BRISTOL, Vt. — A year after building a state-of-the art brewing facility, Vermont beverage company Aqua Vitea is experiencing significant growth. The new location provides the infrastructure required to meet demand and expand distribution throughout the northeast, while continuing to innovate the brewing process.
Aqua Vitea pioneered the in-store Kombucha On Tap business model starting at the Middlebury Co-op during the fall of 2007. Now you can find Aqua Vitea Kombucha on tap throughout the northeast via self-serve Kombucha fountains in health food stores/ Co-ops, integrated into juices and smoothies at juice bars/ cafes, and on traditional tap systems in restaurants/ bars.
With the recent explosion of national news and interest in Kombucha as a nourishing and probiotic beverage, Aqua Vitea is poised to reach more consumers who are passionate about healthy food choices. Aqua Vitea continues to expand their market area as they install Kombucha fountains (including multiple six tap fountains) and distribute kegs throughout the northeast. The bottled product enables new customers to try different flavors and an easy grab and go option. Kombucha on tap allows customers to save money, save glass, try limited seasonal releases, and enjoy the freshest Kombucha possible.
“As I look back and review the highlights and successes of 2013 and plan for 2014, I am very encouraged that our efforts and commitment to authentic Kombucha are being recognized and well received”, said Jeff Weaber, Aqua Vitea Founder and Imagineer. Aqua Vitea managed sustainable, consistent and significant growth during 2013. A new Director of Operations and Sales and Distribution Manager as well as production and event staff were added to the growing team. Aqua Vitea Kombucha cocktails were served at multiple events with a highlight being when
Jeff Tweedy of Wilco mentioned Kombucha on stage in front of 7,500 fans at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival at Mass MoCA in North Adams, MA. In addition to vending at the event, Aqua Vitea provided a professional bartender, Kombucha on tap and Kombucha cocktails in the artist lounge serving hundreds including performing artists along with their families and friends, leaving a lasting impact.
Mike Kin has been with Aqua Vitea since 2008 and is Head Brewer/ Creative Director. “As a painter and former naturalist for the Audubon Society, I tend to see most things as systems or environments in which many different elements are collaborating and competing. If the system works, it is because all of these interactions have developed naturally and have reached a sort of homeostasis. The more that we get to know our Kombucha cultures and the Kombucha ecosystem in general, the more fascinating and delicate those relationships are within.” say’s Kin. “We have tried to create and continue to maintain a stable, healthy ecosystem for our Kombucha through our brewing processes so that it will help maintain a healthy one in your’s”, Kin added. The research and development Aqua Vitea has done ensures consistent product and supports a scalable brewing system. Microflora and probiotics in the news shows a broadened awareness that the living environments in our guts are critical to a healthy immune system, metabolism and even brain function.
Mike McCarney, Director of Operations, joined Aqua Vitea earlier this year and acknowledges what went into building the new brewery as well as the talent behind the product and brand. “Our brewery is a living organism that is a by-product of 8 years of hard work brewing Kombucha on the farm, 13 years of brewing experience and a vision for the future”, said Mike McCarney. “Everyday I get to work with a talented, innovative and fun team that keeps one foot in the present, managing significant growth and delivering great Kombucha to our market, and one foot in the future, planning for new products and distribution channels.” The outlook for 2014 is very exciting in the Kombucha industry as Kombucha reaches a broader market.
This fall Aqua Vitea released a new flavor on Tap – Hibiscus Ginger Lime as well as two limited seasonal releases – Watermelon and Mulled Cider. Local Bristol, VT artist Rory Jackson who is involved with a school in Ghana was the inspiration for Aqua Vitea’s new flavor based on a traditional West African drink called “bissop”. Local farmer Eric Rozendaal from Rockville Market Farm sold Aqua Vitea his entire organic watermelon crop for the refreshing Watermelon Kombucha. “Aqua Vitea has been working with local producers and sourcing local and/ or organic ingredients since our first days of operation” said Weaber. “Cultivating a symbiotic relationship with our community is a core value of Aqua Vitea”, Weaber added. Hibiscus Ginger Lime and Watermelon have been well received by the Aqua Vitea loyal fan base. Aqua Vitea’s branding and products finds balance in art, sense of place and community… all integral elements of Aqua Vitea’s Culture.
Aqua Vitea recently launched a new website that serves as the interactive hub for vendors, customers and nourishing beverage enthusiasts. The site connects customers to the closest place to buy their Kombucha on tap or in bottle, shares the Aqua Vitea brand story through a visual and interactive experience, links to their social media platforms, and encourages visitors to contact Aqua Vitea.
What is Kombucha?
Kombucha is an ancient energy boosting and body-purifying beverage from the Far East. It is a fermented beverage made simply from tea, sugar, water, and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY). Through fermentation the beverage is transformed into an elixir full of potent organic and amino acids, beneficial bacteria (probiotics), live enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. The result is a health promoting energy drink that tastes similar to aromatic sparkling cider.
Aqua Vitea distinguishes itself from other producers by being the first company in the nation to sell fresh from in-store self serve fountains, allowing customers to re-use their own containers. This environmentally friendly and sustainable practice has saved over 5.4 tons of glass waste just in this year alone! Because of Aqua Vitea’s popularity their kombucha and cultured tea is available in grab and go bottles.
Currently Aqua Vitea offers 6 different flavors on tap of the freshest Kombucha in the Northeast including Original, Hibiscus Ginger Lime, Elderberry, Black Currant, Cranberry, and Ginger. Current seasonal limited releases include Watermelon and Mulled Cider. Limited seasonal releases and Hibiscus Ginger Lime are not available in bottles.
About Aqua Vitea
Aqua Vitea was started in 2006 by Jeff Weaber and Dr. Katina Martin. Jeff’s background in brewing combined with Katina’s training as a Naturopath and Acupuncturist led them to merge their passions and produce this beneficial beverage. They strive to use only the best organic ingredients, drawing on local sources whenever possible. Building a sustainable community that empowers people to be healthy is the underlying mission of Aqua Vitea Kombucha.