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The Daily Progress * Charlottesvile, VA * November 15, 2015
Press Release * April 2015
Small Company Makes a Big Impact: 1/4 million bottles saved
Barefoot Bucha, a family owned kombucha company with a mission of sustainability, has reached the quarter million bottle milestone. In the past five years, Barefoot Bucha drinkers have saved over 250,000 bottles through the company’s unique refillable bottle model.
Kombucha is a live, fermented tea that originated in Eurasia approximately 2,000 years ago. It is considered by many to be healthful to the digestive system for its probiotic content, and is a popular drink at both health food stores and mainstream grocers across the country. With sales predicted to top $500 million in 2015, kombucha is a steadily growing industry. With that exponential growth comes increased waste in the form of glass bottles. Glass bottles are the container of choice for many healthy grab and go beverages--but many cities and counties do not recycle glass because there is not a profitable market for it. One small company—the first kombucha brewery in the state of Virginia and one of only a handful of breweries on the East Coast when it was founded five years ago—has designed an innovative system to ensure that their company’s growth actually reduces packaging and consumer waste rather than contributing to it.
Founded in 2010 by husband-and-wife team Ethan and Kate Zuckerman, Barefoot Bucha is a Certified Organic craft kombucha made in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Nelson County, VA. Ethan and his team are still brewing with same kombucha culture he began working with over a decade ago, using Certified Organic ingredients to create refreshing and delicious flavors. Barefoot Bucha drinkers purchase a refillable bottle, which they then own and can take to any “fountain” location to fill up on fresh, delicious kombucha on draft. This is similar to using your own bags to carry groceries or your own containers to fill up on bulk items. It takes a commitment, but customers are finding that the impact they are making is worth the effort.
“A quarter million bottles is a huge milestone for us,” says Head Brewer and company co-owner Ethan Zuckerman. “We started this business out of the back of a beat up old Honda Civic five years ago, just my wife Kate and I driving around delivering six packs of fresh kombucha to our first clients. Sometimes when you’re working hard every day, running a business and raising two kids, you lose sight for a minute of the bigger picture of what you are doing. Hitting the ‘250,000 bottles saved’ mark really has me inspired! It feels like a validation of our refillable model, a unique way of doing things that we really believe in. Bringing your own bottles is not for everyone, but people who drink our kombucha tend to be really loyal to our model and excited about the positive contribution they are making by reusing their bottles. We want to inspire our customers to be more conscious consumers, to think about the real impact that their purchasing decisions have in the world. Saving this many bottles makes the impact of our mission tangible. At the end of the day, that’s what excites me the most about my job.”