The top four teamakers control 88 percent of industry revenue, according to IBISWorld. But the remaining 12 percent represents a $264 million market for small, independent manufacturers.

Tea - the sixth most popular beverage in the U.S. after carbonated soft drinks, bottled water, beer, milk, and coffee - is growing because of increasing consumer health consciousness, particularly among the boomer population. The industry averaged annual growth of about 5 percent over the past five years.

Other healthy beverages with promising growth prospects include antioxidant-rich juices and vitamin-enhanced waters.

By the numbers:

Sales growth rate of "beverage manufacturing" from 2009, according to Sageworks:  8.17 percent

Rank of tea among most popular beverages in the United States: 6

Annual rate of industry revenue increase for the past five years, according to IBISWorld: 5.2 percent

Estimate of annual industry growth until 2015, according to IBISWorld: 5.4 percent

Percentage of the market top industry player Pepsi Co. represents, according to IBISWorld: 35.1

Average company profit margin of U.S. tea producers, according to IBISWorld: 18.6 percent