The company made organic drinks. | Courtesy of Rooibee Red Tea

The organic beverage company Rooibee Red Tea is no longer in operation as of Monday, after being unable to raise sufficient capital.

“It is with a heavy heart that the board of directors announces the closing of Rooibee Red Tea Company,” said Phoebe Wood, chairwoman of the board. “While the company had a loyal following of consumers, unfortunately, we could not get the funding to grow the company. We thank all of our loyal fans and specifically the Louisville community for supporting us over the last decade.”

Insider Louisville reached out to a spokesperson for the company through email Tuesday morning to find out more about its closure but did not immediately hear back.

The company Monday night notified its Facebook followers, a couple of dozen of whom have expressed sadness at the news. Several commenters stated that Rooibee Red Tea was a favorite of theirs but noted that it was difficult to find.

Rooibee Red Tea launched at farmers markets in Louisville in 2008 and grew to a full line of USDA-certified organic, ready-to-drink rooibos teas in BPA-free bottles.

Over the years, the company has regularly hosted private funding campaigns to raise money from angel investors to grow products and production capacity.

Insider last reported on the company in October, noting that Rooibee Red Tea had struck a deal with Lipman Brothers Distribution in Nashville to put its rooibos tea line in grocery stores, bars and restaurant in 74 counties in Tennessee. The company’s products were available at select Kroger, Whole Foods, Publix, Lucky’s Market and ValuMarket stores and through several other large retailers.

The fall before that, the company had relaunched its tea line, introducing three  flavors and selling 16.9-ounces bottles at the same price as its former 12-ounce bottles. The relaunch followed multiple years of rapid growth in the early 2010s.

Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]


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