Blog Review: Go! Kombucha, Hastings, Sussex, UK

The Go! Kombucha tagline “The Ancient Drink for Modern Times” is appropriate for a company located in the English coastal town of Hastings. This is famous in the history books since it is where, as every schoolchild knows, William The Conqueror arrived from Normandy in 1066. Harold took an arrow in the eye, and the country was never the same again.

Go! Kombucha has, appropriately, blogged about their own history. They claim to be the oldest Kombucha tea brand in the UK, established in 2003, with a heritage clear back to the mid-1990s. They are rightly proud of their 2017 and 2018 Great Taste Awards and feature the logos on their website. The blog marks other significant milestones:

19th November 2018 marks the final payment of our 10 year business loan, making GO! Kombucha debt free, self-owned and determined. We mark this momentous day with a look back to where it began, and the various name and branding changes our real and true Kombucha range underwent along the way.

Stats

Blogging since: September 12, 2016
Last Updated: November 22, 2018
Posting Frequency: 3-6 times a year
Post Length: 300-500 words
Aesthetic Appeal: Well designed WordPress blog using the Google Cormorant font
Graphics: Marred by a stock photo (“Debt Free”) and inconsistent image sizing, but generally pleasing.
Categories: N/A
Comments allowed: Yes
Alexa.com global traffic ranking: 8,038,104
Social Media: Here’s a rare example of a company with more followers on Twitter than Instagram! They have 1,565 followers on Instagram, where they’ve posted 267 pictures. 2,361 follow them on Twitter reading 637 tweets, they have 3,238 followers on Facebook.

Health & Welfare

Go! Kombucha are keen to address the health concerns their customers might have about ‘booch and use the blog to clear up some misconceptions. They are often asked how Kombucha can be healthy when sugar is listed as a main ingredient. Pointing out theirs is a fermented drink with no added sweetener, they explain “…around half the sugar originally added is broken down in this way, leaving around just 4.5g of sugar per 100ml, as compared to artificially carbonated sodas that can contain up to three times that amount.” They highlight the longer-term benefits where “drinking unsweetened Kombucha tea regularly – that is, well-fermented tea with no additional fruit sugars or syrups added prior to bottling – can recalibrate and train your taste buds to crave sweet foods less – and even reject them altogether!”

Another blog post suggests ways to benefit from the ideal pH in mature ‘booch by mixing it with avocado and honey in a face mask. The skin reaps additional benefits from the lactic acid bacteria plus polyphenols  in ‘booch.

Overcoming Adversity

In May 2016 company founder Gary Leigh found himself in hospital following a life-changing accident. The company ceased production for several months. To all intents and purposes it was no more, after 12 pioneering years paving the way for kombucha tea in the UK. His two-part blog posting on what it took to resurrect the company is an inspiring read, very much along the lines of the stories Seth Goldman tells about the grit and determination it took to launch Honest Tea.

In part one, he explains how the company came back from the brink, and he learned a life-lesson about never giving up. His colleagues at the brewery “…were working tirelessly to keep the dream alive and GO! Kombucha’s ongoing starter culture – like myself while being cared for by our priceless NHS [Americans fearful of “socialized medicine” take note, Ed] – fed, nourished and nurtured in anticipation of a return to full production.” The culture survives and he knows he must now address “…the challenge … to find a way to get our complex – and occasionally temperamental – live tea made and flowing abundantly again.”

In part two Gary shares how he succeeded. He recruited two part-time brewers in the Sussex area able to split their time brewing local craft ale with learning the art of kombucha making. He guides them from his hospital bed by emailing detailed instructions, and is relieved when a batch of 3000 bottles of Green Sencha and Red Puerh rolled off the bottling line in mid-September 2016. Just one year later they won the Great Taste accolade.

Suggestions

I’d love to hear more from Gary and the team at Go! Kombucha. I’m sure it’s the case with many ‘booch brewers that the demands of brewing might not give them much time for blogging. But their content is so informative and motivational that it’s a pity there were only three posts in all of 2018.

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