Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sum Bucha
Inside This Charlotte-Based Black-Owned Kombucha Brand
Kombucha is said to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the beverage industry. Similar to craft beer brewing, it allows brands to get creative when experimenting with flavor profiles.
Alex North moved from Austin, TX to Charlotte, NC to launch his own kombucha brand in 2018. Now, Sum Bucha is one of the area’s fastest-growing brands, that also happens to be Black-owned.
North partnered with Ryan Burkett and Alex Moore in 2019, to take the brand to the next level. Burkett and Moore have extensive experience in marketing and branding, and were looking to invest in and coach up an up-and-coming business.
The brand aims to not only produce a quality product, but to create flavors that will draw in and keep customers coming back for more.
“For us, we want to educate customers on the health benefits while making a great tasting quality product,” Ryan Burkett told Travel Noire.
If you didn’t know, Kombucha is a probiotic drink filled with enzymes and good vitamins. It is typically made from fermented tea, but the team at Sum Bucha has a unique spin on the drink.
“We use Yerba Mate tea in all of our flavor profiles, except our bee ginger which is caffeine-free. Some brands may use Yerba Mate in one of their profiles, but definitely not all. Yerba Mate is high in B12 and antioxidants, on top of the normal benefits of the drink.”
Currently, the brand features 4 flavors on a regular rotation. Positively pineapple (kombucha, freshly juiced pineapples), lavender lemonade (kombucha, freshly juiced lemons, lavender, chamomile), flower power (kombucha, hibiscus, rosebuds, St. John’s wort, Holy Basil, agave nectar), and bee ginger (caffeine-free. Fermented ginger tea, honey, and ginger).
New flavors are constantly being introduced as well as seasonal profiles.
“It’s interesting operating in a creative space,” Burkett said. “For me, crafting is creative. Although we are Black-owned, the industry is welcomed by a diverse population. Our consumer support has been very high and positive.”
In addition to the quality product, the Sum Bucha team is also big on going over-the-top when it comes to customer service. Burkett feels that when you are proud of your product, the customer service should match.
For aspiring or up-and-coming businesses, he suggests always providing over-the-top service. From over-communicating to never allowing people to create doubt about your brand— that is the best way to grow and build. After all, just because you build it, it doesn’t mean that people will automatically come. You have to do the work too.