US: Consumer Services

Protestors Target AriZona Iced Tea—Which Is Based in NY

Protestors pushing a boycott against the state of Arizona in reaction to a new immigration law there have taken their fight to the AriZona Beverage Company—apparently without realizing that the company is based in New York.

The new law, which will allow state police to request citizenship papers from people they believe could be illegal immigrants, has sparked broad outrage and led to calls to boycott Arizona-based companies.

AriZona Beverage Company, however, was founded by two men from Brooklyn—Don Vultaggio and John Ferolito—in 1992. Its headquarters have been on Long Island for the past 16 years. The company's Web site explains the name—it borrows from the design motif from one of the founders' Southwestern-inspired house in Queens.

"We are very proud to be an American company with roots in New York," founder and chairman Vultaggio said in a statement on the company's Web site.

The NY Daily News quoted Tweets from protestors upset with the company, such as this one from Travis Nichols in Chicago: "It is the drink of fascists."

But it appears Vultaggio's comments have already struck a chord with consumers, as some quickly came to the company’s defense.

A handful of recent Tweets cite the company's New York roots, and a note by Jennifer Norwood of Savannah, Ga., said, "Everything everyone wants to boycott makes me want it even more. Gonna fill up on BP gasoline & buy a case of Arizona iced tea."

Other companies that have been identified in the protests are Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways and Phoenix-based PetSmart .