Gayle Galbraith and Stanley Nowak, FedBrew Kombucha, Federalsburg, MD, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I am a fan of Kundalini Yoga and was smitten by the music of Deva Premal & Miten, known for their beautiful energy-shifting, mantra music. My partner, Stan, and I saw them live at MantraFest 2013 at the Temple Performing Arts Center, formerly The Temple, a historic Baptist church. The acoustics were simply divine and so was the Culture Club Kombucha that Reed’s provided. The entire experience was transformational and it was love at first sip.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Our Company is mission focused. Although we were raised in the Philadelphia area, we started our business with the mission to help revive Federalsburg, a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Exactly how we arrived here is a long story, and how we would do this was not initially clear but it was a calling. I started by attending The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and became a Board Certified Wellness Coach. We then purchased a historic bank building and received a Federal Brewers Permit, thinking that we would offer the town a community gathering space with healing foods and ancient ales. Shortly after purchasing the building, I tried kombucha for the first time and became obsessed with all things fermented. Stan was happy to pivot from beer to booch, since he was raised in an old school Polish family. His mother always had some form of homemade fermented beverage or natural remedy on the table. After a little translation and a lot of smiling, I received some great tips from “Babchi,” Stan’s Mom. I also received encouragement, guidance and practical lessons from the illustrious Kombucha Mama, Hannah Crum – thanks, Hannah!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Hex Ferments Butterfly Lime is a real winner!

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I worked in various administrative positions at a university and a consulting firm. I also dressed up like Pocahontas at kid’s birthday parties, which was much more fun. I decided to change careers in my 40’s. I became a Wellness Coach with a focus on gut health. Stan, is a USMC Veteran and spent years in construction inspection. The Marine Corps slogan “Semper Fidelis” or “Always Faithful” has been invaluable to our mission and the unofficial USMC slogan “Adapt Improvise Overcome” is one that I think all kombucha brewers can identify with.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

“Kombucha Life is Good – Drink UP!”

 

 

Alicia Biggs, Clearly Kombucha, Fairfield, CA, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first discovered Kombucha on the streets of San Francisco. I bought GT’s Synergy from a mini mart on Haight Street and I remember my very first sip.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I am not a founder of Clearly Kombucha but I’ve been with the company for over 5 years now.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

I think if I had to pick my favorite kombucha outside of our brand I would choose Holy Kombucha.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I have a BS in Wine Business so I was in and out of the wine industry prior to my start in Kombucha.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Nothing good happens after midnight!

HARPC is the evolution of HACCP. This article outlines the steps needed to comply with new regulations from the FDA for United States based producers. Other countries may require similar documentation and we recommend all Kombucha brewers have some form of plan in place to control for any potential hazards or risks.

1. Conduct Hazard Analysis

The “HA” in HARPC stands for “Hazard Analysis” and addresses the core intent of the law: to identify hazards due to the specific foods or food ingredients in the food or due to the various processing, manufacturing, packing, and holding steps applied to the foods. Once identified, the company must evaluate each hazard to assess its probability of occurring and severity of the injury it would bring. This step is designed to prepare the firm for identifying the steps necessary to minimize or prevent the hazards from arising.

To identify the hazards, the company must consider following:

  • Known or reasonably foreseeable hazards:
  • biological hazards (pathogenic bacteria, viruses, mold or parasites)
  • chemical hazards (cleaning agents, pest control substances)
  • physical hazards (extraneous or foreign matter such as glass)
  • Natural toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposition, parasites, allergens, and unapproved food and color additives
  • Naturally occurring hazards or unintentionally introduced hazards
  • Intentionally introduced hazards for economic gain

After identifying the hazards, the Company must evaluate each by considering formulation, ingredients, facilities, equipment, production flow, storage, and transportation. The Company must also look into relevant factors that could contribute to each hazard throughout the food facility, its operations and personnel, including personnel screening and controls, the entire supply chain of a facility’s food ingredients (raw materials, packaging, dyes, labels, etc.), and the finished foods received, delivered and shipped.

Companies must create a written analysis of the above hazards, in English, so that FDA can review it during inspection or upon request.

2. Risk-based Preventive Controls

The “RPC” in HARPC stands for “Risk-based Preventive Controls.”  This portion of HARPC requires companies, whether foreign or domestic, to develop and implement a series of risk-based controls to significantly minimize or prevent the identified hazards to ensure the safety of the food it manufactures, processes, holds and distributes. The Company must designate controls at food processing steps that are appropriate for ensuring the safety of the food, especially, the critical control point (CCP). CCPs are critical manufacturing points, where the Company can apply controls to minimize or eliminate the hazard or reduce the hazard to an acceptable level under normal manufacturing operations.

