Profile: Mortal Kombucha, Boulder, Colorado

Becca Schepps was an athlete who was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic while in her twenties. This, together with an obsession with the video game Mortal Kombat, led her to choose the brand name Mortal Kombucha and the tongue-in-cheek challenge to “live forever”:

Born out of a desire to live forever (or at least as long as possible) Mortal Kombucha created a deliciously kick ass kombucha. It’s everything you need to make death wish it wasn’t born.

Mortal Kombucha is energizing kombucha brewed from black tea, liquified snowflakes, and supercharged with all-natural ingredients. It blends all the foofoo of ordinary kombucha with the stuff that’s awesome: bubbles, fruit, and a power packed punch of b-vitamins, antioxidant destroying free radicals and symbiotic nutrients. It’s natural, organic, non-gmo and terrific. It high-fives your taste buds and will have your gut swooning for more, all for under 100 calories a bottle.

The name represents a deliberate way to differentiate the brand from the more common “crunchy,” “tea of immortality,” and “organic” tropes in this industry.

An unusual kombucha journey

Becca started a kombucha journey in 2018 that was atypical–some might even consider bass-ackwards.

Working in advertising and marketing made her aware of the brand labels and packaging trends in contemporary foods. She established the website and Instagram before even brewing her first batch. After designing the graphics and building an online presence, she then tackled how to ferment the drink. “I went to a home-brewing supplier in Boulder, said I had started a kombucha company, and needed to learn how to make it!”

She followed the recipes in Hannah Crum’s Big Book of Kombucha and attributed the success of her initial brew to the clarity of those directions. She also admits to being lucky–her brew was palatable from the get-go.

After placing kegs in a few cafes, she won accounts at a local grocery chain and then, through a friend, Whole Foods stocked her new brand in the Rocky Mountain Region. In short order, she moved from her home to commercial kitchens to partnering with Rocky Mountain Cultures, the co-packer founded by industry pioneer Ed Rothbauer in Eagle, Colorado.

Flavors and hard kombucha

In addition to a full range of flavors, they launched their hard kombucha in March 2020, just as the pandemic kicked in. However, they survived this and now sell their 5% ABV hard kombucha in Colorado.

Creative graphics

Like the website, the Mortal Kombucha Instagram is a riot! It’s chock full of cartoon-like animated bottles in sports poses, the outdoors, and more.

Becca had worked on “junk food brands” like fruit roll-ups and snacks that conveyed fun. In contrast to guilt-inducing natural foods, Becca states, “I wanted to create a health drink that felt more like Skittles, that customers could have fun trying.” Her customers skew more to younger males than most. She would like to think they choose to drink Mortal Kombucha as an alternative to sports drinks and conventional beverages.

She appeals to the “kombucha curious” that would not be attracted to a “hippie drink.” She adds blue algae and butterfly pea flower to pop the color — understanding that brightly colored beverages can seem sweeter. Her kombucha is traditionally fermented, probiotic-rich, raw kombucha, but this is not what they lead with.

Podcast

To hear the story of Mortal Kombucha in Becca’s own words, click on the podcast below.

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