Despite the fact that women were the first alewives and brewsters in many societies, craft beverages have long been dominated by men. With the rise of the kombucha industry over the last twenty-five years, women have found a new opportunity to once again carve a space for themselves as business leaders and masters of the brew.

In fact, as we celebrate International Women’s Day at KBI, we are proud to report that over 40% of our members have a female owner or founder. We reached out to these women, who are making names for themselves and for kombucha all over the world, to ask them to share their experience and advice for other female entrepreneurs.

Women in Kombucha Around the Globe

Leaf Equals Current KBI Members

Amanda Carroll – rok Kombucha (Australia)

Being a working mother balancing and nurturing both a growing business and growing children is something that I take great pride in. I have the utmost respect for women managing both, it’s a juggle but it’s worth it. Happy International Women’s Day to all the women out there doing the juggling act!

Helen Tricarico HOTI Healthy On The Inside (Australia

My one tip for fempreneurs is to just start. I believe as women we often tread with caution in business and don’t take risks that men might otherwise take. We are traditionally nurturers with an instinct for longevity so I encourage all women to just get out there. Pick one thing, do that well in one sales channel for one year and just start.

 

Jo Kempton- Happy Belly Ferments (New Zealand)

I’m proud to be building a business which suits myself and my family. It fits in with my life and is a big part of my life. My business is not separate from me, it is part of me. I love that. You never need to do business alone. There are always amazing people available to help, all you have to do is choose to let them help you. Whether it is family, friends or employing extra assistance there is never a need to feel unsupported in business.

Canada

Dasha Smolentseva – Artizen Kombucha (Perth, ON)

I am a young woman (34 years old) an immigrant to Canada, a mother of three children and a BIG dreamer. My greatest advice to other fempreneurs: throw out the window everything they said, and create a life that works for you. Young and want kids? Go for it. Want to create a business at the same time? Do it. Set your own rules.

Impatience can be a great asset. Everything I have achieved has come out of impatience to fulfill my dreams of creating and growing Artizen Kombucha. That and laser focus. Super proud as an immigrant business owner and a mother – to have pivoted in 2020 during COVID pandemic, for which Artizen Kombucha received the 2020 Business Breakthrough award.

Mel Tremblay — Babes Boocha! (Hanover, ON)

Being a female entrepreneur has its hardships for sure, but it makes me proud to be one as it puts you in this community of women helping women. Yes, we can be competitive, but in my experience, we build each other up and help rather than stepping on one another. Sisters helping sisters.

Victoria Lundgard – Happy Belly Kombucha (Calgary, AB)

I feel so blessed to have a thriving business as it has afforded me to keep my priorities and live a healthy balanced lifestyle while positively impact other’s health with one can of Happy Belly Kombucha at a time. I wish I had known that it is possible to be a happy and successful entrepreneur, mom, and wife a lot sooner.

Natalie Surette – Laurentian Brew Kombucha Company (Deep River, ON)

Be strong and fierce. Believe in yourself and believe in your fellow female entrepreneurs. There’s nothing more powerful than a band of women who come together to raise each other up. We’re creating space and adding more seats at the table of women-led success in this world.

 Jenice Smith – Steep Peak Kombucha (Crowsnest Pass, AB)

Finding the perfect balance between our kombucha business and our family has always been a challenge, especially when we began our business and had small children at home. Focusing on getting outside, even for micro-adventures, is key in finding that balance.

Zoey Shamai – Tonica Kombucha (Woodbridge, ON)

I started Tonica over 15 years ago and am thrilled and amazed that our category has taken off and brought so much abundance and success to our companies and communities worldwide. Owning and operating a company that creates an authentic health tonic to help our communities is such a beautiful thing and has brought so much purpose and expansion into my life. The last couple of years were hard on us all, but when I speak with friends in industries they don’t believe in or don’t love promoting, I am always reminded of how lucky I am to have been tapped by the Kombucha fairy to help deliver her goodness to all. Cheers to recognizing all the good in our worlds and sharing it with those around us!

Michelle Leclair – Wolseley Kombucha (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

There’s nothing more empowering than running your own business, growing your business and solving problems along the way. I’ve been so lucky to have an incredible community of local women entrepreneurs that have supported me in many ways through my journey. Women supporting women is where it’s at! Let’s do this ladies!!

South Asia

Kruti Gajjar – Gut It Right (Gujarat. India)

There are people out there who will doubt you and your ability to succeed in the business world, solely because you are a woman. For me, mindset is the biggest factor at any given point and it has never let me hold back or alter my chance of rising to the occasion every day.