Examples of types of preventive controls include:

  • Sanitation procedures at food surface contact points
  • Sanitation of utensils and equipment
  • Staff hygiene training
  • Food allergen control program
  • Recall plan
  • Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMPs)
  • Supply-chain controls

The Company must have written preventive controls.
For each hazard that requires a preventive control, the Company must establish a written recall plan.

If a particular hazard will be controlled by another facility in the supply-chain (whether a supplier or later distributor/processor), the Company is not required to implement a preventive control as long as the Company records and obtains written assurance from the other facility that the hazard is being controlled.

3.  Monitoring of Effectiveness

HARPC requires the food facility to establish and implement a written monitoring program, which ensures the firm is conducting regular evaluations of the facility’s control measures to determine that the preventive controls are working.   FDA will evaluate the firm’s monitoring system to identify inadequacies in either the methods of monitoring or the firm’s record keeping.

4.  Corrective Actions

The Company must establish and implement written corrective action procedures that will go into effect if:

  • preventive controls are not property implemented;
  • there is a question regarding preventive control or food safety plan’s effectiveness;
  • the records are incomplete, or other discrepancies in implementing the food safety plan.

The corrective action procedures must include the following steps:

  • Identification of weak spots in the controls
  • Identification of ineffective controls
  • Identification of new hazards
  • Performing necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of recurrence
  • Evaluating the processed food for safety
  • Prevention of adulterated food from entering commerce

5.  Verification

HARPC requires food facilities to design and implement verification steps to ensure that their HARPC plans (including the hazard identification and analysis, preventive controls and control measures, monitoring and corrective action steps) are operating correctly to prevent or minimize food safety and adulteration hazards.  Verification steps should be sufficiently robust to ensure that:

  • The selected preventive controls are adequate
  • Monitoring is occurring properly as defined in the plan
  • Appropriate corrective actions are taken
  • Potential food and food processing hazards are reduced
  • Periodic reviews are conducted at appropriate intervals so the HARPC plan remains working and takes into account new and emerging risks and hazards

 6.  (Receiving Facilities) Supply-chain Program

HAPRC gives flexibility to receiving facilities’ controls on raw materials. If supplier or a third party entity implements controls to manage the hazards associated with raw material or other ingredients, the receiving facility does not need to establish its own preventive controls itself, but can rely on that of the third party or supplier through a risk-based supply-chain program.

Every receiving facility needs to set up a risk-based supply-chain program to make sure that the relevant hazards are appropriately controlled by its suppliers or third party entities. Under the supply-chain program, the receiving facility must first approve suppliers by considering the nature of the hazards and supplier performance. Then, the receiving facility must determine appropriate verification activities to ensure the supplier’s controls significantly minimize or prevent hazards. Appropriate verification activities may include onsite audits and testing. If the supplier is not controlling the hazards, the receiving facility can also choose to review and the verification conducted by another entity to assess the sufficiency of the controls.

In summary, the contents of the supply-chain program must include:

  • Identification and use approved suppliers
  • Determining and conducting supplier’s verification activities
  • Conducting other facility (non-supplier)’s controls of hazards, or reviewing another entity’s verification activities on the hazards.

The supply-chain program must be written. The receiving facility needs to develop written receiving procedures and document the supplier’s verification activities.

7.  Recordkeeping and Documentation

One key development under HARPC is its new requirements related to recordkeeping and methods of documentation that are now mandatory for food manufacturing, processing, packing and storage facilities.  Previously, under the Bioterrorism Act, FDA could only require a food company to maintain records that enabled food to be traced through the supply chain (one up / one back identification records). Now, HARPC and the supply-chain provisions under FSMA require that records and documents related to food hazards and process control systems be established and maintained for no less than 2 years to cover the following HARPC steps:

  • The monitoring of the preventive controls
  • The corrective actions
  • Testing results and other verification steps designed to ensure the preventive controls are effectively minimizing or preventing hazards
  • Supply-chain program
  • Trainings

In other words, FDA requires that a written record be kept of the entire plan including the process, the proof, and the problems.  A facility must make these records and documentation available to FDA upon request.

This new authority will result, eventually, in FDA demanding foreign and domestic food facilities to produce their HARPC records rather than the agency spending resources conducting physical plant inspections. The recordkeeping requirements, therefore, must tell the proper story to demonstrate HARPC compliance.

