If you had asked Aaron Powell five years ago if he would start a food company in Cleveland, he would have thought you were joking. He was working as the communications coordinator for the local MLS and had a nice 9-5 desk job. In his spare time, he worked in freelance graphics and web design to help pay the bills. Life was pretty average. He did the same thing everyone else was doing, including the food he ate. That was until he started watching documentaries like “Forks Over Knives”, “Fed Up”, and “Food Inc.”. He knew they needed to change their eating habits and get active. He started running and quickly fell in love; he was hooked on the runner’s high and the mental clarity a run can provide. He was training for a half marathon and ended his run near a health food store. When he went in, he had no idea he was about to find his passion in the cooler section. Aaron stumbled across a bottle of GT’s Kombucha and thought, “Man, that looks weird.” So of course, he grabbed it. He absolutely loved it from the first sip, and so did his wife and five kids at the time.
Aaron started doing some research and quickly found that you could brew this magical elixir at home. He ordered his SCOBY and had it within three days. He was so excited when the mail came. He was finally able to see the SCOBY in all of its gelatinous glory. He put the SCOBY on the shelf fully intending to start his brew, but there it sat for three months. When he finally worked up the courage to start that first batch, he felt like a mad scientist in his lab who was very proud of his new concoction. If he is being honest, the first brew was amazing… but only to him. When looking back on it now, the brew was far too sour and the flavor profile was just not there. Their friends stopped wanting to come over because every time they did they were presented with what Aaron thought was the best thing ever. However, in reality, it was not far from vinegar in a cup.
With the help of time and a lot of experimenting, things started to shift. People started wanting to buy what was being brewed in their home. Aaron wanted to have fun with this new thing and decided if they were going to sell it to their friends, then they needed a name and a label. He took his graphics background and his wife, Daniell’s creativity to create a logo. Unbeknownst to them, this logo would be the face of their company. When they woke up the next day and started critiquing their work from the night before, they realized that what they created was great and no one else in Cleveland was doing it. It didn’t take much forethought to know they needed to strike out and bring this product to the market. That was in December of 2013, and by April of 2014, they had formed the company, designed the label, and made hundreds of sample bottles.
The last part of the puzzle was the commercial kitchen to brew the ‘buch legally. They entered Cleveland Culinary Launch and Kitchen and shared incubator and kitchen space right in downtown Cleveland. They now had all the pieces to the puzzle. After hitting the streets with samples, they had orders before they even brewed their first batch. After three months in business, they got their first big break: Heinen’s was interested in carrying the ‘buch in all 18 stores in Northeast Ohio.
They have purchased a 5,000 square foot building in Old Brooklyn that serves as their headquarters and production facility.
Available in Concord Grape, Spiced Elderberry, Ginger Snap and Pink Grapefruit