Made in the Northwest: Revival Tea Company

SPOKANE, Wash. – Revival Tea Company is one of the fastest growing tea companies in the United States, but it was almost a whiskey distillery.

Drew Henry and his wife, Cerina, planned to open a distillery until Henry, the company’s teamaker and founder, realized, “Nobody did tea well over here. And so, we were like, ‘What if we do craft tea?’ Kind of like craft beer or craft whiskey.”

The first step was finding its tasting room on W. Main Ave., which Henry said was a speakeasy in Spokane’s early days.

“Jimmy Durkin, who was a big liquor tycoon, this was his gambling den. And we had an opportunity to come in here, fix it up and kind of take it back to its glory days.”

Revival now makes 60 different teas. Henry calls coming up with the blends his favorite part of the job.

“It’s interesting because some of them can take over a year to come up with. Our Fresh Crafted Spiced Chai, which was our first tea, took eight months.”

Those 60 teas require some 200 different ingredients, which are sourced from more than 30 countries.

“We want to find them from places that are doing it the right way,” explained Henry. “We want to find obviously high quality ingredients.”

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Revival’s most popular tea right now, by a wide margin, is its Blue Tea, which was created because of the fad over Butterfly Pea Flower.

“We put some passion fruit, some mango, some lemon, some mint, some lemongrass and made it taste blue.”

It also has a Northwest Breakfast Tea. It’s a breakfast style blend, but “we added Eastern White Pine needles to it to make it taste like the great PNW,” said Henry.

Revival recently started making hopped teas, which are beer like drinks, but with zero alcohol.

“We brew it just like beer, but we replace the malt with tea,” said Henry. “It’s been so popular, we’re going to start canning it and putting it in grocery stores this fall.”

It’s collaborating with other local businesses, too. Anchored Northwest is making a candle with its spiced chai scent. And it’s working with Dry Fly Distilling on a tea flavored canned cocktail.

On September 24, Revival will open its new headquarters on W. Riverside Ave., just a couple blocks away from its tasting room. The larger facility will take it from 600 sq. ft. of production space to 4,000 sq. ft.

“(It) should last us a couple years as we continue to grow. But we move in this Friday, so that’ll be much needed as we head into the holiday season.”

Revival also signed a distribution deal with URM Stores.

“We’re really excited, because that’ll take our brand into four states,” said Henry.

It’s even planning to open a pilot store in another city next year, as part of its plan to make Revival Tea Company a nationwide brand.

“We’re just kind of following the growth, following the momentum.”

And right now, it’s as a strong as its strongest steeped tea.