8.  Requirement to Reanalyze

After developing and implementing an adequate HARPC plan, the food facility must periodically evaluate its food safety HARPC system.  Under HARPC the facility must reanalyze its plan:

  • Whenever there is a significant change at the facility that might increase a known hazard or introduce a new one
  • Every 3 years (if no other significant changes occur)

Additionally, HARPC requires the facility to perform a new hazard analysis and implement any new, necessary preventive controls before operational changes occur.  Any changes must be documented in the firm’s HARPC records. If no changes are necessary after a reanalysis of a HARPC system, the firm must document the basis for that decision.

FAQ’s

Who is responsible for the HARPC plan?

The owner, operator, or agent in charge of each domestic or international food facility is required to develop an adequate HARPC plan for any facility that is subject to FDA food facility registration under The Bioterrorism Act. There are no substantive adulteration charges that apply to food manufactured in a facility that fails to comply with HARPC. Rather, failure to implement HARPC is defined by the FSMA as a “prohibited act”. Therefore, failure to comply could lead to criminal prosecution of the company (corporation, partnership, association, etc.) and / or the owner, operator or agent in charge of the facility.

How are HARPC and HACCP similar/different?

  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is the FDA’s regulatory predecessor to HARPC under FSMA.  HACCP is a very similar hazard control system, but only applies to seafood and juice processors. HARPC applies to all food facilities subject to FDA registration except those covered by and in compliance with HACCP (and a few other significant exemptions discussed below). Another significant difference is that seafood and juice HACCP were created by FDA regulation – not by federal statute. HARPC was created by an amendment to the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, specifically, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Although arguments could be made that seafood and juice HACCP are unconstitutional, in that they laws (legislation) created by a federal regulatory agency and not by Congress, signed by the President, those arguments do not exist for HARPC. Functionally, HACCP and HARPC are very similar, though supplier verification procedures (including the Foreign Supplier Verification Program requirements (FSVP) are much more rigorous under FSMA.

How often do I have to submit or update my HARPC plan?

  • FDA requires that a facility update its HARPC plan every 3 years or whenever there is a significant change at that facility which may increase a potential hazard or introduce a new one. Additionally, FDA may require an update based on new biological or chemical hazards.  There is no statutory requirement to submit your HARPC plan to FDA at any particular time, except, when FDA requests you to provide a copy of it. FDA would also request records necessary to demonstrate that you have properly implemented your HARPC plan. FDA’s request could be oral or in writing including during an FDA inspection.

What if I don’t have a HARPC plan? (Or my plan is inadequate?)

  • If a facility does not have a HARPC plan or if FDA determines a HARPC plan is inadequate, FDA can take a number enforcement steps. First, FDA can criminally charge a company or person for owning, operating or acting as agent in charge of a facility not in compliance with HARPC. Second, FDA can issue a public warning letter and / or place foreign firms on Import Alert.
  • If food from a non-compliant facility presents a significant food safety risk, FDA could suspend the facility’s food facility registration and thereby prevent the facility from distributing food products until FDA has approved a corrective action plan.
  • In the case of a foreign firm, FDA would likely place the facility on an Import Alert (similar to Import Alert 16-120). A firm that is listed on this Import Alert would find its food automatically detained at importation, effectively barring it from the United States market unless FDA reviews and accepts an adequate HARPC plan.

More information on HARPC and HACCP can be in found in the 2016 & 2017 KKon presentations

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a sweeping food safety legislation amending the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, was enacted on January 4, 2011.  It aims to ensure the United States food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. As required by FSMA, the FDA implemented the HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls) regulation (also referred to as the “Preventive Controls Rule”) for the food industry on September 17, 2015.  Compliance dates were extended for small and very small businesses:

 September 18, 2017: Small businesses (with fewer than 500 full-time employees)

September 17, 2018: Very small businesses (businesses averaging less than $1 million per year (adjusted for inflation) in annual sales 

HARPC is similar to HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls) which is mandatory for certain food categories such as seafood, juice, meat/poultry (USDA) but includes planning for potential terrorist acts or intentional adulteration requiring facility registration with the FDA, controls on transportation inbound/outbound, facility visitor access, etc.

HARPC requires virtually every food manufacturer, processer, packer, and storage facility to:

  • identify food safety and adulteration hazards associated with their foods and processes,
  • implement controls to minimize the hazards,
  • verify that the controls are working, and
  • design and implement corrective actions to address any deviations from the controls that might arise in a food safety plan.

