While bottled kombucha continues to grow across multiple retail channels, brands and brewers are only just beginning to tap into the massive potential of draft kombucha.
Whether available at a self-serve station at the grocery store or on a draft line behind the bar, proponents say that on-tap kombucha offers a different beverage experience for both consumers and retailers. Draft kombucha is fresh and fizzy, is often less expensive by volume, and produces less packaging waste.
As the co-founders of kombucha keg supplier company Kombucha On Tap, Deanne and Jared Gustafson are at the forefront of the draft kombucha movement. The Oceanside, Calif.-based business services 218 accounts in Southern California, offering brands such as GT’s, Health-Ade, Kombucha Culture, Whalebird and búcha.
Speaking with BevNET at KombuchaKon 2017 in Long Beach, Calif., the Gustafsons said their business was growing 200 percent year-over-year, driven primarily by grocery retailers and private offices, as well as coffee shops and juice bars.
“We seen a huge rise in the self-serve kegerator setup, where people can go into a grocery store now and there are eight different taps of flavors and they can fill whatever they want and mix and match,” said Deanne.
While noting that bars within their distribution area have been somewhat slow to integrate kombucha into their draft offerings, the Gustafsons are enthusiastic about how kombucha’s versatility can create appealing sales opportunities at locations where beer and cocktails are served.
“For the beer revenue for a retailer, you have that one revenue source — the person who likes that beer,” said Jared. “When you put a kombucha on tap, you have three revenue sources: you have the craft cocktail, because you can use it as a mixed drink. You also have the non-drinker. Then on the bar side of things, you have the designated driver as well.”
In this video interview, Jared and Deanne discuss the origins of their business, educating consumers on draft kombucha and innovations in on-tap service that can enhance the customer experience.