Forbes: How One Of The Largest Kombucha Brands Is Building A No Waste Model
This Portland-based company sells tea, kombucha, and distilled spirits. Turns out, all three are connected and helping Brew Dr. Kombucha walk the path to zero waste.
“Sustainability is a way of life here in Portland, but it also just makes sense,” says Matt Thomas, CEO and founder of Brew Dr. “The distillery is a fun side project that makes Fridays fun. But more seriously, it also allows us to be more relevant in a different drink category and put some waste to use.”
The multi-million dollar kombucha brand, with an estimated sales of $30 million, has simple Oregonian roots. Thomas came to kombucha through tea. As a recent college graduate from the University of Oregon, he realized that he was not keen to work in a structured 9 to 5 job. So he opened a tea house in the early 2000s; everyone told him to serve coffee as well, but Thomas was more adamant on exploring the finer elements of loose leaf tea. He built the first tea house himself, putting his carpentry and electrical skills to the test. Raising $45,000 from friends and family, he put together his first business venture, Townshend’s Tea Company: they sold organic, loose-leaf teas from around the world, introducing customers to flavors that were lesser-known. From his tea-drinking customers, he learned about kombucha, a product offering that would scale Thomas’ business significantly and make him one of the top 3 kombucha manufacturers in the US.
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