If you haven’t tried – or at least heard of – kombucha, you were probably born yesterday. The almost ancient tea drink has aged well, and it has recently become so trendy globally that even Finnish producers struggle to meet the domestic demand.
However, Good Guys Kombucha, brewing in Tampere, Finland, has its eyes set on the world. Although the number of bottles it produces is still far from what consumers would like to buy, there are big plans.
“This year, we’ve invested heavily in increasing our production in order to automatise it is much as possible,” co-founder Krister Häll tells. “That’ll help us to a certain extent, but after that we’ll need to boost the capacity even more to head further abroad.”
Currently, ready-made and bottled Good Guys Kombucha is only available in Finland. The company’s other product, the DIY Kombucha Starter Kit, is sold in a few places in Sweden as well, but Häll and co-founder Hanna Katajamäki believe there are intriguing markets beyond the two neighbours, too. No wonder, as judging by the press and popularity kombucha has been gaining all over the world, making your own kombucha may be the only option to get your hands on the drink.
From TeaBagPackers to Kombucha Guys
Good Guys Kombucha started out as a venture by the couple and a few mates. Katajamäki and Häll had grown fond of tea during their visit to Sri Lanka and became even more so after Häll and his friends started their TeaBagPackers YouTube channel together, filming the origins and manufacturing of tea with Finnish tea companies.
Then, friend and co-founder Teemu Hyvönen returned to Finland from New Zealand, banging on about kombucha. The gang decided to start testing the tea waters and started making kombucha at home.
Long story short: with the ongoing investments and seven-strong team of founders, Good Guys Kombucha is a major player in the Finnish kombucha market, be it on the shelves of supermarkets or in people’s kitchen corners. The product range contains different flavours of the beverage, starter kits, and equipment for home brewing and loose-leaf tea.
Although it might sound odd that the company is helping people make the product on their own instead of buying bottles, the good guys and gals themselves don’t see it that way.
“The more people know about kombucha and understand what it is, the more they’ll appreciate high quality,” Katajamäki notes.
“If you think of people who brew beer at home, they’re likely to drink high-quality craft beer when they’re out, too,” Häll adds.
Best feedback comes from the gut
Kombucha’s possible health benefits have been discussed in abundance, but so far there’s no clinical evidence. Häll and Katajamäki emphasise that they don’t sell Good Guys Kombucha as a health drink or medicine but prefer that people notice its impact individually.
“The best kind of feedback for us is to hear people say that drinking our kombucha genuinely makes them feel better,” Häll says.
On top of the feelgood, Good Guys Kombucha also provides its fans with a kombucha community. On their Facebook group, home brewers can share experiences, tips and flavours, as well as find help from fellow kombucha enthusiasts. Kombucha Community by the Good Guys is, of course, also a way to enhance brand loyalty.
Good Guys Kombucha seems to tick a handful of trendy boxes: a fashionable drink with quirky flavour combinations (ginger, turmeric and carrot in one bottle, anyone?) hailing from the Nordics (climbing in popularity everywhere) with a cool background story (tea trips in Sri Lanka, what’s not to like?) and a growing social media community adding to the buzz. Häll and Katajamäki are fully aware that now is the perfect time to gather momentum.
And their vision isn’t a small one: to replace the unhealthy and processed pop with all-natural do-good kombucha.
“We want to change the culture,” Häll explains. “People often wish things were different; we’ve decided to do things differently.”