Why AriZona Iced Tea CEO won't raise 99-cent price: ‘It's my little way of giving back'


AriZona Iced Tea first put its iconic 99-cent cans in stores in 1992. The price hasn't gone up even a penny in the 32 years since.

"People say, 'How do you do it?'" the brand's chairman and founder Don Vultaggio said in a recent interview with NBC News' Morning News NOW and Today. "We make it faster. We ship it better. We ship it closer. The cans are thinner."

As far as Vultaggio is concerned, there's no need to mess with a formula that has worked for decades and helped his net worth climb to more than $6 billion, according to Forbes.

"We're successful, we're debt free, we own everything," he says. "Why have people who are having a hard time paying their rent pay more for their drink?"

"Maybe it's my little way of giving back," he added.

In a 2022 interview with CNBC Make It, Vultaggio explained how he keeps prices low by not doing things the way larger competitors do. Instead of spending large sums money on advertising, AriZona relies on word-of-mouth to keep new customers coming.

"I tell people every day I go to a gunfight with Coke and Pepsi," he said at the time. "I have a water gun and they have machine guns."

And while Arizona has expanded into selling merch and alcoholic beverages, it is still focused on selling as many 99-cent cans as it can.

The billionaire doesn't dismiss the possibility of raising the price one day. But he said he will try to keep the price the same for as long as possible.

"I don't know about never, [but] not in the foreseeable future," he told Today. "We're going to fight as hard as we can for consumers, because consumers are my friend."

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