Profile: Fairment, Berlin, Germany
This is the third in a series of Profiles of Berlin-based kombucha brewers, which I scheduled around the weekend Kombucha Summit. I was not able to visit Fairment at that time, but on my return to California, I made contact with Paul from Fairment Kombucha and we spoke on the phone about his business.
Back in 2014, Paul Seelhorst and Leon Benedens were promoting the paleo diet at events around Germany. They brewed a small amount of raw kombucha to offer as refreshment at their convention when a distributor asked them to supply larger quantities. They founded Fairment in 2015.
They were immediately aware of some uniquely German barriers to success. There were almost no coolers in retail stores. Government regulations require they accept all used bottles for cleaning and reuse. They needed a bottle with a cap that would pop out if too much fermentation occurred. These barriers required them to find a suitable partner, which helped them launch. They broadened their product offerings and moved into online sales well before COVID. They now do most of their business online.
They held workshops on brewing, created a YouTube channel, and blogged — all to educate the German public about this new drink and fermented foods. They now host Germany’s largest online community for fermentation and kombucha brewing.
After rapid growth during the pandemic when home baking and brewing took off, they experienced a steep decline in sales 18 months ago. They almost went bankrupt but have stabilized, and sales are gradually recovering.
Kombucha and beyond
You can buy their kombucha in four varieties. Or buy their kits and brew your own. Fairment offers a starter kit for home brewing kombucha, yogurt, or kefir. They sell sauerkraut, sourdough, and vegan cheese. For those who want a quick fix, they have nutritional supplements to ensure a good gut feeling. These “super microbes” are a unique mix of spore-based bacteria that, in contrast to other products, can survive stomach acid and settle in the intestine for several weeks. There they promote microbial diversity for more well-being.
They help with the general maintenance of diverse intestinal flora.They advise taking two capsules daily with meals. The capsules retail for €34.90 for a month’s supply.
In addition to a wide range of instructional videos (in German), Paul has a background as a semi-professional rapper. Here is extolling fermented foods in a style you won’t have seen before!
If you think that’s good…this one is even better!
And then there’s this seasonal one…
Fairment videos have been watched over a million times, with the most popular gathering over 70,000 views.
They accept that the German retail space is not a welcoming one. The limitation on cooler space is a primary limitation. Paul speculated that it would take a brand like Pepsi, Coke, or a large beer brewer to underwrite refrigerators in retail stores, on which they could piggyback. Meanwhile, they continue to reach an ever-growing number of German consumers online.
Listen to the podcast to hear the story of Fairment in Paul’s own words.