Meet Kristin Zerbin, the founder of Hoochy Booch kombucha and one of Nada’s amazing suppliers! We caught up with Kristin to learn more about her story, business model, sustainability initiatives, and future transitions. Grab a glass of kombucha and get to know Hoochy Booch’s amazing story!
Can you pin-point the moment in time when you said ‘I’m going to start a kombucha company’?
Yeah, I can. [From] my first sip of kombucha, I didn’t know it was going to be a business but knew it was going to be something. I used to struggle with digestive issues and when I drank it for the first time, it was as if I had a light shine down on me. It's pretty cliché and funny, but something clicked for me. I knew this would change my life.
What were some of the first steps you took to get started?
Once I decided Hoochy Booch would be a business, there were a few key things we did in the beginning. First off, we made so much product; sold, gave away, put our product in as many hands as we could. I kept talking about how kombucha had changed my life. When you’re starting out, I think it's important to not be shy and present the world what you have to offer.
I’d also really recommend getting a coach. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, it could even be someone in business like myself who’s been around for a couple of years to talk things out [with you based on their experience]. I always found that to be super beneficial; the world of business is huge and can pull you [many different directions], and it was always really grounding to be able to ask a coach “hey I’m thinking about this” or “what do you think about that?” to get some feedback.
Where did the name or inspiration for Hoochy Booch come from?
It plopped into my head one day. I was teaching my first kombucha workshop with a bunch of my friends and colleagues who all worked at a yoga studio together. They were saying things like “I want you to teach us how to make kombucha, it’s changing your life, I want my life to be changed”. We were sitting around afterwards talking about yoga, the world, health, the community, and I said something like “we’ll all be a bunch of hoochy booches'' - we all laughed. But a couple months later, I thought..wait, that's kinda cute. This can work!
Our company name was either going to be Conscious Tea or Hoochy Booch, and I thought “this is a no brainer”. Every time someone says Hoochy Booch, they smile and I love it!
How does your life journey intersect with the brand?
How does my personal life intersect with Hoochy Booch? I feel like I eat, breathe and sleep the values of this company: collaborative, honest, full of integrity.
Upon entering into the food industry, one thing I was shocked and upset by is how people say things on a label that are [complete lies]. There’s no way I was going to be a brand that does that, and that decision propelled me to be a brand that is incredibly honest. I wanted it to be something I’d be proud to show to my family, children, and friends.
And the community aspect. I feel like being an entrepreneur can be really isolating if you choose it to be. It’s always been important for me to reach out to our vendors and establish a real relationship, not just passing the product on and say “see ya later”.
Community has always been a big aspect; I love people & getting to know people, and that for sure has been incorporated into our brand.
What are some of the ingredients you use in your kombucha?
I get so excited about the ingredients we use because they’re so diverse and beneficial. All of our kombuchas are green tea based. We chose it for the lightness and champagne-like kombucha feeling.
In terms of our flavours, we use:
- Lady Grey: Organic Green Tea Kombucha (Filtered Water, Green Tea, Kombucha Culture, Cane Sugar), Organic Jasmine Essence, Organic Assam Black Tea, Organic Bergamot Oil, Organic Vanilla, Organic Lavender Flowers, Calendula
- Grapefruit: Organic Green Tea Kombucha (Filtered Water, Green Tea, Kombucha Culture, Cane Sugar), Jasmine Essence*, Apples*, Rosehips*, Hibiscus*, Citrus Peels*, Pineapple Bits*, Papaya*, Cornflower Petals*, Natural Flavouring
Not only do ingredients make our products so diverse; it’s also a lot more beneficial than adding just blueberry juice or raspberry juice. You’re actually getting healing herbs from the teas and the fermentation process makes them more potent.
You’re getting a lot of different things from our kombucha. It's like a bang for your buck!
How do you reduce waste in your supply chain (either with us, other retailers, or both)?
In the early stages of my kombucha journey, I noticed thats people go to the store, buy a bottle of kombucha, have this great bottle, & do what with it?? It was really important that we incorporate reusability into our company.
That’s why we offer refillable growlers. We’re one of the only brands that does it in 3 different sizes because we realize there are people who want kombucha on the go, the single people at home, and the families that want the 2L. It’s really important to us that people can buy a bottle once and keep reusing it.
To me, it’s so wasteful to buy something once and toss it.
Any new kombucha flavours in the works?
Always. I love creating flavours for kombucha. We’re always coming up with new seasonals & for this season, we’re just about to launch our Cranbaby (cranberry, orange, cinnamon) and Pumpkin Pie (pumpkin, nutmeg, vanilla).
For now that’s all I’ll say, but I’m always creating new flavours. That is the exciting part for me, to be able to create something new and have everyone get so excited about it.
What’s next for Hoochy Booch?
I won’t give away too much but we’ve got some big things. We’ve hired some really key players. It’s been Liam, myself, and a few key employees at the brewery for so long, and we’ve realized we need to hire out what we’re not good at. We’re secretly creating a mastermind team for the brand that’ll help elevate us and bring us further across British Columbia, onto the island, perhaps even Alberta. And maybe even another product, but that’s light years away.
If this has sparked some interest, try some for yourself! Proudly brewed right here in Vancouver, BC & made from high quality ingredients you can feel good about loving. Support our friends at Hoochy Booch, an amazing local supplier with a product that is wildly delicious, fun and humble.