There aren’t many things more Southern than a tall, icy-cold glass of sweet tea, and Montgomerians Wes Willis and Golson Foshee want to share this flavorful symbol of our region, both here at home and all over the country. “I’m in a band [Rush of Fools] and it has me traveling all over,” Willis said. “I ended up in a few places where I couldn’t get sweet tea, so I started thinking, ‘What would it be like to have a Starbucks concept but with sweet tea?’” He partnered with local real estate developer Foshee, and the duo started the Alabama Sweet Tea Company [http://alabamasweettea.com] in early 2016.
You can currently find them selling sweaty mason jars full of several tea “flavors” at local farmers markets and driving around the state in a funky vintage truck to take their tea to the masses at music and food festivals. You can also order their tea to brew at home (and lots of folks already are, including people from outside the South). But it’s not just any ole tea they’re hawking.
They take a custom blend of whole-leaf black teas mixed especially for The Alabama Sweet Tea Company, and then put a few different spins on it. There’s the Southern: traditional sweet using natural cane sugar; the Yankee: unsweet; and the Mason-Dixon: half and half. They also make the Yellowhammer, which adds fresh-squeezed lemonade, and the Red Head, tea with lemonade and ripe strawberries. None of The Alabama Sweet Tea Company’s products contain preservatives or anything artificial.
And it’s not just about the tea: it’s about pride of place. The Alabama Sweet Tea Company will be an integral piece of downtown Montgomery’s new Market District, slated to open in summer 2017 and being developed by Foshee’s company. “We want to make it the center of the city’s center,” Foshee said. “We’re both passionate about our hometown and its huge potential, and we’ve both decided to stay here and be a part of the positive change. The Alabama Sweet Tea Company is one part of that.”