Rebranding Ortea For Greater Local Appeal

Daniel Freichel and Stephan Kneip, co-founders of Ortea, pictured at the Foire Agriculture (© Ortea).

Ortea co-founders Stephan Kneip and Daniel Freichel discuss their journey in creating a unique iced tea brand in Luxembourg and how they’ve recently rebranded to better showcase the company’s values.   

The idea for Ortea began when Stephan Kneip began mixing iced teas at university. A food and beverage hobbyist, he wasn’t satisfied with the teas available at grocery stores, so he decided to make his own. 

Realising he’d always wanted to be an independent, Kneip got more serious about perfecting the recipes after his studies, having his friend (and now business partner), Daniel Freichel, taste his concoctions. 

Impressed with the quality, Freichel says, “I’d always had an idea to start my own company, and this was a good opportunity. There weren’t that many made-in-Luxembourg soft drinks, and the idea of making something with better quality was appealing.”

“Stripping down the design, limiting the visuals, so the customer more easily understands Ortea.”

Stephan Kneip, co-founder of Ortea

Nettles at the core

Ortea is a play on the French word for nettle (ortie), a key ingredient in each of the company’s products. The first recipe the pair settled on was an apple nettle tea. “We started looking for partners because it wasn’t feasible to buy everything on our own and rent property with a very small budget,” says Freichel. 

Another challenge was that they wanted to keep a local, organic focus with short supply chains—in most cases, this worked. Ortea uses honey from local apiarists (Joe Molitor, Georges Gidt and Jeannot Glodé), while the juice comes from apples in orchards surrounding Ferme du Klingelbour in Bridel. The co-founders also rent machinery to produce the teas locally.

They nevertheless had to look outside of Luxembourg for herbs, as “there’s no local producer that makes organic certified herbs in Luxembourg,” Freichel adds. The herbs and nettles therefore come from Sonnentor in Austria. 

Rebranding 

The first product was launched in 2022, and today Ortea continues to produce its apple tea, as well as a blackcurrent variety. Recently Ortea also redesigned the packaging. “We saw the problem that people looked at the bottle and didn’t really get what it was about. We needed to clarify things,” Kneip explains. To do so, they approached each level of the product: the tea itself, but also by “stripping down the design, limiting the visuals, so the customer more easily understands Ortea” and its values. The zig-zag visual on the bottles now also calls to mind nettle leaves. 

The Ortea co-founders say the target market is young, working professionals and the pair wanted the teas to be available at coffee shops, places people like to have brunch, etc. The teas, 100% organic without artificial flavours, additives or industrial sugars, are available at over 100 points of purchase, including via the Ortea website.

 
 
 
 
 
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Une publication partagée par Ortea, organic iced tea (@ortea.lu)

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