Hello Kombucha nation! This is Founder Interview number 9. Today, we are interviewing Jonathan, fellow Kombucha brewers from London. He is the founder of Kompassion Kombucha. Enjoy the interview!
We brew craft kombucha in Hackney Wick and serve it on draft at many of London's best farmers' markets. We also bottle and distribute to local customers and businesses, both big and small. Our brand is built around an ethos of less carbon and less plastic, using bicycles as serving bars as well as delivery vehicles, operating a single-use plastic free catering service, and running a bottle return/ refill scheme for local customers.
Being a keen home-brewer from the USA, I was surprised to learn kombucha was still relatively unknown in the U.K. Kompassion was born out of experiments in an old school cafeteria kitchen, surrounded by fish, plants, and hydroponic grow towers. It was in a place called Green Lab in Bermondsey, a maker-space for businesses with a focus on sustainability in food, water and waste sectors. I was determined to start a business using the tools and materials surrounding me, that is: scrap wood, reclaimed aquarium tanks, a SCOBY and my worse-for-wear cargo bicycle that I cycled for years as a London bicycle courier. I built a bar on top of the cargo bike, brewed a bunch of kombucha infused with spices from my local health food shop, and cycled to the closest farmer's market, Brockley Market in South London. From that point on its been an organic expansion and accumulation of more bicycle bars, bigger brewing tanks, help from staff and a steadily growing list of wholesale clients. I never thought this is where those early days of tinkering would lead. It's only been a year but it feels like a lifetime, and I've enjoyed every minute.
We are at a stage of expansion though still within the confines of the London area. We brew all of our kombucha ourselves and distribute our own product. But we're looking for a distributor who shares our principles in sustainability and could take our product farther.
Kombucha is growing in popularity around the globe now, and is uniquely positioned to potentilally bring about a revolution in wellness as a replacement for sugary drinks and alcohol, which do so much damage to health and society. As such I couldn't feel more confident about its future, or prouder to be on the side of positive change!
I think there's a lot to learn from brewers from different parts of the world, how kombucha is received across cultures, and how different countries are legislating for kombucha. I hope there's also the opportunity to network with contacts along the supply chain - sourcers, distributors, wholesaler and retailers. Most importantly I hope there's a bunch of kombucha from around the world to taste!
Thanks, Jonathan for the interview! You keep reading — we keep posting more interviews from the exciting world of Kombucha!
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