NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) -Big Easy Bucha is the first commercially available kombucha tea made in New Orleans. Like all things delicious, the idea started in the kitchen.
"Austin had been making it at home, he made our Jazz Juice flavor just for our personal consumption. it's pretty cost prohibitive to buy it just off the store shelf,” says Owner Alexis Korman. “It was a big hit with my friends that are familiar with kombucha, Alexis loved my flavor and she thought ‘there's not a kombucha in New Orleans,’ which is rare," says Owner Austin Sherman.
Since necessity is the mother of all invention, the couple created their own company. "The first few flavors we came up with that same day, we wrote it on a cocktail napkin and that started our business," says Korman. "We produce, we distribute, we take in money, we go to the banks, we literally do every piece of this," says Sherman.
Eight months and going strong, Big Easy Bucha was even recognized by New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. "People can say 'that was a great idea' but actually going through and working 80 to 120 hours a week to get it on grocery market shelves is no simple tasks," says Sherman.
The manager at The Green Fork Katie Elkins was using a different kombucha tea in smoothies but switched to Big Easy Bucha to support a local brand instead. "We love it, our customers love it, it's been a great improvement to The Green Fork. There's a market for it in New Orleans and I think there's definitely a need and they're filling that need," says Elkins.
Big Easy Bucha has grown so fast in popularity, they're actually out-selling the national competitor 2 to 1 in the New Orleans market. "At first we really couldn't meet the demand. We were making 40 units a week and now we're up to 800 units a week, you know it's grown from one online location to fifteen stores including Green Fork," says Korman.
They've also expanded their demographic by shaking up the way the tea's consumed.
"We noticed that when we played with the different flavors we thought that they just played so well with alcohol with juices with healthy vegetables. This doesn't just have to be a soda alternative this could be something people incorporate into smoothies, cocktails and put on tap to save waste. You don't have the packaging, you don't have the glass bottles. When people send us something on Instagram or Twitter, we're both just looking at each other like oh my God is this for real, is this something we've done like the two of us together have we done this," says Korman. They poured their hearts into it and now Big Easy Bucha is a big success.