Taste Radio Ep. 74: How Matt Thomas Built One of The Fastest Growing Kombucha Brands in the U.S.

In this week’s episode of BevNET’s Taste Radio, presented by Virun, we’re joined by Matt Thomas, the founder and CEO of Townshend’s Tea Company and Brew Dr. Kombucha. In a conversation with BevNET assistant editor Marty Caballero, Thomas discussed the origins of Townshend’s, a premium tea retailer based in Portland, Ore., and its development of Brew Dr., which has become one of the fastest-growing brands in the breakout kombucha category. Thomas explained how a tea-forward approach to formulation continues to resonate with new and consumers and has positioned Brew Dr. to achieve explosive growth at retail. The brand is represented nationally at Trader Joe’s and available throughout the Pacific Northwest and along the West Coast at retailers including Target and Costco.

Also included in this episode: A conversation with Dan and Genevieve Brazelton, who are the founders of Improper Goods, the parent company of RAFT Botanical cocktail syrups and The Bitter Housewife, a brand of small-batch, aromatic bitters. The husband-and-wife team spoke with Caballero about the company’s focus of creating approachable ingredients with broad appeal. And in the latest edition of Elevator Talk, we speak with Kenneth Park, the founder and CEO of Detox Water, a brand of bioactive aloe water enhanced with electrolytes and vitamins.

Show notes:

1:24: Has Juicero Squeezed Its Last Drop? — On Friday, Juicero announced that it would suspend sales of its countertop cold-pressed juice machines and produce packs and offer refunds to customers. The hosts discuss the company’s woes and speculate on the timing and decision to shut down.

10:20: Interview: Matt Thomas, the founder and CEO of Townshend’s Tea Company and Brew Dr. Kombucha — Thomas discusses the backstory behind Portland, Ore.-based Townsend’s Tea and how its focus on premium tea is the foundation for Brew Dr., which is made with using whole tea and no extracts or added juice. “We want to make this stuff like tea and ferment it like kombucha,” Thomas stated. He also noted how Brew Dr.’s distinctive tea-forward flavor profile differentiates the brand from competitors, and explained how the company keeps up with the Brew Dr.’s incredible growth.

34:19: Interview: Dan and Genevieve Brazelton, founders, Improper Goods — The Brazeltons discussed their business and innovation strategy, which focuses on creating cocktail ingredients that are accessible for everyday consumers. Dan spoke about giving “consumers the permission to experiment,” by using familiar and approachable flavors. Genevieve explained why the company shifted its emphasis on sales from on-premise retailers to direct-to-consumer and wholesale business.

56:24: Elevator Talk: Kenneth Park, founder and CEO, Detox Water — Detox Water recently announced new distribution in 1,500 new retail locations across the U.S. including 750 Kroger banners. The company is also on the cusp of closing a Series A round of funding reported to be in the $2-3 million range. Detox Water is also expanding its product line with a couple new line extensions that will be introduced at Expo East.

Brands in this episode: Juicero, Brew Dr. Kombucha, GT’s Kombucha, KeVita, Raft Syrups, The Bitter Housewife, Detox Water

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