The Evolution of Equinox Kombucha
Equinox Kombucha is one of the UK’s leading brands. In this update, reprinted with their express permission, they share the story of their growth over the last 10 years in terms of bottling and canning automation.
From humble beginnings
Back in 2012 when our Founders first started to experiment with kombucha brewing, they were using a friends kitchen and hand filling our first bottles with their brews.
As we started to officially trade in 2013, a single head bottle filler was purchased and our production started its first steps towards larger batches.
In 2014 we managed to buy a four head filling line, speeding things up and allowing us to take on larger customers like Suma and Essential Trading.
Equinox started to produce at pace from 2017 onwards when we landed our first major retail listing in Waitrose.
This meant that we could build our first multi-head bottling line and expand our operations to a new production site down the road from our brewery in Sowerby Bridge.
Our bottling line is still going strong today and is capable of filling up to 3000 bottles an hour! This has stood us in good stead over the years, given the fast expansion of listings into major retailers like Abel & Cole, Milk & More, Asda, Coop and many, many independent health stores.
From bottles to cans
In 2019 we decided to add a range of cans to the Equinox family which allowed us to sell our delicious booch at festivals and into food service where glass bottles were often tricky.
However, it was only in 2023 that our new MD Ian Balmforth decided to invest in our very first canning line, saving money, time and carbon by cutting out all contract filling.
We now can say that we own every aspect of our manufacturing operations from brewing to bottling & canning. This means that we can not only drive efficiencies into our processes but scale as new listings and demand comes in.
So as you can see we have grown up somewhat over the last 10 years of our kombucha manufacturing history.
Whilst its not easy being a small – medium ethical business in these times of economic uncertainty, we are optimistic about our future and the future of kombucha as an essential health drink for well beings everywhere!
Raising a glass of booch to you all in celebration of our journey!
The Equinox Family
Here’s an update on the journey Equinox has been on, and their philosophy and future direction.
Taste as the doorway to innovation
Not all kombucha is made equal
Over the last 10 years we have learned a lot about brewing ‘real’ kombucha. And by real, we mean long fermented the traditional way to ensure that there are living cultures in every bottle and can. We have the microbiology reports to prove it!
In order to grow into one of the largest kombucha companies in the UK, we have had to innovate and find ways of producing our delicious drinks at scale, whilst preserving their quality.
Maintaining the real, health credentials of our drinks is the foundation on which we rest as a company and we spend a lot of time in the lab making sure that we are brewing the very best, living kombuchas around.
The evolution of our kombuchas
Taste has always been the key for us and we have won Great Taste Awards every year since 2016, making us a Great Taste Producer!
In the beginning we had only four flavours of Kombucha. Original, Raspberry & Elderflower, Ginger and Wild Berry. And these are still some of the best selling kombuchas we produce today.
In 2018 we rebranded our bottles and launched more new award winning flavours like Pink Grapefruit & Guava and Peach & Turmeric.
We also started to sell in aluminium cans which allowed us to sell our kombucha into new channels like hospitality, festivals and export which were challenging in glass bottles.
And of course developed the ever popular seasonal exclusive flavours of Spiced Gingerbread for Winter and Virgin Mojito for Summer.
A British Twist – River Cottage
In 2020 we were honoured to be approached by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage to develop a new line of premium kombuchas based on herbs and ingredients found in the iconic British landscape.
These flavours were designed to include botanicals like Meadowsweet, Lovage, Sloe Berries and Rose Hips that anyone could go out and forage for at the right time of the year. Since launching our River Cottage Range, these kombuchas have gone from strength to strength and are available in a wide range of online stores and independent retailers.
“All our kombuchas embody our excitement for this gorgeous fermented drink, and we love using natural fruit and botanical flavours both from the garden and the wild. ” Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
And the innovation at Equinox continues. With new trends in adult soft drinks like ‘clean energy drinks’ and adaptogen ingredients, in 2022 we launched a brand new pair of kombuchas, Charge and Chill.
Containing organic Chun Mee Green Tea, Guarana and Matcha, Charge is a clean Natural Plant Energy drink that also delivers a boost without the crash of caffeine.
Its partner Chill, is brewed with Chamomile, Passionflower and adaptogen herb Ashwagandha to create Natural Plant Harmony in the body and mind helping you to adapt to stress and anxiety.
Both of these new kombuchas are selling off the shelves in Waitrose and have really hit the spot for people looking for healthy, natural ways of boosting their energy and resilience throughout the day.
And there is plenty more delicious kombucha innovation planned in the coming months and years for Equinox as we continue our mission to change the world one gut at a time!
Why not try some of the booch that you may not have heard of yet? You can pack your own box and choose your very own rainbow of Equinox Kombucha flavours! Of course we love them all but then we would say that wouldn’t we?
The Equinox Family