World Tea Expo Founder Leaves Show to Head CannaBusiness Media
For the past 10 years, George Jage, founder and director of World Tea Expo, has been busy building up the show, as well as launching Healthy Beverage Expo and growing them both into successful events.
World Tea Expo was such a success, that for several years it was named by now-defunct Tradeshow Week magazine one of the fastest-growing shows in the U.S.
But now, Jage has decided to switch tea for another natural product by taking the lead at CannaBusiness Media, a division of Anne Holland Ventures, Inc., headquartered in Pawtucket, R.I., is a publishing and event company serving the medical and recreational marijuana trade.
"Joining the team at CannaBusiness Media is an unbelievable opportunity, but a little like jumping on a high-speed bullet train," Jage said. " ... The growth potential is enormous and the landscape changes daily. Being able to take on this challenge and sort out this puzzle of abstract pieces was exactly the next challenge I was seeking."
Publications at the company include the Marijuana Industry Directory, Marijuana Business Daily, CannaBusiness Magazine, the CannaBusiness Money Show, and the leading and largest national MMJ (medical marijuana) event, the National CannaBusiness Conference & Expo to be held in Las Vegas this November.
In 2003,Jage created Take Me 2 Tea - the nation's first trade show devoted solely to premium teas and related products.
Two years later, the event was re-branded as World Tea Expo, to more accurately reflect its position in the international tea industry.
In January of 2012, Jage sold the show to F+W Media, and in 2013, he helped launch the Healthy Beverage Expo, which facilitates the dialogue surrounding what "healthy" means to the industry and ultimately the consumer.
Jage also founded the North American Tea Championship, World Tea Academy and World Tea News.
Several people who were a part of World Tea Expo over the years credited Jage with building the profile of the tea industry.
"As I think back over the 10 years I've spent in the U.S. specialty tea industry, George Jage stands out clearly as a charismatic and enthusiastic leader for the healthy growth of our industry,” said Charlie Cain, vice president, Teavana Tea Bar operations and franchising, Starbucks Coffee Company in Seattle, Wash.
He added, “He built an incredible show and media platform, but more importantly he built a family. I'm honored to be part of that family and will forever be grateful for the impact he has had on my career and my industry."
Tea writer Babette Donaldson, author of “The Everything Healthy Tea Book: Discover the Healing Benefits of Tea”, added, "George Jage has written a new chapter in the history of tea by building a bridge over the chasm between the large corporations and small retailers through World Tea Expo. His creative legacy challenges us to honor our interdependency as a strength, a fuel, with the potential to make us the 2nd most popular beverage in the United States, as it is in most of the rest of the world.”
The World Tea Expo and Healthy Beverage Expo recently were held May 29-31 in their new home on Long Beach, Calif., after many years in Las Vegas.
Jage said when he started in the tea business it was worth about $5.7 billion in the U.S., and now it's worth up to $16 billion. Times did get tough during the recession, though , and Jage sold his show to F+W Media.
After some time with F+W, he decided it was time to to get back to his entrepreneurial roots and took the new rols at CannaBusiness Media.
"There are tremendous parallels to the markets for tea and cannabis and ironically, both were discovered by emperor Chennong, the father of modern herbal medicine, some 5,000 years ago," Jage said. "So I am really still working for the same guy."