Alison Root, Megan Root, and Eoin Flinn, Booch, Kikuyu, Kenya 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

November 2016. Late to the party. Started a kombucha company 2 months later in January 2017.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I fell in love with kombucha, the taste and the increased energy, it wasn’t available on the market here in Kenya, and I knew I would drop off making it at home after a few months – time to employ people!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Mama Kombucha (another Kenyan brand)

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

Engineer to Salesman to Entrepreneur. These days making beer and soap in addition to kombucha.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Never give up!

 Aleksandra Tomažin, AYATANA, Lesce, Slovenia

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first came across kombucha in the summer of 2016 when I was studying at Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy in Venice Beach, California. As soon as I got home, kombucha was my first news to my husband. I later discovered that kombucha SCOBY was used to prepare kombucha by my ancestors but seemed to fail being transferred through generations.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

It was kind of a love at first taste 😊 I was always well aware of fermentation benefits to our body, so that was just another reason to begin with our own production.

Back in 2018 me and my husband met a fermentation specialist, who now is our partner. We started the whole process from scratch – research, development, and building a production site – it took us more than a year, and we introduced our AYATANA kombucha to the market at the beginning of the summer of 2019.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

My first and favorite kombucha flavor is from Health-Ade Pomegranate and Cayenne cleanse. Karma’s Grenade boost is also one of my favorite. But my husband goes for Jarr Kombucha’s ginger and GT’S Lemonade.

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

Well, fermented products (we also sell kombucha shots and water kefir products) are one part of the business. We also have a culinary store and are about to launch our innovative and in-house built family plant-based meal planner shortly. I am also a mother to two daughters, both under three years old, so that is another “career” I hold.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

To put it shortly – #cleanguthappybutt.

Freya Twigden, Fix8, London, United Kingdom 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

2014, I was living in Shanghai for a year abroad of study. I had some time on my hands so decided to enroll in a Traditional Chinese Medicine course at a local health food shop. It was the first week I attended and discovered a home brewed kombucha in the fridge. I learnt how it was used in Chinese medicine to support liver and stomach Qi (energy). Immediately I grabbed a bottle… and it was love at first sip.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Well, firstly (like most of us) I launched Fix8 because I was completely obsessed with kombucha myself! Second, I had this feeling that kombucha in the UK could be much more than a niche health drink sold just to ‘health food shops’… but a drink enjoyed for its nuanced complex taste that could be consumed as a non-alcoholic craft drink (or mixer) across bars, restaurants and British pubs. The flavour of kombucha is so exciting and unique, something you just don’t find in sugary soft drinks.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

I spent some time in the USA researching before launching Fix8, two amazing breweries I visited left me still thinking about their flavour today! First – the Lavender White by Happy Mountain Kombucha – I LOVE the crisp white tea base to all their booch. I also loved the dry hopped pamplemousse by Whalebird Kombucha down in San Luis Obispo.

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

I was previously studying at university, so technically this is my first job! I studied politics at the University of Edinburgh and after graduation, trained as a yoga teacher in India thinking that might be the path I pursued. Little did I know… the booch was calling!

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

Brooke and Jesse Rich, Rich Elixirs, Costa Mesa, CA, USA 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?
(Jesse) I first discovered Kombucha, when I stumbled upon it at the store. I loved it so much that I started buying a ton of it! I began researching everything on Kombucha and then started making my own!

(Brooke) I went through some major stomach issues when I was 21, and began taking probiotics. I researched all the things that had probiotics in them, and discovered kombucha did! Ever since then, I’ve been drinking & loving it!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?
We started our kombucha business because we were so passionate about the product & how beneficial it has been for both of us. Our friends loved our kombucha as well, and we decided that we wanted the ability to share with everyone in our community!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha?
Our top flavors are Gt’s Ginger Hibiscus & Guava Goodness!

Q: What is your former/current other life or career?
(Jesse) I work as an IT Manager. (Brooke): I freelance Graphic Design!

Q: What is a saying that you live by?
We love this quote and saying, “Doubt kills more dreams then failure ever will.” – Suzy Kassem

Eric Elliott, Reputation Beverage Co, DeWitt, MI, USA 

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

Fall of 2018, my wife brought a GT’s Gingerade. I was blow away by the flavor.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company? 

January 2019, after that first experience with GT’s, it set in motion trying to make my own at home. After a few batches I realized my small town didn’t have any local Kombucha. I wanted to share with my community how fantastic Kombucha is!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Honestly my go-to is GT’s Gingerade.

