Having just returned from the first ever gathering of the Kombucha Brewers International trade association, I wanted to try to capture the essence and energy of the day to share with all of you. During the entire conference, I experienced goosebumps on top goosebumps resulting from shared stories of how many of us got into the industry, the potential of synergistic opportunities at the local, regional, national and global levels, and just simply, the beauty and diversity of our association.
Our organization currently has 44 founding members from across 21 states, Canada, and Australia. Throughout the event, we sampled several different brews that members brought and I was intrigued by the vast array of tastes, textures, packaging, and personas. Despite our differences, we came together with one common vision: to work in cooperation to promote, protect, and pioneer our kombucha industry. At the end of the day, I think we accomplished intangible yet even more powerful outcomes. Inspired by sharing our trials and tribulations, hearing the dynamic message from Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co., and in actively working towards common goals and action plans, I have a fresh perspective based on a spirit of collaboration. As an industry, we need to check our brands at the door, get over ourselves, and work in harmony to effectively and efficiently address issues that impact all of us. I left having forged many new friendships, a feeling of community rather than isolation, and with so much hope and commitment to build a strong, cohesive, and responsible industry. Looking ahead, I’m honored and excited to serve as a director on the board and actively participate in establishing our strategic vision for the future as well as being a liaison to the Research and Education sub-committee. Locally, we hope to partner with other Midwest kombucha brewers to promote our category at beer festivals and other events … so keep watching our posts. The possibilities are endless!
I also want to send a shout out to Hannah Crum and Alex LaGory of Kombucha Kamp for their vision and in bringing us all together. They have put considerable thought, time, and energy into making this all a reality.