SOURCE: Dilmah Tea

September 08, 2008 15:40 ET

Dilmah 'Single Origin' 100% Pure Ceylon Tea Expands U.S. Market Penetration With Availability at Major Grocery Chains and Specialty Gourmet Outlets

World's Leading Premium Ceylon Tea Brand Now at Over 1,000 Retailers in East and Southeast Markets, Including Stop & Shop, Giant Food Stores, Giant Landover, Jungle Jim's, Top's Market, Sweetbay, Hannaford Brothers Stores and Online at Amazon.com

JACKSONVILLE, FL--(Marketwire - September 8, 2008) - Dilmah and Unity Brands Group have joined together to bring the splendor and quality of Dilmah Teas to the U.S. and have announced that they have expanded availability of the Dilmah Gourmet, Dilmah Single Estate and Dilmah Green Tea brands throughout the Eastern Seaboard and Southeast. Grown, handpicked, cured and packaged by family-owned company Dilmah Teas, the premium brand has emerged as a gourmet alternative to mass-produced, "blended" products and is currently the leading single origin, ethically produced Ceylon tea in over 90 countries.

Operating as the world's only truly vertically integrated tea producer, Dilmah Tea is entirely grown, packaged, and branded in Sri Lanka without middlemen between the tea plant and tea pot, ensuring ultimate freshness and the highest standards of ethics. Dilmah is highly committed to supporting their growers, plantation workers and communities throughout Sri Lanka by reinvesting profits to improve living standards among tea estate workers and the community at large. In addition, through the Merrill J. Fernando Charitable Foundation created by the Founder of Dilmah, the company supports a wide spectrum of effective environmental and social betterment programs in Sri Lanka that include nutritional development of infants and children, educational scholarships, the delivery of health care services, and environmental conservation programs.

The luxurious Dilmah Single Estate teas are among the most exclusive, boutique teas in the world and include Lover's Leap Estate, Somerset Estate, Dombagastalawa Estate, and Nilagama Estate. Among the traditional varieties in the Dilmah Gourmet Series are Earl Grey, English Breakfast, English Afternoon, Irish Breakfast, and Ceylon Supreme. The Dilmah Green Tea offerings include renowned Ceylon Green Tea with Real Cinnamon, Real Ginger, Natural Lemongrass, Moroccan Mint, and Natural Green Tea.

"People everywhere are re-discovering the rich and satisfying flavor of fresh packed, 100 percent Ceylon tea," Mr. Mehta said. "Dilmah has become a phenomena around the world because it is has brought back the tradition of hand picked, single origin tea, something you won't find in mass produced teas that are typically blends from several different countries. Dilmah is revolutionizing tea in the same way gourmet coffee changed the expectations of consumers with regard to taste, freshness and authenticity."

Founded by Merrill J. Fernando, widely acknowledged to be the patriarch of the Ceylon tea industry, Dilmah has been a pioneer in the premium tea category with a strict adherence to traditional cultivation, picking and curing practices. Unlike mass marketed teas that are processed with a new fast track technique called CTC for "cut, twist and curl," Mr. Fernando insists on a more time consuming artisanal process which ensures the handpicked tender tea leaf provides maximum flavor. Instead of spending months in transit and storage while waiting to be blended and packaged overseas, Dilmah is packaged at source within days of leaving the field, sealing in freshness and keeping healthful antioxidants intact. The result is the characteristic richness of Dilmah teas and the complex and distinct flavors of each variety that embody the essence of Sri Lanka's unique growing regions, which retain a reputation as the "cleanest tea in the world."

"Internationally, approximately 30 percent of Dilmah's sales come from restaurants, airlines and hotels which provides excellent exposure to consumers and has been shown to drive retail demand in a very direct way," Mr. Mehta stated. "Even though Dilmah is still relatively new to the U.S. market, many of the grocery chains and specialty stores have been pleasantly surprised by the degree of brand awareness that already exists here."

About Dilmah Teas

Dilmah Tea is guided by the philosophy that "Business is a matter of Human Service." That philosophy is crystallised in the Five Pillars of Dilmah, Quality, Authenticity, our Customer, Ethics and Integrity. Based on the concept of a family business operating with family values, the Dilmah business model integrates social justice at its core.

In 2008, Dilmah celebrated its 20th anniversary as the gold standard in the tea industry and Mr. Fernando his 58th year as a tea craftsman. The Dilmah brand has become a family passion, and the small upstart from Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, is the favorite brand of discerning tea drinkers in over 90 countries. Under the watchful guidance of Mr. Fernando, the "father of 100% Pure, Single Origin Ceylon tea," Dilmah continues the tradition of guaranteeing tea drinkers satisfying cup after satisfying cup "from the plant to the pot." For more information about Dilmah, visit www.DilmahTea.com.

About the Dilmah Commitment to Social Justice

Through the MJF Charitable Foundation, an NGO and recognized charity, the Fernando family contributes funding, resources and education to the underprivileged throughout Sri Lanka. The Foundation's key objectives include the improvement of medical and educational facilities for over 30,000 workers and their families on MJF Group plantations, and the approximately 1,500 staff and workers in its trading and production activities. For more information, visit www.mjffoundation.org

About the Dilmah Commitment to the Environment

Dilmah, together with its resource partner IUCN, is working towards a more sustainable use of the environment. IUCN, also known as the World Conservation Union, is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. Dilmah recently received an award from IUCN for its pioneering work in integrating humanitarian and environmental aspects into their business model. For more information, visit www.dilmahconservation.org

About Unity Brands Group

Unity Brands Group was founded in 2007 by Praful Mehta to bring the finest in multicultural consumer packaged goods and premium brands from around the globe to discerning gourmets everywhere. Unity Brands Group is committed to excellence and is a State Certified Minority/Woman Owned Company and member of the NASFT. For more information, visit www.UnityBrandsGroup.com

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