Brendan Multala, Kombucharista, Rochester, NY
Q: When did you first discover kombucha?
A: I remember it so clearly! I was in about eighth grade and I saw a Kevita bottle in the cooler section while shopping with my mom and thought “Oh, this is new and interesting.” It took a bit to convince my mom to purchase it, since the cost of kombucha can begin to add up, but I absolutely loved the taste of the Lemon Cayenne kombucha that Kevita offered and solely drank that for years. Once I got my first job, I admittedly spent a large percentage of my paycheck on kombucha.
Q: Why did you start your own kombucha company?
A: I truthfully did not intend on owning a business. I witnessed my dad owning businesses growing up and saw what a challenge it could be at times, along with how much grit someone needs to have to follow through. Once I graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with my B.S. in Economics, however, I was able to better analyze the market. I quickly realized there were flavors that were missing from the marketplace, those being cocktail flavored kombucha. I began experimenting with a mule flavor and realized I had found my niche. That is how Kombucharista was born; I wanted to make a mocktail that didn’t have added simple syrups or soda for consumers that don’t drink but wanted a product that could also be mixed with liquor to create a healthier, classic cocktail. Everyone wins!
Q: What is your favorite flavor of kombucha?
A: To this day, the very first flavor I tried when I was 13 is still my favorite. The Kevita brand has a Cayenne Lemon flavor that is refreshing and light; even though I have seemingly unlimited amounts of my own kombucha I still find myself putting numerous bottles in my shopping cart.
Q: What is your former/current other life or career?
A: I have been a server or bartender since I was 18, and I still am. I have met amazing customers who want to support my business so I am still part time in the service industry (for now).
Q: What is a saying that you live by?