Everything in a HARPC plan must be properly documented and must conform to FDA’s standards and definitions surrounding facilities, controls, hazards, and the adulteration of foods.  HARPC requires each food facility to document all aspects of its plan, periodically review it, constantly maintain it, and document its verification steps.

HARPC represents a substantial new regulatory requirement with an unprecedented level of coverage for the industry that must be taken seriously.  Companies must create their unique food safety plan compliant with HARPC, update it, and produce the documentation to FDA upon request or inspection.

Facility Registration

Domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food/beverages for human or animal consumption in the US are required to register with the FDA and renew every even-numbered year. Registration is easy and free. Follow the prompts at the link below to register your facility. Registered facilities may be subject to random inspections. 

http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FoodFacilityRegistration/ucm2006831.htm

Registration is not required for AP5 Kombucha products (aka Hard Kombucha) as the FDA does not regulate alcoholic beverages.

Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP’s) – Preventative 

Controls (Critical components of Step 2 in HARPC)

Plant and Grounds

Facility exterior

  • Shouldn’t harbor pests
    • Grass/weed control
    • No stored equipment within immediate parameter
  • Protected points of entry
    • Sealed, self-closing doors
    • Screened vents at all intakes
    • Walls, roof, foundation must prevent entry of water and pests

Facility Interior

  • Walls, floors ceilings should be durable, impervious,smooth, cleanable, white or light-colored 
  • Adequate floor drainage
  • Screened windows
  • Adequate lighting and shielded bulbs
  • Adequate ventilation
  • Proper waste containment and disposal
  • Handwashing stations with dispensable soap, single-use towels, direct connection to drain, waste receptacles, signage
  • Washrooms, lunchrooms should not open directly to processing areas; negative air pressure in washrooms
  • Plumbing must have backflow devices between potable water systems and sewage lines

Receiving and Storage

  • Transportation inbound – inspect truck and materials for damage or contamination, improper temperature controls
  • Ensure Certificate of Analysis (CoA) if required or conduct inspection/testing to verify ingredients and packaging meet specifications
  • Storage
    • Insure ingredients, packaging materials, product in process, and finished product are properly stored to prevent contamination – proper temperatures, 18” from wall, 6” off floor
    • Chemicals in isolated storage – properly labeled and accessible safety data sheets (SDS)

Equipment

  • Designed, constructed and installed to be accessible for adequate cleaning, sanitation, and maintenance
  • Product contact surfaces should be smooth, non-corrosive, food-grade, non-absorbent, non-toxic, and free from cracks, crevices, and pitting
  • Must have adequate drainage
  • Establish a preventable maintenance program

Personnel

  • Establish and implement training programs for all new employees; 
    • Provide refresher training
      • Personal Hygiene
      • Allergen Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
      • Product and Material Safety
  • Maintain a personal hygiene policy and enforce 
    • Hair and beard restraints
    • Clean clothing and footwear (closed-toe only)
    • Eating, drinking, and smoking in designated areas only (includes gum)
    • No jewelry, watches, earrings; no fingernail polish or artificial nails
    • Proper handwashing practices and signage
  • Only authorized personnel on-site; visitors and contract employees to sign-in
  • Employee health 
    • Inform management of any communicable disease or potential for contamination
      • Diarrhea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal illness
      • Jaundice
      • Open, blistered or infected cuts, wounds, abrasions, or burns

Sanitation and Pest Control

  • Establish procedures for cleaning and sanitation of premises, production areas, equipment, and storage areas.  
    • Document procedures, chemicals used/usage levels, and maintain a log of pre-op, periodic, and post-op sanitation.
  • Interior pest control devices must not contain bait of any kind
  • Exterior pest control devices must be tamper-resistant, locked, labeled, and secured
  • Maintain
    • List of chemicals and pesticides used (including SDS and copies of labels which includes usage/application rates)
    • Schedules/frequency
    • Usage log that lists when and where used, concentration, how it was applied and by whom
    • Location map of devices
    • Activity reports/records for findings and actions
    • Corrective action records

Traceability and Recall Protocol

  • Traceability
    • Maintain documented procedures to ensure all raw materials, product, and packaging materials can be traced to usage dae and/or lot identification
    • Finished products should carry a “use by” or “best by” date and lot number (if multiple lots per code date)
  • Consumer Complaint Log
    • Outlines how complaints are processed, evaluated and investigated
    • Document customer name, contact information, current date, name of item, a description of the product safety and/or quality complaint, the purchase date of item and possible receipt 
  • Recall Protocol
    • Document what is to be done in the event product must be recalled from the distribution system and/or shelf
    • This will allow tracing and accounting for all identified defective products in a quick and efficient manner; managing communications in the event of a recall, and assisting outside agencies by having a predetermined plan and information-gathering mechanisms

