Milo’s Tea Company, the US sweet teas and lemonade maker, is set to break ground on its fourth factory in March.
The Alabama-headquartered company is to spend more than US$130m on a new plant in South Carolina. Production is scheduled to begin by autumn 2024.
Milo’s Tea said it was reacting to the growth of its namesake brand. “Our tea sales are up 47% versus last year and lemonade sales are up 56%, which is more than any other tea or lemonade brand. We also continue to outpace category growth,” a Milo’s Tea spokesperson said.
Citing data from Nielsen covering the liquid tea segment, the company said its eponymous tea is the “number one refrigerated tea” in the US.
The family-owned business said it plans to hire 103 staff at the new manufacturing and distribution facility, which will be located in Spartanburg County. It already has two factories in Alabama and one in Oklahoma.
Asked by Just Drinks which parts of the US will be supplied by the new facility, the spokesperson said: “It will primarily serve customers up and down the east coast but is not limited to that geography only.”
The plant will help Milo’s Tea make progress with its ambition to supply nationwide. “We continue to grow our footprint across the US and currently serve every state (including Alaska and Hawaii) except for the New England states,” the spokesperson said. “We have expanded into areas of the country such as California with a low category development index and we have been able to drive consumer interest and quadruple the category in a few short years. In the future, we hope to service all 50 US states and drive category growth. This new facility, and increased capacity, will help us on that trajectory.”
For now, the certified Women-Owned company – which generated retail sales of US$444.6m in the 52 weeks of December, the spokesperson said – plans to focus on continuing to grow in the US. It is also aiming to install more production lines in the years ahead.
“Milo’s products are all natural with no preservatives which means they have to stay refrigerated until consumed. This also means the shelf life is shorter than other teas and beverages in the market that use chemicals and additives. Therefore, our scope is currently to service the US only at this time,” the spokesperson added.
South Carolina’s second biggest industry after tourism is advanced manufacturing. This is partly concentrated upstate where Spartanburg County is located.
The unemployment rate has been decreasing in South Carolina, standing at 3.3% in December 2022 based on data from the US Bureau of Labor, a decline of 0.3 percentage points the year before. The state’s rate is 0.2 percentage points lower than the US overall.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster welcomed the investment from Milo’s Tea. “Their investment and the creation of new jobs will greatly enhance the Spartanburg County community and the state,” he said.