Success is a continuous process where financial growth is not the only answer. It’s authenticity, personal expression, investing time in building relationships, strengthening your brand, and an ongoing learning experience irrespective of the hurdles or blooming days on personal as well as professional front. It’s a journey where it doesn’t get easier, but you just get better. And at the end of the day, always look at the bigger picture!

East Asia

China

Alyson Lundstrom – Blissful Bombooch (Macau, CHN)

There may be male dominant areas in the industry, but there are no male jobs. I love working in a brewery with all the wetness and bad fashion choices it sometimes entails. Blaze a path unapologetically. It just breaks this paradigm of women having to take the extra step of validating their vision at every turn.

“The most revolutionary thing a woman can do, is not explain herself.” – Glennon Doyle 

 

 

Taiwan

Cindy Chen & Sharon Lee – ZesTea Kombucha (Taiwan)

 Being a female entrepreneur can be challenging, but it can also be a lot of fun. To succeed in this world, you must be resilient and determined. We are changing the world by showing women what’s possible in business, which is a huge step forward. There are no limits to what we can accomplish. Remember that many women before you have paved the way for you to succeed. Don’t be afraid to take the first step. You won’t regret it.
Trust your gut!

Europe & The UK

Freya Twigden- Fix8 Kombucha (London, UK) 

I think it’s easy to lack confidence for many women in business. Especially when it comes to raising capital or venturing into a male-dominated industry like drinks. I think staying grounded and trusting yourself is important. I love the phrase ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ – the worst thing I can do is not try.

Growth doesn’t happen in our comfort zone. It’s going to be hard, but you will consistently rise to the challenge and grow as a result. Look after yourself along the way, and don’t forget to ask for help when you need it.

Katherine Attieh – KTea Kombucha (Channel Islands, UK)  

Allowing our ‘mother’ culture to be the ‘boss’ of our operation has created an environment infused with a feminine energy that attracts more and more women as we grow. Now an entirely female team of 6 it feels we are simultaneously growing a micro & macro level culture as we carry the ancestral kombucha brewing torch, taking care of all aspects of our business whilst also taking care of each other and our community. Inspired by the symbiotic nature of the microbial world we are constantly striving to maintain the balance of a supportive yet expansive business.

Magda Wolska – Meduzyna Kombucha (Warsaw, Poland) 

A tip for perfectionist entrepreneurs: don’t be afraid of asking for help or outsourcing some parts of your work. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a way of concentrating on things that matter most. Sometimes it can also help other people grow.

Naya Bravo – Meraki Ferments (Galicia, Spain)

I am certain that every human brain overflows with ideas every single day. The entrepreneur is someone that captures one of those crazy brain waves and materializes it. I have been very lucky to have a family that supports this roller coaster of attempts to find what I like. I feel tremendously successful thinking that only 3 years ago almost no one knew what kombucha was in Galicia, and now we are all over the country.

What would I have loved to know decades ago? Your product is always the first version of something that will continue to improve overtime. Do not stop because it is not perfect, because you don’t have a Masters degree or 10 years of experience. YOU have the tools and will seek the answers as you move. After 2 years I still have so much to improve and that is the way it should be, if not, we become robots… and what woman wants to run a business without a soul?

Kendra Littles – Casa de la Kombucha (Barcelona, Spain)

My advice for other entrepreneurs is to find your happy place. When things get rough (and you can count on things getting difficult!), take yourself to your happy place. It has a strong affect on your ability to lower your stress hormones and get your head into a better space to solve problems. Mine is in my lab creating new mixtures of kombucha and functional foods to send out healing into to the world!

Luna Tarnawiecki Waitkuwait – St. Ferment (Breisgau, Germany)

Self-employment is challenging and sometimes exhausting. But it makes me incredibly proud and happy. I would like to encourage everyone to trust their own abilities.

 

Hanna Katajamäki – The Good Guys Kombucha (Tampere, Pirkanmaa, Finland)

As entrepreneurs we are shaping the society of the future. It’s our obligation to take part in social movements for a more equal and inclusive culture in our societies. Salute sisterhood!

Mar & Núria Benet – Vitae Kombucha (Barcelona, Spain)

We are Mar Benet and Núria Benet and together with Rogeli Gómez we are the founders of VITAE KOMBUCHA. We are majority women and this provides a more collaborative, compassionate, adaptable and resilient leadership. Like ours “mothers”!!! Very proud of them and of us!!