KBI will be providing checklists and templates for some of these documents – stay tuned for more resources available in the Member Forum

Chris Prevatt, Gnarbucha, Atlantic Beach, FL, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I started brewing kombucha at home in late 2016 after getting a SCOBY from a friend. It grew from a fun activity to a passion.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Kombucha is fun and I have always loved fermenting! People seemed to enjoy the kombucha I made at home. I wanted to do something on my own that was challenging and creative.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Anything with turmeric. Turmeric ginger lemonade from Mother Kombucha is awesome.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I worked as a chef and in food sales/marketing prior to becoming a brewer. It was a natural jump from brewing beer to brewing kombucha.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Never miss a Sunday show.

Naya Bravo, Meraki Ferments, Noia, A Coruña, Spain

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first discovered it in Miami. It was an artisanal one, with just tea. I have to be honest, I did not like it and left it behind. Few months later I went on a trip to Lake Atitlan. It was for a long week yoga retreat and the center brewed their own kombucha…it was delicious!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I moved to Madrid in Dec 2016. After a month, I started asking at shops near my house for kombucha or a SCOBY and they did not know what it was. I decided to stay in Spain, move to Galicia and work a bit more on the idea of having my own brewery. In the process other companies started to sell kombucha, which made me very happy…there was a market for it!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Piña Caliente from Radiate Kombucha (Susan taught me how to make kombucha at home and for me, all of Radiate’s flavors are THE BEST)

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I have a bachelor’s in business administration and I finished an MBA in International Business in 2010. I have had many jobs in different industries and I combined teaching yoga and work for my own business since 2009 back in Miami.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Just keep swimming – Dory, Finding Nemo

11 dedicated KBI member brands and new affiliate member, Cetotec, gathered at the headquarters of KBI member Fairment in Berlin, Germany. We were treated to a wide variety of delicious ferments including Fairment’s line of fermented veggies, Kombucha and milk kefir. There was plenty of time to network and reconnect with old friends while meeting new ones.

Attendee NameCompanyCountry  
Paul SeelhorstFairmentGermany
Katherine AttiehKTeaGuernsey
Christopher HumberKTeaGuernsey
Naya BravoMeraki FermentsSpain
Patrick DeSpainMeraki FermentsSpain
Patrick SwitzerNycha KombuchaSwitzerland
Renato BrazOh K! KombuchaPortugal
Joana Silva BrazOh K! KombuchaPortugal
Kendra SepulvedaProbio DrinksSpain
Jesus ZamoranoSoul KSpain
Krister HällThe Good GuysFinland
Hanna KatajamäkiThe Good GuysFinland
Yannick ClaermanYugen KombuchaBelgium
Chris De BackerYugen KombuchaBelgium
Sylvia LieseCETOTEC Germany
Hannah CrumKBIUSA
Justine MuddeEuromonitorUK

The program was well received and sparked great conversations. Justine Mudde of Euromonitor provided a comprehensive overview of the EU Kombucha market including where Kombucha falls in the portfolio of beverages as well as where expected growth trends for Kombucha and similar beverages are anticipated. While the EU market is a few years behind the US, there are loads of new brewers who are entering the space. With the trend toward less alcohol consumption and a preference for healthy drinks, there is a great opportunity for Kombucha. The trick is managing price expectations from a market that is used to cheap sodas and energy drinks.

KBI Members Login Here to Access the Presentation.

Photos credits Jan Vu Kombucha Summitt

KBI President, Hannah Crum, provided an overview of the new Standard of Identity that is currently being worked on by the Board. Several technical specifications are being considered and the group provided feedback on what elements they felt were important to include. It’s apparent that more testing and thoughtful consideration is required before finalizing a standard. Many voiced a desire to protect traditional brewing methods.

Fairment cooked up a delicious lunch of tempeh and the booch and conversation flowed easily.

The final presentation was a discussion about Techniques to Control Ethanol in Kombucha. The topic opened the floor to questions about production methods, best practices and how to manage scaling up and distribution. More experienced members offered their feedback and the exchange of information was free-flowing. By the end of the meeting, a new KBI EU Committee Head emerged and we are delighted to announce that Krister Häll of The Good Guys is our new Head.

