Beverage Startups

Wild Kombucha – A More Approachable Beverage Brand

Wild Kombucha - A More Approachable Beverage BrandRented small room, a family recipe and a lot of free-time spent brewing Wild Kombucha. The whole story of Baltimore based brand has started back in 2015. Now, Wild Kombucha can be found in over 400 stores across 5 states. Today, I have the opportunity to speak to Sid Sharma Co-Owner at Wild Kombucha.

1. Your brewing journey started in 2015. Did you face many difficulties in the beginning?

Yes. Having bootstrapped the company, it was difficult to find a space to operate out of. Therefore, we produced out of the side of a local Baltimore juice shop, so we could piggy back off of their licenses and utilize some of their commercial kitchen equipment. Since we started gaining traction in 2016, we have been chasing demand. It has been a race to see if we can produce enough to keep up with our growing demand. It isn’t the worst issue to have, but still one that we are working towards solving by moving into a larger (14,000 sq ft.) brewery.

2. Behind Wild Kombucha brand there stands 3 guys. Did any of you have any experience in beverage industry before starting Wild Kombucha?

None of us had any beverage experience prior to this, and I think that is one of our biggest strengths. It caused us to approach the product from the consumer perspective and reinvent how products like ours are distributed. Instead of partnering with a traditional distributor, who then forms the relationships with retailers, we handle the accounting, customer service, and relationships with our retailers in-house. We use a local farm to door company for refrigerated delivery, but remain the primary point of contact.

Wild Kombucha - A More Approachable Beverage Brand3. Wild Kombucha has 5 different flavors. Could you tell us more about them? Which one is your most favorite?

We actually just released our 6th flavor. Our current flavors are Ginger-Grapefruit, Watermelon Hops, Elderberry, Apple Spice, Mango-Peach, and Tart Cherry Ginger. My favorite flavor is our Ginger-Grapefruit. It was our first flavor, and I love how the citrus of the grapefruit complements the spiciness of the ginger to create a really well balanced kombucha.

4. The whole story of Wild Kombucha started based on family recipe. Has your recipe changed in any way?

From the beginning our recipe was Adam Bufano’s spin on his family’s recipe. As any home brewer knows, the product turns out very differently each time in the uncontrolled home environment, so Adam adjusted it to adapt to the controlled fermentation room in our brewery.

5. Knowing your target market is one of many keys of success. What do you think kombucha market is missing today? Is the market fully filled with variety of different brands?

I think the market is missing a more financially accessible kombucha that is not pasteurized or diluted. Our end goal has always been to create a more approachable kombucha, which we have done from a taste profile while maintaining the traditional methods of kombucha brewing. However, we continue to strive to drive our price down, which we will be able to do as we scale.

6. At the Shore Hatchery Business Competition back in 2016 you have won $30,000. What was the secret of your success?

We have a unique story to tell. We are a company comprised of three friends who have known each other since we were 14 years old. We grew our company the old-fashioned way; by being a part of the community and offering a level of customer service a distributor or nationwide company cannot. Instead of focusing on large chains, we targeted the underserved cafés, markets, and yoga studios in the area. These remain a large part of our business. I think our scrappiness and drive resonated with the decision makers in the competition.

7. Today, Wild Kombucha is available in 5 different states. Do you have plans to expand and offer your products to other states? If yes, to which?

Wild Kombucha - A More Approachable Beverage BrandOur plan is to continue to saturate the current states we are in over the next two years prior to expanding geographically. We believe in building brand awareness through saturation. We want to be a household name in each area we enter rather than casting a wide geographic net.

8. Where do you see Wild Kombucha 3 years from now?

I see Wild Kombucha being a standard beverage option in grocery stores, cafés, and fast casual restaurants throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

For more information visit Wild Kombucha website.

About Ugne Butkute

Ugnė Butkutė is a project manager at DrinkPreneur. Ugnė is responsible for attracting contributors, maintaining quality of content and keeping readers satisfied with DrinkPreneur

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