United States

Midwest

Amy Goldman – The Brewkery – Makers of Lucky Elixir Kombucha (North Kanasa City, MO)

Growing up, my parents never told me I couldn’t do something because I was a girl. They modeled a good work ethic and offered encouragement in all my endeavors (still do!). So, it never really occurred to me not to try everything my heart desired. When I started this business, I was a single mother of two, so I really needed a flexible schedule and I wanted to do something that my children would be proud of and maybe even be involved in someday (which they have been). Looking back, I’ve come a long way and had so much help along the way. My favorite quote is “you have to crawl before you walk, and you have to walk before you run.

Jessi Hoeft – Ensign Beverage (Hastings, NE)

One thing that I have gotten better at doing over the years is listening to my gut, following through and acting on it. The world of kombucha and listening to your gut go hand in hand, so that’s handy!!

One of my absolute favorite things I have been able to do over the past few years is mentor other entrepreneurial spirits. To see someone realize their dream and be able to help them along the way only seems to grow the passion I have for my businesses. I’m happy to pay it forward from all of the people who have helped me. It‘s not always an easy road, in fact it’s the toughest job I have ever had. But at the end of the day I get to create, share, collaborate and be me.

Sarah Trombley – Lunar Infusions (Fort Wayne, IN)

Starting my own business has given me a sense of accomplishment and growth. As a female entrepreneur, there is an added layer of self doubt that you have to overcome so I love that I can help inspire other women to turn their passion into a dream job!

 

Jessica Ollis- Spring Branch Kombucha (Springfield, MO)

As an advocate for children with unique abilities–including my own child–one of the goals for starting my own business is to provide meaningful employment for people with all types of abilities. As our business grows, I look forward to making that dream an eventual reality.

Northeast

Gayle Galbraith – The Federal Brewing Co (Federalsburg, MD)

 

Don’t play small – It’s okay to be large and in charge. Kombucha Life is Good.

Meaghan Carpenter – HEX Ferments (Baltimore, MD)

When I officially started HEX Ferments in 2013 it had already taken three years to become a legitimate licensed business. I had to educate my city health department that what I was planning on making (fermented vegetables and kombucha) was not only safe but would benefit our local community. At one point a city zoning official told me that “Sauerkraut would not save the world and I should stop”– he then hung up on me. This taught me only to move ahead with more conviction and to stand firm in my love for the art and craft of traditional fermentation.

 

My Grandmother did not stop making sauerkraut because society told her it could be done quicker and cheaper and neither would I. My advice to women out there, whatever you are dreaming to do…keep going! Keep pushing. It will be tough. There will be days that you want to quit because there will always be naysayers. Prove them wrong! #gowithyourgut

Nina Gordon – Kulture Kombucha Martha’s Vineyard (Martha’s Vineyard, MA)

Since my kids are now grown, I’m proud to be a single mom to my kombucha microbrewery. It’s so satisfying to bring much appreciated health and wellness to my community despite all the hard work.

Hope Bigler – Undone Kombucha (Chambersberg, PA)

I was so naive when I started this adventure. I didn’t realize the mountains I would have to continually climb. haha! These few sentences remind me to look for the possibility in every problem.

 

“Your challenges are not an indictment against your capacity.

They are invitations to expand it.

To fortify it.

To fortify it for horizons yet to come.

Don’t back down.

-Priscilla Shirer

Pacific Coast

Kat Gopez – Kombucha Kat (Los Angeles, CA)

Growing up in the Philippines, I was exposed to a lot of double standards in the culture, where women stayed at home and were expected to have a more timid, shy, and even delicate nature. While I admit carrying some of these certain traits myself, I am proud to have gained the courage to take the leap and slowly make my vision come true.

Being a female business owner has given me the freedom to create and share a part of myself to others. While I know I have a long way ahead of me, having that opportunity to keep learning and keep growing is one thing that keeps me motivated and proud to be where I am. I also appreciate the support I get from my loving husband, whom I am very grateful for – a creative, supportive environment, truly matters.

 

Each day presents its own obstacles, and it is a delicate balance to continue being mindful of what is truly important to you and keeping an open mind. I’ve realized that not everything will go as planned, but there will always be an opportunity to grow. Breath, and all will be okay.

Tracy Desmond – Cruz Kombucha (Mountain View, CA)

I am so appreciative of the people I’ve met since starting this business…the generosity that I have experienced from others and also the opportunities to pay it forward with others who are in an earlier or different stage of their business. I set out to create products and practices that support health, community and opportunities for connection and I’m so happy to have seen that come to fruition…to see it come “alive”!!

Yasmine Mason – Fermentation Farm (Costa Mesa, CA)

Fermentation Farm started out of a need for my patients to consume probiotic foods and drinks. I started making kombucha, sauerkrauts, yogurts and bone broth for them since most lacked the skills to make these foods and drinks.I am proud to have a successful business so my daughter and son can see that with passion and stick-to-itivness, anything is possible. I haven’t had any specific obstacles because I am a woman…although I have had many obstacles that anyone starting their own business would have to overcome, like dealing with staffing and employee issues, product outages, and growing pains.