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

I spent my career in the alcohol industry. From a beer distribution sales rep, to running a beer distributor. Moved from distributor to starting my own mico brewery in Michigan. In Oct 2018 I sold the brewery. After some time off spent with my family, I decided to start Reputation Beverage Co. A Kombucha and Nitro Coffee brand here in Mid-Michigan.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Work Hard, Play Hard

Mark Bostleman and Mollie Houkom, Ascent Kombucha, Driggs, ID, USA 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I bought my first kombucha in 2003 in Boulder, Colorado after a friend told me about it and I’ve been drinking kombucha ever since!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company? 

I followed my passion and when I look back I can see all the different paths that have led me here. I have a real sense of peace knowing I am doing what I am meant to be doing in this moment.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Wild Culture Kombucha’s Ginger Hibiscus Jasmine

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

I have mostly worked as a self employed massage therapist.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

John Muir wrote, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” I’ve made a life in the mountains to be close to nature. I try to spend time outside every day to clear my mind and it’s where I find answers, new ideas and inspiration.

 

Miguel Irarrazaval, Dr. Kombú Kombucha, Santiago, Chile  

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

It was in 2004, when my elder brother initiated in the Hare Krishna religion, and brought many healthy foods and a healthy life style to our family. He started selling the blessed kombucha in plastic bottles in the streets, in orange clothing. I met many wonderful people, and they were always at festivals sharing booch and delicious food. Our family has been producing to share and sell since then.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I wanted to share this healthy beverage with everybody! It is so delicious but people didn’t know it. Chile is the number three consumer of soft drinks per capita in the word, and I wanted to be part of the change for good.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

My favourite Kombucha I have tried is the Wonder Drink Cherry and Black Currant.

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

I am a Paragliding Instructor, and my career is Agronomist.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Katarina Schwarz, Katboocha, Rochester, NY, USA  

 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

2015 via my now fiancee’s family!

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company? 

I saw a need for kombucha in Rochester, NY, a town that prides itself on their local food and beverage scene. It started as a small idea, with the idea to test the waters. Shortly after, I was joined by 3-4 other local kombucha brewing companies all within the first year and a half!

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Hmm…I’m always up for a mate kombucha!

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

I have a degree in classical music and prior to starting Katboocha, I was a musician, and I worked for Public Radio/TV.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Just show up. Failure isn’t falling down, it’s not getting back up.

 

Jo Kempton, Happy Belly Ferments, New Zealand 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

7 years ago I was introduced to kombucha and water kefir by a specialist who was helping my special needs son with his health. Probiotics were recommended as important to improve his gut health and in turn his behaviour, physical and emotional health. I started brewing kombucha and water kefir as well as making saukeraut and kimchi. The fermented foods and drinks certainly helped a lot. The whole family started drinking kombucha and we loved it.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

I had been making kombucha and water kefir for my immediate family and started sharing it with my extended family and friends. They loved it so much they encouraged me to start selling it. It was quite a process to go from home production on the kitchen bench top to commercial production but I’m so pleased I did.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

Kate’s Kombucha Blueberry Flavour

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

As well as being a kombucha brewer I am an Energy Healer. I specialise in helping people clear Emotional Baggage from the past which may be holding them back from living the life they dream of. In an earlier part of my life I worked in the banking industry. I also worked for an apple juice manufacturer which gave me loads of useful beverage experience which got me started as a commercial kombucha brewer.

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

Just Keep Going!

Michelle Leclair, Wolseley Kombucha, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 

Q: When did you first discover kombucha?

I first discovered kombucha while I was in Hawaii attending Wanderlust Yoga Festival back in 2015. I suffered from a lot of digestive issues, and kombucha made me feel so good that I was determined to learn to brew for myself.

Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?

Wolseley Kombucha was created very organically. I was brewing kombucha for myself, and my family and my yoga teachers, and from there people in the community kept asking me to brew kombucha for them so the business kept evolving and growing to what it is today.

Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha? 

My FAV flavour is Elderflower Ginger by Salt Spring Island Kombucha.

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

I am on maternity leave from my MRI technologist job at a medical clinic. So while being a mother and opening Manitoba’s first kombucha tap room, it’s been a wild busy year to say the least. Loving every minute of it!

Q: What is a saying that you live by?

LOVE WHAT YOU DO is our mantra and we believe it!