Four years ago, Rick McQueen pondered his economic future after his job fell victim to the declining Detroit auto industry. As he brewed some iced tea for himself, he suddenly realized the answer he sought was right under his nose. A highly spiritual man, Rick credits the power of prayer with his decision to start a business selling iced tea made from his grandfather’s recipe, and Grandad’s Sweet Tea was born.
Rick started out making unflavored decaffeinated tea, but the preservative-free brew has since evolved into a lemony, citrus variation that’s gained a strong local following. To keep up with demand, Rick has moved his production into larger quarters within a local brewery. Whole Foods and other Michigan chain stores now carry Rick's products, and Grandad's Sweet Tea has become a staple offering at many Detroit restaurants.
Grandad’s currently comes in sweetened, lemon and unsweetened varieties; Rick is also looking to add green tea, raspberry and peach flavors to his lineup. At his booth in Detroit’s Eastern Market, Rick happily pours free samples for prospective customers. Single bottles cost $1.