Kellie Moffatt – Luna Booch (Long Beach, CA)

Being in KBI has really inspired me because I’ve been introduced to so many successful female entrepreneurs during events like Kombucha Kon. As a female business owner something I’m proud of is that my mom was the one who taught me how to make kombucha. One quote that I live by is “Be able to work with the energy at hand. When things are easy, work hard. When things are hard, go slow.”

Southern US

Pilar Quintero – Alegre Farm (Dacula, GA)

In my situation, I’ve always had a go-getter attitude, knowing that good things don’t come easy. So the more challenging the goal and/or obstacle the more fight, energy, and tenacity to work through it. Never allowing a no to stop me, making sure not to leave any stone unturned, and just look for answers, and God willing, a green light would appear and that small accomplishment gave me the drive to persevere.

Nancey Legg – Better Kombucha (Birmingham, AL)

Community has always been very important to me. Starting Better Kombucha has allowed my community to grow larger than I could have ever imagined. Together we are Better.

 
“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Jeannine Buscher & Sarah Schomber – Buchi (Marshall, NC)

We believe fermentation is the expression of a natural tendency to preserve, put away, and nourish. It’s a ritual that’s all about the alchemy of ingredients essential to the hearth and home, where, historically, women were the keepers. As leaders in the burgeoning fermentation industry, women continue to redefine what it means to nurture as they safeguard the practice of preservation for future generations.

Tonya Donati – Mother Kombucha (St. Petersburg, FL)

One of the gifts of being a female entrepreneur is the opportunity to use the knowledge, resources and connections that I’ve gained to help other women along in their journeys. I strongly encourage and challenge others to do the same – reach out to women in business for guidance and then pay that forward whenever the opportunity arises.

Michaela Teasley – Tally Kombucha (Tallahassee, FL)

I grew up learning that if you want something changed then you must be a
part of it changing. It’s no easy task to speak up. lead, or even follow
but if you want to see something better for yourself and generations to
come then you must do your part and do it with excellence.

Shanti Volpe – Shanti Elixirs (Asheville, NC)

Something that I have learned over the past few years as a female entrepreneur is that it’s ok not to have all of the answers, and to receive support but in the end always listen to your intuition no matter what!
 
I have also found it helpful to delve deep into why you are doing what you are doing. What is the purpose of your business? If you have a clear vision and you have identified your purpose, you can weather any storm!

Amanda Webb – Wild Magnolia Kombucha (Mobile, AL)

Hi there! I am Amanda Webb and am the owner and lead brewma’am for Wild Magnolia Kombucha in Coastal Alabama.

 

When you’re in the arena, sometimes your biggest opponent is yourself. You have to pull your shoulder back; pull up ya boot straps and go kick some ass. Even if that just entails taking a dang shower.”

Western US & Texas

Anna Zesbaugh – Hooch Booch (Denver, CO)

I love being a woman specifically in the alcohol space as an advocate for better beverages. Being in the “beer” category the space is dominated primarily by men I would love to advocate for change in leadership and promoting woman-owned brands.

Jenni Lyons – Happy Leaf Kombucha (Denver, CO) 

As a business owner I’m proud that I have an opportunity to work with and learn from strong women every single day. Every person needs to choose to challenge gender bias, not just women.

Jess Matthews & Alexis DeLeon – Lazy Beach Brewing (Corpus Christi, TX)

In an industry that has been heavily male it’s hard only because they assume too little of me. When we first opened, we were the first production brewery in Corpus Christi. I hit road blocks because it was an all new area,” Jess recalls. “Now the industry has grown in Corpus but Lazy Beach remains ahead of the times, brewing the first hard Kombucha in Texas.”

 

Alexis De León is the Kombucha Queen at Lazy Beach. “I’m no stranger to male dominated settings in a work place, but it does feel cool to be introduced as a brewer, you always see people’s eyes light up. There is one other female (beer) brewer in town and we’ve become best friends through our brewing bond. I feel like brewers and business owners are a rare breed and it’s even more rare when they are female, so that sorta makes all of us like the pioneers of our industry,” Alexis explains.

 

Jess and Alexis agree the best perk to being a female business owner and a female brewer is having an amazing group of women supporting other women in the brewing community.

