PUR Kombucha’s team loves to travel to get inspired by local flavours found all over the world. This type of trip is always a good excuse to meet local hers and fruits producers and of course, to exchange with other kombucha producers! That’s why we were invited to meet Rebbeca Rinke & Victor Castaneda, owners of Brew Lab, a brand in the Oaxaca region of Mexico that specializes in the production of kombucha with 100% Mexican flavors!
Brewers : Rebecca Rinke and Victor Castaneda
Kombucha brand : Brew Lab
City : Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca (México)
Company year of creation : 2016
Number of bottles of kombucha per year: 1,560 bottles of 300 ml
What prompted you to start producing kombucha?
A friend of mine had been producing kombucha that was being sold in our store, La Miscelànea. After about 6 months, she decided to move to Guatemala and asked if I wanted to continue the brand. I was delighted (and a little bit timid) but decided to continue because kombucha was new in Oaxaca and I felt that the market potential could really bloom. Not to mention, I wanted to continue consuming it .
What were your challenges in this adventure?
As mentioned above, kombucha was new to Oaxaca in 2016, which meant that we had to take a lot of time to educate potential customers and to be patient with the idea. We still take the time to educate and to look for new markets to this day. For Mother’s Day, we participated in a breakfast event where very few attendees had heard of kombucha. That prompted us to make a number of posts on social media using the questions that we frequently get (What is kombucha, what are the ingredients, is it gluten free, etc). The kombucha market has greatly changed in Oaxaca over the last three years because people are gaining an understanding of the beverage. With that understanding comes much more competition. This isn’t so much a challenge as it is an opportunity for us – we use the competitive atmosphere of the market to show our creativity.
What are the flavors you produce ?
We produce a small batch every 5 days – each batch has a different flavor depending on what’s in season and what looks good in the market. We currently have: watermelon with lavender (the lavender comes from our garden), mamey (we travelled to Trapiche – a town close to the coast and purchased the mamey there), guava with cedro (a common herb here that also comes from our garden), xoconostle (a fruit that grows on cactus, similar to prickly pear), kiwi with ginger and a special eduction lyophilized banana with strawberry.
How do you develop your flavors, what inspires you?
The vibrant colors in the market. We like to experiment a lot with what’s available here. Sometimes the flavors work out and sometimes they don’t. I once made a batch of kombucha using mandarins from a tree at a friends house – the whole batch turned out horribly bitter. We win some and we lose some!
What are your upcoming projects?
The main product from the Brew Lab brand is the kombucha, however, we’re always adding on new brewed (or fermented) products. A few weeks ago we brought back ginger beer and this week we are going to be canning our first batch of sauerkraut.
Follow our friends from Brew Lab on Facebook.
Muchas gracias a nuestros amigos por esta entrevista!