Symbiosis Magazine – Fall 2021
The Fall 2021 edition SYMBIOSIS magazine is out now. This is the official Journal of Kombucha Brewers International, a trade publication for the kombucha industry. The first edition came out in June 2020, the second edition in September 2020, and the third edition in March 2021. This is fourth in the series.
This edition includes the 2021 Taproom Guide listing worldwide locations where kombucha is served on draft.
All editions have an ‘evergreen’ lifespan and live forever on the MagCloud.com platform. Anyone can order a printed copy that will be sent directly to them in the mail. It’s the perfect way to get our content out into the world. Order your copy from the link at the end of this post.
This magazine is not just for KBI members. The content is of value for any commercial kombucha brewer worldwide, plus the growing ranks of homebrew enthusiasts curious about scaling up or refining their technique.
Table of Contents
The 62 pages of the Fall 2021 edition include some new spins on our regular columns:
- KBI President’s Letter: an update from Hannah Crum.
- Regional KBI Chapter Reports: from Asia and Canada.
- Legal Issues: Katlyn Jennings on KBI’s lobbying strategy.
- Advocacy Corner: Dave Ransom writes on the KOMBUCHA Act.
- Producer Profile: Ensign Beverage, a small-town success story from Nebraska.
- Brew Tech: Toby Tull of Bare Bucha on seasonal shifts in brewing.
- Food Pairings: Three creative brands pair food with their beverage.
- Book Review: Life by the Cup, by Zhena Muzyka.
- Industry Trends: Line extensions, packaging, and more.
- Kombucha in Brazil: by Lucas Montanari, the Founder of Fermenta Com Ciência
- The Chemistry of Fermentation: Part 2 of a 3-part series by French expert Thierry Tran.
- The Kombucha Kup: Awards of Excellence and Flavor Flower program.
- The Kombucha Code of Practice: Detailing proposed labeling requirements.
- The Women of Kombucha: Featuring eight women-owned companies.
- Kombucha Couture: Showcasing Sacha Laurin’s award-winning designs fashioned from SCOBY fabrics.
Letter from the Editor
Sources of information about trends in the kombucha industry are not easy to find. It’s safe to ignore the expensive “kombucha market research” reports that might list Red Bull and Celestial Seasonings among the brands they track.
This issue lists trends in packaging and distribution, flavors, and ingredients. But in an industry expanding as rapidly as ours, there’s a whole range of trends we have not covered.
These often result from demographic and economic forces that brands can capitalize on.
Some might say the kombucha market is saturated. Yet Jessi Hoeft of Ensign Beverage claims towns of just 25,000 are perfect places to launch a business. How many locations of that size in your region have a brewery? At the other end of the scale, I’ve recently interviewed Siddhi Tamby for a Booch News podcast. She has launched the only commercial kombucha/jun/kefir brand in Rajasthan, India – home to 68 million people. Talk about a blue water strategy!
The environment for kombucha brands changes daily. Take California – home to a couple of massive national brands and around 100 others – where most people have never tasted kombucha. Each free sample at a farmers’ market or taproom grows the market one consumer at a time. The pandemic heightened the trend of increasing consumer acceptance as people sought ways to boost their immunity.
The changes in the legislative landscape are another critical trend. KBI’s promotion of the Code of Practice is echoed in debates around the world, as brands struggle for acceptance of the legal limits of alcohol and definitions about what comprises authentic kombucha.
One unwelcome trend is the highjacking of “kombucha” to promote everything from face creams to breakfast cereal. I list 25 products occupying the “outer limits” of what can be termed kombucha in a June 2020 Booch News posting.
As new kombucha brands launch and existing ones grow, there are trends in financing. Savvy owners are looking beyond traditional bootstrapping by friends and family to tap low-interest loans tied to job creation schemes, outright grants, and small-business incubator spaces. Likewise, there’s a trend at the other end of the spectrum as founders of successful brands consolidate and cash-out by selling controlling interests to deep-pocketed soda, beer, and private equity companies.
Of course, none of these trends matter if you are not in touch with what’s happening in your backyard. The important thing is to see what trends you can capitalize on. As hospitality recovers from the pandemic, it might be the right time to open a taproom – our second annual guide lists those who have made this choice.
Social media, especially Instagram, is an excellent source of ideas for trends that work elsewhere. See what flavors, ingredients, packaging and design choices, and customer promos work for others that you could implement locally. After all, why reinvent the wheel when you can find great ideas free for the taking on Instagram. Think globally, act locally, and add your unique value!
Order your copy today
Print-on-demand and downloadable PDF versions are available from MagCloud. It’s printed in the US, UK, and mainland Europe with local postage rates.