If you’re from the Tri-Cities region, by now you’ve probably heard the story of Kingsport’s Original Long Island Iced Tea.  But do you know the behind-the-scenes story of how this idea took root?


About five years ago, I was at a conference with the team from Visit Kingsport and we all decided to have dinner in a great little restaurant in Sevierville, Tenn.  Being an avid long island iced tea drinker (if it’s wet, I’ll drink it), I noticed on the menu a reference to the Kingsport bootlegging history.  Being born and raised in Kingsport, I had heard the stories about Long Island along the Holston River but I wasn’t sure if the bootlegging stories during Prohibition were true or not.


Fast-forward to 2018, where The High Road Agency became Visit Kingsport’s agency of record. Visit Kingsport offered a challenge: they wanted something impactful and unique to the region to assist in recruiting visitors. And then appears Long Island Iced Tea – what a perfect way to showcase the history of Kingsport while at the same time highlighting the beauty of the Holston River and Kingsport Greenbelt.  We also implemented an aggressive PR and social media campaign to launch the project.
Research and graphic designs ensued, and the next thing you know, we’re ready to reclaim Kingsport’s Original Long Island Iced Tea.  To be honest, we did focus some of our PR and marketing towards the Long Island of New York – who have claimed to have invented the famous beverage in the 1970s.  Media from around the country (and world), reached out to learn more about Kingsport’s Original version, including CNN Headline News, ABC, News, NBC New York, US News & World Report, newspapers and television in Memphis, Knoxville, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Hawaii and more.


The moral of the story is to hold on to the little ideas – given the right set of ingredients, they can help you create the perfect recipe.


Find out more about the story itself at www.VisitKingsport.com.  You’ll see the original recipe, stories about the Bishop family and where you can sample this tasty version.


Kingsport’s Original Long Island Iced Tea… Don’t Mess With the Original.