Profile: Fermenting & Co, Les Sables-d’Olonne, France

Fermenting & Co is a new kombucha company in Les Sables-d’Olonne in the department of Vendée. It was founded by two cousins, Florian Chupeau and Alexia Arrivé after they visited the United States and Australia. Florian discovered kombucha during his various trips to Hawaii and California, “he immediately adopted it,” explains his cousin.

For her part, Alexia had already been preparing kombucha at home for several years when she decided to go to Australia in 2019. “I had plans to travel. But when Covid hit in 2020 I found myself stuck. During this period, we called each other regularly. He explained that he loves kombucha, and we thought there was something we could do together.”

Their small brewery is located in the light industrial Plesses area of the city.

As one of only 35 brands in France and the only one we know of in the Vendée department, Alexia and Florian are trailblazers educating the people in their region about the benefits of kombucha.

Sailing in for a personal visit

I’m currently sailing from Ireland to the Mediterranean on my brother-in-law’s boat. I took the opportunity to visit Fermenting & Co on the day we moored at Les Sables — the legendary port where the greatest sailing race around the world, the Vendee Globe, starts and ends. This solo, non-stop circumnavigation is called the “Everest of the seas.” Our efforts are far less strenuous and allow plenty of time in ports along the way. (All kombucha sightings will be posted to Instagram.)

As with my visit to Aqua ViTea on the East Coast and Local Roots in Southern California it’s always fascinating to see production facilities firsthand. Alexia’s operation is on a different scale than the industrial-scale facilities in Vermont and Vista.

Nevertheless. the compact space they occupy contains a fermentation room, chiller, canning, bottling, and labeling lines.

Just one year old (they opened on World Kombucha Day, February 21, 2021!) the company has a line of raw, organic kombucha sold in brown glass bottles. They are experimenting with a shelf-stable line to be distributed in cans. Plans include developing a wider range of fermented foods and drinks.

Fermenting & Co has e-commerce ‘click and collect’ orders and is available in over a dozen local stores and restaurants.

Flavors

There are six flavors available

  • Pure: The OG with pleasant notes of green and black tea.
  • Elixir: Raspberry, Blueberry, Hibiscus and Beets.
  • Spice Elixir: Lemon, Ginger, and Turmeric.
  • Detox: Mint, and active charcoal.
  • Calm: CBD (newly legal in France), Mint, and Lime.
  • Tonic: Lemon, Turmeric, and Ginger.
  • Power: Spirulina, Apple, and Celery.

They also sell seasonal flavors.

Better together

Alexia is encouraged by the willingness of some, but not all, French brands to cooperate and share information. As I first reported from the UK in 2018, kombucha in Europe is available in a limited way compared to much of the States. While Britain (with over 80 brands) has seen the drink gain in popularity, in France the market is largely untapped. Hence the benefits of la coopération commerciale when consumer education trumps trade secrets!

Podcast

To hear Alexia tell the story of Fermenting & Co in her own words click on the podcast.

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