Kara Deyhle – New Mexico Ferments (Albuquerque, NM)

In reflecting on showcasing women in our industry, I feel inspired and in awe of the resilience and the abundance that women bring to our local Albuquerque community and to the world. I’m grateful to be surrounded by strong women who have done amazing things. I think about the many strong women who have swam against the current and started their own business, who play pivotal roles in the organizations they represent, and who are the leaders and guides of so many amazing and beautiful things. I’m grateful for the support and solidarity I’ve felt with many of these women and cherish the nourishment this has provided me.

South America

Macarena, Rocío and Milagros – Bravía Kombucha (Argentina)

 

We were inspired to start this path by the desire that people can have a product as good as Kombucha on the gondola here.
It makes us feel empowered to be able to run a company like ours, which is going through the obstacles that arise in our country in a very good way.
Good dealings and doing things with values, love and commitment make the day to day always more beautiful.
We are happy to be part of KBI, which supports us from a distance.

By Chelsie Kugler
Vice President of Business Development, CFOShare

(Like this article? View CFOShare’s KombuchaKon 2022 conference session here)

It is very common for small businesses to need an infusion of capital at some stage of development. Most of us don’t have wealthy family members and friends, so how do you find someone interested enough in your business to financially support it?


Yes, angels do exist! The angel investing sector is growing rapidly. Around the world, angel investing is providing the bulk of financing to companies, and in the United States, total angel investment is now far greater than overall venture capital (VC) investment.1

Angels don’t just live in California and New York. One study of over 1,500 American angel investors, found that 63 percent were located in other parts of the country, such as the Great Lakes, the Southeast and the Mid-Atlantic region.2 So take heart, there could be an angel in your own backyard.

What is an Angel Investment Network?

While angels are not naturally hanging out in the outfield or in a cornfield in Iowa, it means you will need to put in face time with local business organizations, the social community, and your computer to find them. Daina Trout, founder of Health-Ade Kombucha, shares some insights on the investor process in this podcast.

 

Local is key. Angel investors like to remain local with their cash and time. Wait, time too? Yes, top angels, who were previous business moguls themselves, will mentor and coach the businesses in their portfolio.

 

Angels rarely fly solo. They often join organizations like Rockies Venture Club and Pipeline Angels. Both of these angel networks are specific to their communities. Research which angel groups are in your area with on-line tools like Angel Capital Association, who currently boast over 400 angel groups in their database.

 

Local angel organizations come in many forms, but all have similar characteristics: 

 

  • Meet regularly to review business proposals and establish goals for the group
  • Select entrepreneurs are invited make presentations to members
  • Member angels decide whether to invest in the presenting business
  • Conduct due diligence to validate the plans and statements presented
  • Invest in a range of firms and industries for diversity

Once you’ve found your local group of angels, it is time to wow them with your pitch.

What Do I Need to Attract an Investor?

Angels often take a personal interest in a project and the person behind it…you! Some angels are likely to be less discriminating than professional investors and lenders because it is their own money. No two angel investors are the same in what criteria they look for but in general, you need to prove return on investment. Usually, angel investors want to see and understand the following before committing cash:

 

 

  • Your product is developed or near completion
  • You have a strong business plan
  • A clear picture of the market for your product or service and realistic plan for market penetration (Check out the SPINS presentations on KBI’s website for data about the Kombucha market in the US)
  • You have a polished Pro forma
  • Shows the potential for a strong return on investment
  • You demonstrate that the business is likely to grow rapidly 
  • How much you need to raise to stay cash positive
  • You have an appropriate valuation with reasonable terms
  • You have an exit strategy for the investor that is reachable within 5 to 7 years

 

Angel investing is risky and proving a strong return on their investment is going to be one of the most attractive aspects of your business for an angel. Once you have made connections with your local angel group, get ready to pitch and explain more about your business. 

The Proof Is in the Pro Forma

From a well-crafted pro forma, an investor or owner should be able to perform what-if scenario analysis, calculate financial ratios, potential profit after taxes, determine future financial health and most importantly, return on investment. 

 

Before starting, you will want to assess your skills in financial modeling. If you are not feeling confident, seek out professional CFO services to create a pro forma so you can focus on growing.

 

If you are going to model on your own, focus on the goals of your operation and ask yourself where it will be in 5 years. You can watch this free webinar to walk you through what investors look for in a pro forma and mistakes to avoid. 

How Much Equity Should I Give an Angel Investor?

You’ve wowed them with a pitch, shown them the potential for return on their investment, and you’ve modeled the next 5 years with a pro forma. They want to give you cash in exchange for one simple thing: equity. 

 

Generally, a syndicate of first round angel investors will ask anywhere in the range of 10 to 35 percent of the equity, with the average being right at 25%. Again, this is general, and it will be negotiated based on the investment amount, based on the valuation of your business, and on how much you are willing to sell. 

