April 23, 2018
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Maine tea company shows off goods featured in Emmy swag bags for the stars

By Kathleen Pierce, BDN Staff

STONINGTON, Maine — As most people were on the edge of their seats waiting to see whether “Downton Abbey” or “Breaking Bad” would walk away with an Emmy, a tea party was going on in Stonington.

Tempest in a Teapot, a loose-leaf tea company started by two Stonington mothers, was the hot topic at The Factory Tavern Sunday night.

Sacks of tea were flying out the door as tourists and locals stopping in for dinner heard the story. The locally made tea — a rose hip blend called Rosie, and the Gentlemen’s blend with chicory and barley — was selected as swag bag material for the red carpet style lounge in honor of the Emmy Awards.

And with the announcement that the company’s product was Hollywood bound, business has picked up.

“We’ve doubled in sales within the last week,” said co-founder Sarah Burrin. “We have sales in Texas, Florida, California.”

The company that was started with $500 by two stay-at-home mothers is winning fans with its blends of tea that carry holistic properties. But the Emmy connection has propelled them into the national spotlight.

“It’s an immediate national introduction,” said co-owner Jennifer Larrabee, who has had several offers to be in gift bags since.

Next month their tea will be in the New York City Wine and Food Festival sponsored by the Food Network.

“The work that it would take to get that, we got overnight,” said Larrabee.

“We are representing Stonington and our state and women entrepreneurs,” said Burrin.

The company has caught the attention of visitors such as Paul Woodward from Houston.

“They could be the flavor of the month, or tomorrow’s super story,” said the marketing professional, who was dining at the tavern and was impressed with the tea and packaging. “For a small company to start as a Rolls Royce or Cadillac is something most companies would give anything for.”

To toast the entrepreneurs, the chef at The Factory Tavern created a special menu of entrees made with tea — a rosy tea risotto and a tea syrup served with apple pie and ice cream were top hits.

A table of visitors from Georgia ordered up one of the night’s cocktail specials — the Scandal made of vodka and rosie tea, triple sec and lime — and added a few bags of tea to go.

“It’s fabulous. I’ve never heard of this company until tonight,” said Cheryl Wood, from Atlanta, taking a sip of the tea drink. “Oh my God, it’s incredible.”

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