In Fortune.com's September Article "Is Spiked Kombucha the New Hard Seltzer?", we were super excited to see that the article featured Flying Embers, a hard kombucha brand we recently started distributing here at Craft of Boston earlier in the Summer. Take a look to see what the article talked about!
On the verge of selling his probiotic and kombucha brand KeVita to PepsiCo, entrepreneur Bill Moses was already considering what would come next.
“That’s when I realized that kombucha was meant to be an alcoholic product,” Moses recalls. And after about 18 months, he is now the founder and CEO of Flying Embers, a range of organic hard kombucha with 4.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) that comes in flavors like Lemon Orchard and Ancient Berry. Flying Embers kicked off with sales in California but earlier this year expanded distribution to New York, New England, and Washington State.
Flying Embers is the latest twist on the trend of taking popular nonalcoholic beverages and making them alcoholic. There have been “hard” variations of apple juice, iced tea, soda, and seltzer, and now kombucha is joining the group. U.S. retail sales for the hard kombucha category soared 126% to $11.6 million for the 52-week period ended Aug. 10, according to data tracked by Nielsen.
“Hard kombucha has a lot of opportunity to grow,” says Caitlyn Battaglia, manager of the beverage alcohol practice at Nielsen. “Nonalcoholic kombucha caught the tailwind of the health and wellness trend that we’ve seen across consumer packaged goods. It is evolving, and part of that is this hard kombucha trend.”
Beyond benefiting from the ever-so-popular health and wellness halo, hard kombucha offers consumers lower calories, new flavors not often seen in the beverage category, as well as a distinctively new way to drink alcohol. Hard kombucha drinkers tend to be millennials, and according to many top brands, more women drink it than men.
Flavor combinations often come in a duo aimed at two different audiences. Flavors like hibiscus, ginger, lavender, and goji are meant for the hard-core, nonalcoholic kombucha drinker who is willing to try an alcoholic variation. Lemon, lime, and berry, meanwhile, are more approachable and meant to lure in a broader group of drinkers.
The category remains tiny considering the total beer market is worth $114 billion, but with hard seltzers nearing the $1 billion mark, kombucha has a real chance to break out. Still, there should be a note of caution when ascertaining the trajectory of hard kombucha’s growth. Hard sodas proved to be a very quick fad. And in a tasting of several top hard-kombucha brands, this Fortune writer wasn’t convinced many consumers would want to drink more than one in a sitting.
To read the full article, follow the link here. We are happy to announce we distribute Flying Embers in 12 and 16 ounce cans, and will also start distributing in draft as well to our retailers.