be a mysterious entity impervious to inflation. 

  • Their Arnold Palmer Mix Is One Of Their Best Sellers

    AriZona handles the distribution of their legendary Arnold Palmer mix, created by the golfer himself. AriZona doesn't have many celebrity endorsements, but they did ink a deal with golf star Arnold Palmer in 2002.

    Palmer believed the half-lemonade, half-tea mix would become a golf course staple, but it exceeded the company's wildest expectations. According to Forbes, Arnold Palmers are one of the company's best-selling items. They sold a half-billion units of Palmer's concoction in 2017 alone.

  • They Launch New Products Months Before Their Competitors

    AriZona is constantly researching new products to add to their already successful lines. These ideas are typically brainstormed during daily lunches between Vultaggio and his two sons, Wesley and Spencer. Wesley and Spencer spend much of their time scouring the bodegas and convenience stores of Manhattan to find out which drinks are selling fast and which are failing to gain traction. If they want to launch a new product to capitalize on a trend, they can have it on shelves in as little as 90 days. It's an astoundingly short amount of time considering their competitors take a year or more to debut their new ideas.

  • Store Owners Absolutely Detest AriZona Because The Cans Have "99 Cents" Printed On Them

    You may think it's impossible to hate AriZona tea, but the drink has been a point of contention for more than a few shop owners. The company prints $0.99 on their cans so stores can't jack up the prices without their customers knowing. Since a $1 drink doesn't have a huge profit margin, some shops refuse to sell the beverage. In notoriously expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, shop owners often increase the price, but AriZona does its best to keep their 99 cent price tag.

    "We definitely try to protect that suggested retail price because, again, the price is part of us. That being said, it's hard to police that nationwide," AriZona cofounder Don Vultaggio told Thrillist. 

  • There Are No Plans To Increase Their Prices

    AriZona doesn't plan on giving up their business model. Vultaggio told Thrillist:

    The cans are synonymous with 99 cents now. Our fans love it. They recognize it, and it's a big part of our allure. People really do appreciate that. They've grown up with us, and they'll always know they can head to their local store, and our drinks will be 99 cents.