Kombucha has come a long way from its roots as a funky homemade brew peddled by hippies and New Age types. The fermented tea drink has taken off in the last few years, with a number of breweries popping up in Central Oregon.
But Humm Kombucha, originally known as Kombucha Mama, is a local trailblazer. The company, founded by two local mothers, started small and is now available in 20 states. The goal—to get more people to try kombucha and have it as broadly available as sugary sodas—is well on its way to being achieved. In Bend, Humm Kombucha can be found everywhere from local brewery taps and the growler fill at Food4Less to gas station beverage cases and local high schools.
It got a boost when, two years ago, the company officially became Humm. The results were immediate: The new name and branding has proven more approachable for many people who may otherwise shrug off kombucha as a hippie drink. While they were selling a steady five to eight cases a week at Whole Foods in Bend as Kombucha Mama, within a month of the new name, those sales skyrocketed to 75 to 80 cases.
"It's all about energy in a bottle," says Jamie Danek, one of the two original founders of Humm Kombucha.
But it's not just ambition and positive energy that has propelled Humm to the top of the barrel. While earlier versions of kombucha had a vinegary acquired taste, Humm's brews, in particular, have a way of winning over skeptics. With an emphasis on refreshing, accessible flavors like coconut lime and blueberry mint, and smooth brews that rarely include the murky "mother" from which kombucha develops, it's no surprise readers chose Humm as their favorite kombucha.
"The company stayed the same, but more people are at the party," explains Danek. (PB)
2nd Place: Townshend's Tea Company Brew Dr. Kombucha