Timing is everything. For a product or brand to make a remarkable impression on a consumer, they almost need to come into existence just when the newly aware potential customer is realising that it might quite like just such a product. I personally felt this way about the Theonista brand of natural, fermented craft beverages. One day I was learning about kombucha and its powers of gut flora transformation, but still quite sceptical on this whole ‘nurturing-my-own-SCOBY’ commitment, and the next I was pushing my trolley along only to discover a ready-made, kombucha brew blinking at me from behind the orange juice concentrates. I’ve loved the brand ever since and so when the opportunity to pick Meghan’s brain, the founder and brewmistress of this much-loved brand, I was practically fizzy with enthusiasm. Want to know how a perfectly timed product like kombucha enters the marketplace? Read on.
Meghan Werner’s story begins in the land of the free and brave, in New Mexico. After a fair bit of relocation via Southern California, Maryland and Seattle, she graduated with a BA in Cultural Studies and a Masters in Public Policy in Public Health and Economic Development, both from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.
Her career saw her first working in the public health field doing research and project management when an opportunity to do similar research via a paediatric and maternal malnutrition and HIV/ AIDS-related job in Lesotho lured her across the pond.
At this juncture, I find myself, even more, curios as to how that particular trajectory turned into the brewing of colonies of symbiotic cultures. So, I asked.
So, not that your work in Lesotho doesn’t interest me – because almost everything does. But where/ how did your love for kombucha come into the mix? Is it only new to us here in far-away-SA and more of a trend you were familiar with from the US?
I discovered kombucha in my early 20s while trying to find ways to address years of digestive issues despite nearly a decade on a pretty clean plant-based diet. What I learnt was that it was a really powerful healing tool for my body. When I arrived in Cape Town five years ago, I was excited to even find kombucha but dismayed that the products available here didn’t have the same flavour profile to those I was accustomed to. Nor did they, and this is the most important, cultivate the same health and energetic effects in my body.
I’m surprised you found any at all, yours was the first brand that seemed genuinely ‘visible’ to me.
Well, I also couldn’t seem to find anyone brewing it locally, from whom I could get my own SCOBY.