BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY
Kombucha has seen an increase in popularity among the health-conscious crowd. The fermented tea beverage is thought to improve digestion, mood, mental clarity, and more. But when Bloomington couple Donté Walker and Eliza Goehl took a close look at things, they realized they had an expensive kombucha habit.
“A bottle of kombucha typically costs about $4,” Walker says. “We were each buying three or four a day.” To save money, the pair obtained the requisite yeasts and bacteria to make their own fizzy, probiotic brew.
It wouldn’t be long before Walker, 29, and Goehl, 21, were officially in business. They’ve been operating Kind Kombucha for about a year.
“Now we’re at 50 gallons per week, and we offer eight to 10 different flavors,” Walker says. They’ve sold their Kind Kombucha at farmers’ markets in Plainfield, Lafayette, and Bloomington. It’s also available at Bloomingfoods, Lucky’s Market, and Cup and Kettle Tea Company.
Kombucha is made with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, better known as a SCOBY. “The more you ferment kombucha, the more the SCOBY grows,” Walker explains. “You start with one that’s really small for a one-gallon jar. After about a month, you can make three or four gallons at a time.”
Named after Grateful Dead songs, Kind Kombucha flavors include “Sunshine Daydream,” made with a peach-mango-pineapple-strawberry mix; “Terrapin Station,” an apple-cinnamon blend; and “Dupree’s Diamond Blues,” a blueberry-ginger-hibiscus concoction. “The Grateful Dead is probably the biggest love of my life, besides my girlfriend [Goehl] and kombucha,” Walker says.
“The Grateful Dead culture fits well with what we’re trying to do,” he continues. “It’s about love, kindness, and accepting everyone for who they are. That’s what we’ve tried to do with our kombucha. We’re trying to get everyone into a healthier lifestyle, so that they can be in a better mood, be able to make better decisions, and just be happier.”
What’s next for the entrepreneurial couple? Adding kale chips, onion rings, and other raw foods to their product lineup. They presently rent commercial kitchen space, and they just launched a $50,000 GoFundMe campaign to build their own commercial facility. For more information, visit gwkindkombucha.com.