 

Angel investing is a high risk/high reward style of investing. Angel investors know full well that they could lose their entire investment. They want to mitigate this risk by having a large stake in the business. There is no hard and fast rule for how much you should sell. The answer really lies on how much of the company’s equity you, as a founder, are willing to part with. Keep in mind, whenever you take money from an investor, you are also giving up a portion of control. Selecting the right angel that understands your vision is vital for the relationship to be successful long term. 

The Hunt for Angel Investors Is Worth It in the End

Finding an angel investor who is willing to invest is not an easy task, but the effort will really pay off when you find the angel investor who is willing to devote time and money in your business. Angels are not investing in entrepreneurs for charity and you are probably not starting a company for laughs. There is hard work involved on both sides with the shared intent to succeed.

Examples of Angel Investments in Kombucha:

References

1 Financing High-Growth Firms: The Role of Angel Investors, Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (January 2012), https://www.oecd.org/sti/ind/49310423.pdf

2  Laura Huang, et al., The American Angel, Wharton Entrepreneurship and Angel Capital Association (November 2017), http://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ecd9be_5855a9b21a8c4fc1abc89a3293abff96.pdf

View the original article here. 

Chelsie Kugler
Chelsie is the Vice President of Business Development at CFOshare. She helps small business owners improve their accounting and financial planning by surveying their company’s needs and aligning solutions internally or through CFOshare’s outsourced team.

 

A New Tool for the Kombucha Drinker’s Palate 

Like all the finer things in life, many of which also happen to be fermented, Kombucha is often an acquired taste. Over time, the Kombucha drinker’s palate becomes more sophisticated – able to discern subtle notes from the tea, flavorings or organisms in the fermentation process. To support this evolution,, KBI is proud to present “The Kombucha Flavor Flower.”

After months of development with industry stakeholders, we have created a 108 petal “Flavor Flower” that provides the vocabulary for identifying the flavors of the brew, as well as 2 offshoot “flowers” that describe the mouthfeel and potential off flavors.

The development of the Kombucha Flavor Flower is a crucial next step to support our blossoming industry, elevating the way consumers and brewers alike savor the unique taste we’ve grown to love.

Kombucha Sensory Program

When it comes to novel foods and beverages, you might get a consumer to try your product once. That means that first sip has to wow them. If quality assurance beyond pH and Brix testing isn’t part of your brewing process, you may be sending the wrong message with your brew. Establishing a sensory testing program ensures that the brewmaster’s flavor profiles are being executed on a consistent basis, batch after batch.

In addition to the Flavor Flower, KBI also developed a sensory rating chart that any member can download and use to start their own sensory program immediately. Together, when these tools are used on a regular basis, baseline profiles emerge that future products can be compared with to ensure they are meeting the quality standards of the brand.

To learn more about sensory training and how it can improve your product, don’t miss Lindsay Barr of Draught Labs speaking at KombuchaKon 2022 – Leveling Up.

Flavor Flower

When reinventing the wheel, KBI drew inspiration from the flavor wheels from beer, wine, spirits, tea and coffee. In the main flower, we’ve organized the type of flavor into recognizable categories – citrus, berry, and so forth – with individualized flavor descriptors. Sometimes the descriptors will be identical to the flavoring agents, other times, they may not.

If green tea or yerba mate is used as the base, we’d expect grassy notes to dominate. Fresh pressed turmeric juice evokes rich earthy tones, however if the turmeric is powdered, the flavor may come across as more citrusy. If you’re using herbs but getting a grassy or vegetal flavor, your kombucha may not be communicating its flavors clearly.

Mouthfeel Flower

How a food or beverage feels in the mouth is just as important as its flavor. Ever wonder how to differentiate the texture of your kombucha? We all know some kombuchas are more bubbly than others, but they also have other characteristics such as linger and body. An unfiltered Kombucha may have a rounder flavor that hits a different part of the palate along with a softer bubble than one that has been filtered or force carbonated. The interplay of both flavor and mouthfeel create a sensation, a story, if you will, of the fermentation that changes when any aspect is not in balance.

All of these factors contribute to the way customers perceive the beverage. Look at the Mouthfeel flower to begin dialing in how your kombucha FEELS to customers, and not just what its flavors are.

Off-Flavors Flower

With the Off-Flavors flower, you’ll be able to troubleshoot problems. Does your latest batch taste off somehow? Maybe that strange taste in your latest batch that has a rotten egg or the ever dreaded mouse taint flavor or smell. If there’s a sharp flavor to it, check the chart: does it have a taste of nail polish remover or metal? Such flavors are associated with deviations in fermentation. As the science of Kombucha is relatively new, we are in the early stages of fully understanding how the microbes create both good and bad flavors. Some of these issues are similar to those from the beer or wine industry and we can research using these terms.

