Industry City Logo

NOT SURE WHERE TO START? HERE ARE SOME TOPICS TO GET YOU STARTED.

YOU CAN ALSO CHECK OUT OUR FAQ PAGE HERE

.

Brooklyn kombucha company grabs investor and retail attention

January 27, 2022
When Amy Driscoll and Chris Hill first met at a party in Williamsburg in July 2016, Driscoll was head of brand engagement at Zico Coconut Water, a division of Coca-Cola. Hill was working at a digital animation studio and making kombucha, a carbonated, fermented tea drink that is popular with health-conscious consumers, in his spare time. He was on the seventh version of a recipe for his brew, which he sold at Little Choc Apothecary, a café in Williamsburg. Believing it had broader commercial viability, he wanted Driscoll, an industry veteran, to try it. "I expected to hate it," said...

When Amy Driscoll and Chris Hill first met at a party in Williamsburg in July 2016, Driscoll was head of brand engagement at Zico Coconut Water, a division of Coca-Cola. Hill was working at a digital animation studio and making kombucha, a carbonated, fermented tea drink that is popular with health-conscious consumers, in his spare time. He was on the seventh version of a recipe for his brew, which he sold at Little Choc Apothecary, a café in Williamsburg. Believing it had broader commercial viability, he wanted Driscoll, an industry veteran, to try it.

“I expected to hate it,” said Driscoll, who says she had previously been repulsed by kombucha. “But I was blown away.”

A year later Driscoll and Hill launched Bear’s Fruit in the back room of One Girl Cookies, a bakery in Cobble Hill. Soon after demand for the kombucha was as fizzy as the probiotic drink itself.

Today the business is bursting at the seams of its 2,000-square-foot facility in Industry City, which ships to seven distributors and 31 states. Bear’s Fruit generates 4,000 gallons of kombucha per month, its current capacity limit. A recent $450,000 investment, from Simple Food Ventures and two angel investors, will help expand production.

In the early days Bear’s Fruit implemented a niche marketing strategy. As a small operation in a $1 billion sales category, Driscoll knew it would be difficult to target mainstream distributors or large retailers. Instead, she placed the kombucha in local wellness outlets—yoga, Pilates, barre and meditation studios. The atypical approach was immediately effective.

Photo: Crain’s New York Business | Buck Ennis

“It got us attention from investors and our largest customer, Whole Foods, where Bear’s Fruit is the top-selling emerging brand in the Northeast.”

To craft the concoctions, Hill oversees a monthlong process of fermenting yeast with tea in 1,000-gallon tanks and then mixing it with real fruit and herbs. The premium label pairs blueberry and lavender, for example. The company says it is the only brand to use whole, organic, fair-trade ingredients, a labor-intensive effort that is true to its slogan, “hard work bears fruit.”

Although the kombucha market’s sales growth has cooled in the past few years, emerging brands, including Bear’s Fruit, are expected to deliver 40% of the category’s growth near term, said Dan Isleib, managing partner of Apogee Consulting Group.

Looking ahead, Bear’s Fruit this year expects to unveil a second product line—a non-kombucha gut-health beverage. Whole Foods already has committed to sell the forthcoming drink. The company is also planning to do a Series A fundraising round.

Matthew Daly, direct store distribution manager for Harney & Sons, recently placed Bear’s Fruit kombucha in Murray’s Bagels and Hamptons Food Market, among other local stores.

“For Bear’s Fruit to be able to put new products in the refrigerator during the cooler winter months is a fantastic representation of how it’s going to do over time,” Daly said.

*This is an article from Crain’s New York Business published on January 26, 2022; See the original article here.


Learn more about leasing space at IC here.


Keep reading

RELATED STORIES

Equinor breaks ground on marine terminal key to supporting offshore Empire Wind 1

June 13, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"Today Equinor broke ground on construction at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal (SBMT), kicking off the revitalization of the venerable...

View

Gizmo Maker Adafruit Leaves Manhattan for 42K SF at Brooklyn’s Industry City

June 5, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"Open-source electronics manufacturer Adafruit Industries is breaking up with Manhattan to join a growing hub of tinkerers at Brooklyn’s Industry City. Adafruit signed...

View

How Athena Calderone Managed to Make a Bare Industrial Warehouse Feel Homey

May 14, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"Plus more design tricks from her Brooklyn office. Athena Calderone practices what she podcasts. Back in 2020, the EyeSwoon founder offered up a...

View

Celebrate Asian American Heritage Month With Brooklyn Night Market

May 14, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"The first Asian American Heritage Month Celebration and Night Market is on May 23 at Industry City. On Thursday, May...

View

9 Craft Distilleries to Visit in New York City

May 10, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"When Alex Clark started Fort Hamilton Distillery in 2016, he was among just a handful of craft producers making spirits in New...

View

Skanska USA Opening 15K-SF Brooklyn Office for Offshore Wind Project

May 7, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"The U.S. arm of construction giant Skanska will breeze into a new Brooklyn outpost to serve as a center of operations for...

View

BK Magazine Names Industry City’s HiFi Provisions Among Brooklyn’s Best Record Shops

April 22, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

HiFi Provisions237 36th Street, Industry City "After years of selling records and stereo equipment at the annual Carroll Park flea...

View

Social Media Company Puff Media Expands to 15K SF at Industry City

April 16, 2024 Tyler Urquhart

"A company that specializes in going viral online needed more space in the material world — and found it in...

View

SUSTAINABLE FASHION TAKES SHAPE AT INDUSTRY CITY

June 11, 2024 Angeline Bartley

Vania Santos radiates sunshine. Maybe it’s the light-drenched studio, the color kaleidoscope of upcycled garments, or her cheerful yet authentic...

View

Loading...0%

Lease at IC

Industry City provides highly flexible space options, curates dynamic tenant-exclusive programming, and facilitates on-campus networking, always with the intent to spur tenant business growth and build community.

Discover IC

The campus spans 6 million square-feet, and provides the canvas for 8,500 people to generate new ideas every day. It’s a multidisciplinary business ecosystem where all industries collide and co-create.