Arizona Beverage Company has been a family affair for a quarter of a century. Back in 1992 Don Vultaggio, a former Long Island-based beverage distributor realized the popularity of Snapple and tried to give it go with his own beverage company, bringing iced tea to the masses in a can that sold for just 99 cents. His wife Ilene designed the now-iconic southwestern and cherry blossom labels for the 23-ounce can, and now his sons Spencer and Wesley are following in their father’s footsteps to take over the New York-based beverage company.
To celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary, Arizona is having a pop-up shop in New York’s Soho district through May 21 called GB99 after Great Buy 99 that will sell Arizona merchandise inspired by the Great Buy 99-cent cans. Arizona fans can buy T-shirts, crewnecks, hoodies, button-downs, jackets, hats, bags, custom Zippo lighters, AriZona-scented air fresheners, and more. Each day will feature a new product release. I quizzed the brothers on growing up in the beverage business, their plans for Arizona’s future, and why they decided to celebrate with a pop-up shop filled with Arizona merch.
What is your first memory of Arizona?
Spencer: Being eight years old in Rockaway Queens trying original flavor samples for lemon and raspberry tea with my friends.
Wesley: My first memory is of our parents designing the first cans taking inspiration from our Santa Fe-inspired home in Rockaway, Queens. I remember my parents visiting me at summer camp and showing up with a trunk full of merch and all of the kids going crazy for it. That was the first time I saw the power of our brand.