Take a look and see if you can find your kombucha’s flavors on our chart, and help establish a new standard for sensory development in kombucha. Members can access a PDF version of the Flavor Flower as well as a sensory rating chart here. (Not a member? Join us today!)

Thirsty for Feedback? Enter the Kombucha Kup Competition

Want an unbiased perspective? Enter our industry’s FIRST international Kombucha Kup Awards. Each entry will receive detailed judge feedback to help you hone your craft. Plus winners will take home Gold, Silver or Bronze along with bragging rights and an award winning brew!

 

 

 

2021 has been a political rollercoaster, to say the least. In spite of that, KBI is gaining in its efforts to increase the ABV for kombucha and bring the IRS code into alignment with natural fermentation. The KOMBUCHA Act, which raises the ABV at which kombucha is taxable and regulated by the TTB from .5% to 1.25%, has been reintroduced in the 117th Congress as H.R. 2124 / S. 892.

 

KBI has made significant headway to passing the KOMBUCHA Act before the end of the year. Since 2021 began, our industry has met with 45 legislative offices in 19 states, bringing the total number of KOMBUCHA Act meetings to 226. 36 brands have participated so far, and over 50 have signed up to get involved.

More than that, kombucha businesses have reached 15 people in key positions to help move our bill through Congress this year, including Speaker Pelosi’s office and both leaders in the Senate. Our efforts have signed on 7 bipartisan cosponsors since the introduction of H.R. 2124 / S. 892 in late March.

Summer 2021 is a critical period for the kombucha industry, as there are some umbrella bills in active discussion that have a strong possibility of housing The KOMBUCHA Act. This is the number one hurdle that has prevented its passage in past years. In other words, THIS IS THE TIME.

While we have some powerful supporters, technical bills such as The KOMBUCHA Act can get lost in the shuffle with the many political issues currently in play. Missing this opportunity would jeopardize 5 years of efforts to resolve part of a major issue in our industry. For this reason, we are introducing some new strategies to reach more lawmakers and raise the visibility of H.R. 2124 / S. 892. We want to ensure that the voices of our industry—your voices—can be heard through the noise.

This summer, KBI will be coordinating the following initiatives:

 

  • Kombucha Donations to District Offices across the US—constituents can send products to their representative’s offices to showcase local goods. Giving these offices kombucha gets it in the hands, and on the minds, of the staffers advising on this legislation. Some of our members have already been doing this and are enthusiastically received. Starting in June, KBI will be coordinating efforts to send local brands’ kombucha to these offices and needs volunteers in every part of the US to donate product.

 

  • Rolling Zoom meetings with Senators and Congresspeople— In lieu of another Virtual Hill Climb, KBI will be taking advantage of the new Zoom protocol to schedule meetings with lawmakers and constituents on a rolling basis. This will allow us to accommodate more schedules, as availability will not be restricted to specific dates. This means we need kombucha companies to continue to volunteer for these 15-20 minute calls, especially in the following states: IN, IA, LA, MA, MI, MT, NJ, NV, OK, PA, RI. Please email lgo@kombuchabrewers.org to arrange one or two meetings (be sure to include your general availability in the email).

 

  • Sending Group Letters to Congressional Leaders: Another tactic we’ll use to draw attention to our bill is to send signed letters from producers located in the states of key lawmakers. Gathering signatures from individual brewers and listing them all on a joint letter shows the size and strength of the kombucha community. We’ll be sending emails asking if we can add your brand’s name to the list of supporters– a quick “yes” is all you need to participate.

 

  • Ongoing Efforts to Promote Signing Our Petition: KBI has set up a petition that individuals in the US can use to send prefilled emails to their representatives in support of H.R. 2124 / S. 892. These emails keep The KOMBUCHA Act in the minds of staffers and are the easiest way for busy kombucha brands to advocate for the bill. Simply ask your customers to go to this site to sign the petition support your business.

 

KBI is developing digital and print materials that any business can integrate in its social media, newsletters, events and farmers’ market booths to get people who care about your product to sign this petition preserve the living kombucha they love.

Other efforts led by KBI will include press, phone calls, and future Hill Climbs determined as we assess our progress. We are determined to keep the pace throughout this Congressional term until we pass The KOMBUCHA Act, a historic step toward establishing kombucha as an important industry and easing unnecessary restrictions on producers.

Please join KBI and your fellow kombucha businesses to help enact this legislation. If the KOMBUCHA Act is something that will help relieve your concerns about storage, shelf life, or simply the variability of alcohol levels in a living product, email lgo@kombuchabrewers.org for more info on one of these initiatives. Some of them require no more than a few minutes or a social media share.

