Kombucha has been steadily growing in California for the past 15 years and has recently experienced an explosion in popularity in Oregon. Outside of those two states however, the market for the yeasty tea has been relatively dry. Until last year, that is, when Casey and Emily Malone founded Puget Sound Kombucha Co. in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood.
Like many in the craft beverage industry, the couple started out as homebrewers, a passion which blossomed during a trip to Casey Malone’s native state of Indiana a few years back. While back home, he tasted a batch of kombucha his mother had brewed and, before long, he found himself back in his own kitchen with some of her kombucha culture, brewing his first batch.
“I found it so interesting, how there was so much going on with the fermentation,” Malone says. “So I borrowed some of her kombucha culture, took it back and started brewing my own and experimenting with it. It became something that I did every week and I really got into it.”
For the next six years, Malone continued homebrewing kombucha in the couple’s kitchen after work and during the weekends, allowing himself this downtime to hone his craft and he developed some of Puget Sound Kombucha’s signature flavors, like the Green Tea and Earl Grey blends.
It was during this time that Malone began flavoring his kombucha with tea during the brewing process itself, rather than adding in fruit juice and flavoring at the end, resulting in a kombucha that is both dryer and lower-calorie than most. Before long, it occurred to the couple — who had always dreamt of owning their own business — that kombucha may just be their ticket to entrepreneurship.
“There are a lot of brands out of California and Oregon and while there are some based here in Washington, the market isn’t very well developed,” Casey says. “We saw a really good opportunity to jump in and help define what Seattle kombucha is all about.”
The city the Malones had called home for the past half-decade also became the city they would be seeking to make their own stamp on, dreaming of one day becoming a local favorite like Mighty-O Donuts, a partner of Puget Sound Kombucha’s.
Rather than dreaming of global market domination, the Malones are instead busy rolling out their new home delivery service which will service the Seattle area. After signing up on their website, the Kickstarter-based service will allow Seattleites to have kombucha delivered right to their doorstep every week or every other week for just $2.50 a bottle. After you’re done with the bottle, simply store them somewhere and wait for them to picked up at your next delivery.
In addition to cutting out the middleman of the retailer, the home delivery service also reduces the company’s environmental impact, a fact the couple is very proud of. “If that became the dominant form of our business, I’d be extremely happy,” Malone says. “It’s a really great way to connect directly with our customers and reduce our carbon footprint.”