Ten years ago, Eddy Antoine moved to the Tampa, Florida area to retire. Once he got there, his life took a different direction.
As this article in the Tampa Tribune explains, “his effort to find something interesting to do turned into a one-person endeavor to bring the world something new to drink.”
Today, the 64-year-old Antoine is the founder and president of Complex Beverage, whose primary product is Lettuce Tea. This news release describes the drink is an “all-natural, low sugar, low-calorie functional tea beverage endowed with lettuce extract attributes and vitamins, and brewed with the finest green and black tea components.”
Previously, Antoine had a 30-year corporate career in retail product development. It took him four years to fully develop his concept of Lettuce Tea, which comes in four flavors (mango, strawberry, exotic apricot and pomegranate) and has 50 calories per serving.
So why create a tea derived from lettuce?
“If you want to succeed in the beverage industry, you have to be unique,” Antoine told the Tribune. “You can’t succeed as a ‘me, too.’ You have to ask what your product has that others don’t.”
Antoine’s current focus is on getting his tea distributed more broadly in the marketplace. His plan is to position Lettuce Tea as an alternative to drinks found in health food and convenience stories.
His new role has taught him the difference between bringing a product to market as a corporate employee and as an entrepreneur. Large companies, he said, “have cash, marketing, scientists and a lot of resources. They ask you to do something, and you do it.
“If you’re working for yourself, you have to do everything.”