 

We’d be remiss if we didn’t make a brief pitch here for your support: if you are not already a member of KBI and value our work, please consider signing up for the monthly or annual options that help to sustain us and all the efforts through which KBI is working to support the industry and kombucha businesses everywhere.

 

Let’s make sure we can celebrate the PASSAGE OF THIS BILL at KKon 2022! Stay tuned for updates throughout the summer.

*** Please sign up to donate kombucha if you can—this is an out-of-the-ordinary experience for staffers that creates lasting positive associations with our industry. Having your kombucha in these offices also serves the purpose of establishing relationships with your lawmakers and exposing your brand to well-connected people in your sales area.

 

After years of tireless efforts from our lobbying team and many of you, we now have the momentum and the legislative support to pass the KOMBUCHA Act but we can’t do it without you! This year we’re returning to the Capitol with a Virtual Hill Climb on March 23-26, 2021, and we need all US kombucha brewers to join us.

Ongoing COVID restrictions have opened up a historic opportunity for you to connect with your representatives and voice your needs from anywhere in the US. No costs to cover and very little time required– it’s as easy as a 30-min Zoom meeting (with which we’ve all become WELL-acquainted this year).

In addition to pushing forward important legislation, you’ll:

  • Have a platform to share how the current economic crisis has affected your business
  • Advocate for your industry
  • Create valuable relationships with lawmakers
  • Receive hands-on training from our experienced lobbying team via a one time Zoom meeting- Thursday, March 18th, 11am PST/2pm ET
  • Network with fellow brewers during our virtual lobbying happy hour on Friday March 26th at 2pm PST/5pm ET, led by KBI president Hannah Crum
  • ***NON KBI MEMBERS ARE WELCOME*** – We advocate for you, too!

On World Kombucha Day, our congressional sponsors are re-introducing the bipartisan, uncontroversial bill we’ve been laying groundwork for since 2016 to ease outdated restrictions on kombucha brewers. With the recent changes to Congress, we have a real chance to pass the KOMBUCHA Act THIS YEAR. To secure this bill, members of Congress need to see and hear from kombucha brewing constituents. Only with your presence can we show lawmakers how important–and how timely– it is to pass this Act and ease the burden on kombucha brewers to comply with an outdated, ill-fitting law.

The KOMBUCHA Act, a game-changing piece of legislation for our growing industry, will raise the alcohol by volume (ABV) threshold for Kombucha to 1.25% ABV from 0.5% ABV. Today, as you know, if your Kombucha leaves the brewery at, say, 0.4% ABV, but increases to above 0.5% ABV at any point thereafter, you are subject to federal excise taxes intended for beer. That is a patently unfair and outdated result. These laws were never intended to make Kombucha subject to taxes designated for beer. Passing the KOMBUCHA Act under the next appropriations bill will relieve this unnecessary burden on kombucha brewers. Only Kombucha above that level (1.25%) will be subject to federal excise taxes when this Act becomes law.

We’ve seen the difference organizing can make in overturning the status quo, and how crucial the involvement of each individual is. This year’s Virtual Hill Climb is the most important one yet. We need any and all US kombucha brewers (members or not) to join the fight for this legislation by meeting with your representative to support the KOMBUCHA Act. Simply sign up for a Zoom meeting any time March 23-26 (8am-5pm ET)– our team will be with you every step of the way.

More information about the KOMBUCHA Act and our lobbying efforts can be found on our website. Again, it’s easier and more important than ever to attend this lobbying event and exercise your fundamental rights! No hotels to pay for, no flights to take, no days away from your business– just 30 minutes on your computer, with people invested in your success.

If you are available to join us, please fill out the registration form here. You may also contact KBI at lgo@kombuchabrewers.org to ask questions and receive updated information as it becomes available.

It’s time. We have the power. Let’s bring our voices to Washington!

 

Thanks to Past Participants:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aqua ViTea Kombucha, VT
BABA’s Brew, PA
BAO Food & Drink, NJ
Blue Ridge Bucha, VA
Bootleg Bucha, NY
Buchi, NC
Capitol Kombucha, DC
Craft Kombucha, DC
Elixir Kombucha, KY
Funky Fresh, PA
Golda Kombucha, GA
GT’s Kombucha, CA
Health-Ade, CA
Hex Ferments, MD
High Country, CO
Holy Kombucha, TX
Humm Kombucha, OR
Katboocha, NY
Live Soda, TX
Ninja Kombucha, VA
Pilot Kombucha, NY
Revive Kombucha, CA
Sole Kombucha, PA