With the popularity of the health drink kombucha growing, a Hampshire company is gearing up to increase its production thanks to mentoring help from the Enterprise M3 Growth Hub.
Kombucha microbrewery Balanced Nature, based in Woodmancott, just outside of Winchester, has been producing the sparkling fermented tea drink since 2016, under its Mighty Brew brand name.
Peter Gasiorek, who runs the business with his wife Julia, said the demand for kombucha has increased as people are becoming more aware of its potential health benefits.
“Kombucha is a natural and refreshing alternative to high calorie sweetened drinks,” explains Peter. “It also promotes a healthy lifestyle with its probiotic properties. We make sure that we use only the best organic and raw ingredients. In fact, we are the only brand in the UK to brew with pure botanicals, instead of infusing with fruits for flavourings.”
Keen to capitalise on the growth in demand for kombucha and grow the business, Peter approached the EM3 Growth Hub, who assigned one of our expert Growth Associates, Mike O’Dwyer.
“Before then we were a little all over the place,” recalled Peter. “Mike was like a mentor for us. He shared a lot of valuable advice and information, helped us work on our business strategy and channel our energy into the right areas to help us deliver our long-term goals.”
Peter said Mike’s guidance proved to be invaluable, especially where he has put the business in touch with a variety of people. This has led to Mighty Brew drinks being stocked by Ocado and they are also in talks with other major retailers.
“That’s why we really need to increase capacity and invest in equipment so we can deliver,” said Peter.
“From when we first started working with Mike, we’ve increased production by about 40% and now produce about 12,000 litres of kombucha a month. If we secure the new contracts we are in conversation about, we’ll be looking to produce 60,000 to 80,000 litres per month.”
“While we are constantly increasing our capacity, there’s going to be a critical point when we need to switch from semi-automated production to fully automated production.”
Peter said this is an area where Mike’s guidance has been particularly helpful.
“With his work on costs and forecasts, we know what we need money for and how we can find for that investment,” explained Peter. “We’ve increased our sales and we have a much clearer vision of where we want to be. Mike helped us to start that journey and he guided us in the right direction.”
Sally Thompson, EM3 Head of Business, Commercial and Skills, said: “Peter and Julia’s Balanced Nature business and their Mighty Brew kombucha fermented tea drink has an exciting and healthy future.
“It’s very encouraging to see how the Growth Hub has made a real difference to this wonderful business through impartial advice and guidance, and helped Peter and Julia focus their plans to meet their long terms goals and full potential.”
To find out how the EM3 Growth Hub can help your business grow, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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