African American entrepreneurs are widening out and starting companies in all kinds of industries. They are no longer just owners of barbershops, hair salons, and restaurants. Nowadays, they are investing in bigger more global ideas like tech companies, investing firms, and global food and drink distribution.
When it comes to beverages, the most popular brands are Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Snapple, and Lipton, but there are also some brands that were created by African American business owners.
Here are 6 Black-owned beverage companies that you can find online and in local grocery stores:
#1 – SoRen Tea: a luxury lifestyle brand with a gourmet selection of blended, loose teas. Established in 2011 by African American sisters Sonnia Shields and Rena Williams, SoRen Tea is one of the first fashion-forward lines of loose leaf teas. The brand has received a tremendous amount of local and national press. In its first year of business, SoRen Tea was invested in by Oscar nominated actress Taraji P. Henson.
#2 – Ellis Island Tea: an all-natural, antioxidant-rich hibiscus tea founded in 2008 by Nailah Ellis-Brown. She got the recipe from her late great grandfather, who told her, “This recipe is to be sold, not told. Ellis Island Tea is a smooth, flavorful Jamaican blend, steeped in family tradition, brewed and bottled in Detroit, Michigan.
#3 – Jin+Ja: a revitalizing, anti-inflammatory and metabolism boosting tea brand that was started in the summer of 2009 by entrepreneur Reuben Canada (pictured above). He initially made the drinks for himself and for friends, but then realized that he had something bigger on his hands. After doing a test at a local retailer, the product kept selling out every 3 days for first three months and the rest is history!
#4 – MoFaya Energy Drinks: As the first 100% black owned beverage company in South Africa, these energy drinks use high quality ingredients to create an energizing & stimulating effect, which enhances endurance and boosts performance. They also have a product formulated for extreme hydration that contains electrolytes, minerals, and carbohydrates to promote optimal fluid replacement.
#5 – Heritage Link Brands: a delicious wine brand founded by entrepreneur Selena Cuffe after she learned there that, out of South Africa’s $3-billion wine industry, less than two percent were owned by blacks despite them representing 80% of the country’s population. Recognizing an untapped opportunity to introduce a new era of producers to the American market, the idea for Heritage Link Brands was born. Today the company serves a customer base of over 4,000 outlets, including household names from Disney to Whole Foods, and their award-winning portfolio is represented in over 40 U.S. states, South Africa, Nigeria, and literally, worldwide, on three different airlines.
#6 – Bee D’Vine: a popular brand of honey wine that was created by entrepreneur Ayele Solomon after he realized that flowering trees in Ethiopia were an ideal source of nectar and pollen that bees use to make valuable honey. This set him on a quest to better understand the art and business of creating honey wine. He evaluated production in Ethiopia and South Africa, but settled on the world-class wine region of Sonoma – not far from where he grew up – using California honey for the first varietals.