We then ventured into the city to meet up with other Kombucha brewers at a local brewhouse for beer (it is Oktober Fest after all!) and dinner. Then off to BRLO for a craft beer tour. The following day was the commencement of the Kombucha Summit. The 2-day event generated 250 participants from nearly every country in the EU.

Photos credit Jan Vu from Kombucha Summitt

The event was put on as a collaboration of KBI Affiliate member, Denis Kelleher of Good Culture and Roy Kombucha (Berlin). The speaker roster included several current & former KBI members including Krister Häll of The Good Guys (Finland), Paul Seelhorst of Fairment (Germany), Adam Vanni of Jarr Kombucha (UK), Seb Bureau from Mannanova (Canada) and KBI President, Hannah Crum, who led the room in forming a “giant human SCOBY” enlivening the crowd.

KBI Affiliate member, Petainer, was also providing workshops and demonstrations on using one-way PET kegs.

Maxime Deschesnes, Mélanie Pilote, Éloi Ferland, Nomade Junerie, Saint-Thuribe Quebec, Canada

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I discovered kombucha with the popular brand RISE at college when I was 18 years old. Since then, I’ve never stopped drinking fermented tea. My partner Eloi has brewed his own for many years.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

We started Nomade Junerie in January 2018, but Eloi has been a JUN home brewer since 2016. So, when we decided to launch our start-up, we had our recipes and they were already liked by our local buddies.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Quetzal Kombucha and Lao Kombucha, both from Quebec, are probably our favorite brands. They are very kind, so that helps! 😉

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I’m a boxer instructor and also a re-creative boxer. Eloi loves climbing, exploring, travelling, and discovering the world, and his « terroirs » are definitely our common passion.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

PURA VIDA

 

Victoria Chaires and Brett Acker, Diosa Organics, Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first discovered Kombucha while working at an organic restaurant in Venice Beach in 2009. It was when GT’s started on tap and we featured GT’s ginger and another local kombucha with lavender. I was instantly hooked and found a great alternative to drinking alcohol. It helped jump start a path to a greater healthier lifestyle that changed my life and inspired our business.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Diosa Organics Superfoods was born out of necessity for healthy lifestyle options when I moved to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. There were little to no options available along the lines of superfoods and functional beverages, specifically Kombucha. Brewing Kombucha was not in the business plan, but after a scoby babysitting gig turned into an adoption, I was hooked. I realized then that there was an unspoken responsibility to share this medicine of antiquity with the community.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Aside from Diosa Organics, I enjoy Bootleg Kombucha from Buffalo. Blueberry Lavender and Hurricane are yummy.

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

I have been in the craft restaurant/bar industry for 25 years. My focus now is continuing to co-create with my wife and Diosa Organics co-founder Victoria Chaires. Diosa Organics is a platform to share sustainable living ideas, products and services with our community and the world. We also use our platform to share conscious business practices, ideas and solutions with associates, vendors and providers.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

It’s not really a saying, but a practice, and that is consciously Lead With Your Heart in every moment. I believe if we viewed, acted and responded to life through our Heart lens, our world would continue to be a better place.

Meaghan & Shane Carpenter, Hex Ferments, Baltimore, MD, USA

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

While studying art in Ireland, a friend had some brewing on his counter in Galway and Meaghan was intrigued by the “blob” and the smell, but mainly sold on the hangover cure that he purported. Upon returning home she immediately put up a want ad for a kombucha mother on the local food co-ops community board and a lovely woman in her 80s brought one to her along with very simple care and instructions. That was about 20 years ago and she has been hooked since!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Meaghan started brewing out of her apartment and supplying her friends and neighbors in the early 2000s. Shane WWOOF’d through Europe, cavorting with people who had Kombucha SCOBYs in their kitchens, and felt an attraction to the community of both microbes and people. In 2008 we started experimenting with fresh ingredients that we or our farmer friends grew for our kombucha and our vegetable ferments. After much prodding from our community we decided to start HEX Ferments, based off our desire to put more nourishing foods in the world and a performance art piece that we collaborated on called HEXEN. In 2013 we became an official business.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Cultured in Berkeley California makes the best kombucha hands down – their fennel and celery flavors rock our microbial world (along with everything else they make). Also, this past spring we attended our first KBI Conference and tried Kombucha Towns Ginger…AMAZING!

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?

Meaghan is an artist, Painter and Performance Art and former Art Professor. Shane is a Photographer and Drummer and perpetual seeker.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Go With Your Gut! And … You are what you eat!