STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International

Volume 3, Number 3

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32 STiR tea & coffee industry international C ommercial equipment suppliers—big or small, old or new—all agree: tea is a fast-growing trend in the United States. Manufacturers credit demand to the fact that Americans have developed a sweet tooth for iced tea. This has led to increased interest in tea brewing equipment from food and beverage industry custom- ers. These suppliers are responding two ways: reconfiguring their existing designs or adding new products. While per capita consumption in Canada still lags the U.S. sales of iced tea in food- service is soaring in North America and Asia. The National Coffee Association's annual survey of U.S. drinking trends showed that tea has moved ahead of soda in popularity. That shift is largely due to the fact that compared to last year, 9% fewer respondents reported they had consumed a carbonated beverage the previous day. Brant Curtis, director of marketing for The Wilbur Curtis Company, confirms that "iced tea has really seen resurgence in the last couple of years. In large part thanks to McDonald's for pushing their sweet tea program. Iced tea is going everywhere now. You even see some of the high-end specialty cafes doing iced tea. They're not brewing huge volumes so they're able to do it batch by batch," he said. Curtis, as the company is best known, is a fourth generation family business. After being asked by his employer to transfer to Texas, Curtis's great-grandfather left the Silex Glass Company. He liked California so much that is where he founded his own firm in 1941. Three other commercial giants paying close attention to tea taste trends today are BUNN Commercial, FETCO and Grindmaster Cecilware (GMCW). Curtis and GMCW have been selling commercial brewing equipment for more than 50 years. Ce- cilware, founded in 1911, and Grindmaster, founded in 1933, merged in 2009. GMCW now markets a variety of Crathco and American Metal Ware hot and cold beverage products as well as selling the Grindmaster and Cecilware brands. Headquartered in Springfield, Ill., BUNN is another leading commercial equipment supplier and will cel- ebrate its 60th year in business in 2015. The Food Equipment Technologies Company (FETCO) established in 1987 is based in Lake Zurich, Ill. All four—BUNN, Curtis, FETCO and GMCW—are re-evaluating the market for their product lines with tea in mind. Most manufacturers retain the basic brewing and dispensing features of hot water dispensers and iced tea brewers developed decades ago. The more established equip- ment makers have found ways to advance their products to capitalize on the latest Fresh brewed tea is booming in foodservice with bulk tea brewing equipment from manufacturers like BUNN, Curtis, FETCO and GMCW. Learn what's new. What's selling well and why. What's Brewing with Tea Hot or cold, big flavor is the trend Hot water boiler and dispenser manu- factured by GMCW University Village Teavana store in Seattle, Wash. By Jenny Neill

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