Profile: Booyah Vitality, Hastings, Sussex
Britain’s heritage of seaside piers dates from the boom in seaside resorts during the Victorian era. Constructed as simple wooden landing stages for boat trips, piers became complex entertainment venues with ornate pavilions, exotic lighting, and a plethora of fast food. On the south coast of England, the pier at Hastings, a couple of hours south of London, opened in 1872.
The 50+ piers around the UK are known for sticky rock (hard candy), plates of chips (french fries), and stewed tea. Booyah Vitality offers a healthy alternative. They serve kombucha on tap from their booth on Hastings pier. The pandemic brought a surge in staycationers to the town where William of Normandy landed in 1066. Founded by Lisa Driver, her husband, and two adult children at the start of the 2020 lockdown, Booyah has enjoyed rapid growth and will soon move to larger premises in nearby St Leonards on Sea.
A naturopathic nutritional therapist and Pilates instructor, Lisa promotes the probiotic benefits of her raw kombucha, sold in dark glass bottles to protect from UV light.
As well as kombucha, they sell dandelion coffee and turmeric shots: drinks that help support the liver during detoxification.
Their kombucha has a citrusy focus with Lemon and Ginger, Lemon Iced Tea, and Orange and Cinnamon on offer.
Booyah offers free local delivery within a 10-mile radius. They also ship nationally to the many visitors who discovered their ‘booch while visiting on holiday. Lisa notes only 10% of people who stopped by during her first summer in business were familiar with kombucha. This summer, she estimates that 70% had heard of the drink, even if they had not yet tasted it. Mass market British newspapers regularly feature kombucha-related stories. Over 80 brands help drive awareness. Serving kombucha on tap from the pier allows her to offer tastes to the kombucha curious.
Booyah started in their family home. The garage (rhymes with carriage) was the production facility, and their son’s bedroom became the storage space. As they grew, they moved to an outside facility and are set to double production in the new year in larger premises. Echoing the experience of many small producers, Lisa notes, “We struggled to keep up with demand.”
Lisa acknowledges the help she received from the owners of more established brands. Both Josh at Momo Kombucha and Adam from Jarr Kombucha took her calls and gave advice. As the market continues to grow in the UK and worldwide, sharing experience and mutual aid will benefit everyone.
This brief video shows Booyah serving up goodness by the glass.
To hear to story of Booyah in Lisa’s own words, listen to the podcast.