Cast your mind back to a time before Kombucha. Just ten years ago, it was normal to swing down multiple sodas a day, slug coffee and no one ever discussed Gut health at the dinner table. Fast forward to 2019 and Kombucha is totally normal, in part thanks to genius entrepreneur Daina Trout who founded super popular Health-Ade just seven years ago.
What sets Health-Ade apart from other brands in the space is that it is handcrafted in super-small 2.5-gallon glass jars. The cult brand was founded in 2012 by Daina Trout alongside her husband, Justin Trout, and best friend, Vanessa Dew in Los Angeles, where they now operate a fast-growing brewery in Torrance, CA. Though the Kombucha business is competitive, Health-Ade is one of the fastest growing brands in its category and is projected to significantly expand its business nationwide in 2019. BevNet has honored Health-Ade with its “Best of 2016 and 2018” award and CircleUp25 named Health-Ade one of the most innovative brands of the year. We chatted to Daina about building her amazing brand.
You've built a household name in just 7 years! What's been the best part about scaling your business? DAINA TROUT: It has been a crazy ride. There are so many best parts—seeing the product on the shelf in a store while I shop, walking through our brewery and seeing how MUCH kombucha we are making now, seeing people drink the brand “in the wild”, hearing consumers gush about how much they love our kombucha and brand. But the best best BEST part has truly been seeing our Health-Ade team grow in number and in strength. It was just the 3 of us founders in the beginning; to have a force of 200 people running just as hard as us toward the goal of being in every fridge in America is really incredible.
What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur? DT: I get a lot of fulfillment in modeling to others that it can be done, despite the challenges. This becomes especially true for a female audience because that path has some natural and historical barriers to entrepreneurship. I’m careful not to dismiss or hide these challenges, and I try to share without edits how I have overcome (or how I live with) them. I’ve always been a believer in “be the change you want to see” AND that women who want to do it can, so this is my way of walking the talk.
Gut health is becoming more mainstream. How can Health-Ade be a part of people's wellness practice? DT: Since pasteurization and sterilization of food have become mainstream, we have done a great job at depleting our guts of the probiotic flora it needs to keep the body behaving normally. Organic acids thought to support overall well-being, stopped being a part of what we eat every day as well. Fermented foods and beverages like kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut are simple ways to get probiotics and organic acids back into our diets. It’s important to realize these are not drugs or supplements—they are foods! Think of kombucha like yogurt: tasty, has some functional benefit and makes you feel good…Definitely a better option than a sugar-packed soda.
What is your dream for Health-Ade? DT: Health-Ade is both in every fridge in America, AND represents a company that people love to work for.
What are you most excited about for the rest of 2019? DT: This is a big year for us—for the first time we are TRULY focusing on all aspects of building a healthy business, not just rocket-speed-fast growth. I’m most excited about some of the big elevations we’re making in how we operate. It sounds boring to consumers perhaps, but it’s a big challenge and very important goal of mine to build a well-rounded company that will have the strength to last. This year we’re setting those tracks, and it ain’t easy!
We have to ask, what is your favorite flavor! DT: Right now it’s a tie: pomegranate (always) and Jalapeno-Kiwi-Cucumber.