Ah what a question. Well if you read any of Simon Sineks books you will know that having a strong ‘why’ is the foundation of any business or project.
We started planning ūmmi in 2019 through the summer and fall as we had tried a couple of hard kombuchas on trips to the US. We loved the taste and the benefits of a hard kombucha and could see the potential of bringing this to Europe. We looked at importing a US version, we looked at creating a recipe there and even finding a copacker to create the product for us.
Living in Portugal we could see how well this would work here and eventually found a route forward to create a recipe here near Nazare. It took around 5 or 6 attempts to tweak the recipe each time with something else that needed tweaking. We then set about finding a brewer to work with.
Now if we just wanted to create a brand and product to sell quickly and effectively we could have gone a few different routes:
A beer brand : totally feasible and plenty of people who know how to brew it, however there is a reason we aren’t in that space, primarily the feeling of being slower the morning after.
A hard seltzer : very easy to create, on trend in the US but there is something about it that’s not been appealing to us. There isn’t much craft in the creation process and with that comes a low barrier to entry.
A cocktail brand : we’re seeing this more and more, pre mixed cocktails in a can and some brands are doing this really well but again it doesn’t seem like new news and also doesn’t have the same feeling.
Maybe its just that most growth happens when there is challenges to learn from and we embrace that complexity.
We loved the idea of a hard kombucha because it tastes amazing and is a great alternative to beer, wine or cider. We love the craft that goes into it putting it ahead of a hard seltzer. We love the fact that we could find a way to create a drink that helps in feeling better about your choice.
So back to the brewery. We had a couple of options lined up and I remember specifically one team call in March 2020.
“The brewery we would like to work with is struggling with the pandemic. Should we just stop this project for now? It seems like Europe is going into heavy lockdowns.”
“It does seem like this could last a while”
“But we have a lot to catch up on anyways before we launch, maybe we use this time to get ourselves fully in order”
After that call we kicked on and despite Portugal still having lockdowns and a couple of breweries closing on us we found a brewery we are proud to partner with near Porto who have been tremendous on this journey. The creation of a hard kombucha is a wonderful process between fermenting the tea, getting the flavour profile correct and ensuring it has the perfect amount of bubbles its quite the process and again, being a live liquid it is always changing so requires the highest caliber of craft brewing.
So back to the original question. Why are we even making a hard kombucha? It’s difficult to make, not many people in Europe know it yet and we did all this through a pandemic.
We created ūmmi out of the desire to make better choices everyday.
Thats our why.
We know none of us are perfect.
So we created a vegan, gluten free, organic low sugar product which will give you a būzz without slowing you down the next morning.
We didn’t put ūmmi in cans because we are sick and tired of seeing brands use aluminium cans with a plastic sleeve which make them non recyclable. We used these beautiful bottles which are expensive to use but we would rather do this until we reach enough scale to print on cans.
We’re members of 1% for the planet so we can partner to tackle our planets most pressing environmental issues.
Thanks for believing in us, we’re excited you are along for the ride.