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Keeping Integrity in the face of Growth

August 26th, 2015 | Posted in: Featured, NessAlla News

 

Well hello! What a “lovely” cool few days we’ve had here…..-_-  Personally I am not very fond of it. I have tomatoes that need ripening and cool refreshing waters to go swim in. Neither of these things will happen as they should with temps below 80.

Gripe over. Here comes the blog. So. This wonderful business. This baby of ours. This thing that we gave birth to 7 years ago and have been nurturing for 7 years is growing like the plants in my garden this year. Getting so big and fruitful. Sometimes seemingly out of control, but if we just sit and trim and weed and mulch appropriately, it does quite well.

It is with this growth and expansion of our footprint that we begin to look at our initial beliefs about how we wanted to grow and expand.  At first, when people asked us, “are you going to go national?” Gosh no! At that point we couldn’t even fathom past Madison. Soon it became Milwaukee, and Chicago. “how will you expand?” We’re just going to focus on the Midwest right now, but in the future we would like to open sister breweries in other regions to keep things local. Locally made, local jobs, etc.

Bottle Logo Black & White transparent

We kept growing and soon we were in 4 states, then 5. All regional to the Midwest. Then one of our distributors sold to a larger grocery distributor who worked with 12 states. We decided to stay with them and expand slowly out to a few more somewhat regional states. Ohio is still considered the Midwest, right? But can we honestly, at this point maintain our logo with the phrasing, “always LOCAL, always fresh” printed on the bottle. We thought, well it’s not quite local now in certain areas. O.K. well let’s go with “Craft Brewed.” Our kombucha is indeed craft brewed. In fact, we are one of the few kombucha breweries in the country that really stays true to the artisan and authentic brewing techniques.

Back to the story. SO. We opted to go with “Craft brewed” instead of “Always Local”. We are still growing. NessAlla is a brand that is beginning to be recognized outside of our region. People that move away write us saying “please! Please! When will you sell NessAlla in Florida? When will you sell in New York? When will you sell on the West Coast? When will you sell in Colorado?”

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We would love to sell to all of these far off places. However, there are a few things that concern us.

  • Carbon footprint. This is huge! Already, with our new distributor, we are sending kombucha to another warehouse in another state to then be distributed out to stores which are sometimes back in our own state. If we distributed even farther, this would be amplified.
  • Freshness factor. As it is, we still brew to order every week ( much to some customers chagrin ). However, as it gets distributed further, the kombucha becomes more aged as it travels. Which is quite alright! Our kombucha tastes great right up to it’s expiration date and beyond. ( Kombucha never goes bad, it just keeps fermenting very slowly and becomes more dry and sour ) BUT that forgoes the whole “always Fresh” factor that we are proud of.

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  • Personal Touch. We tend to still do all of our own tastings, samplings and events. As we expand out, it’s hard to travel so far to go do them ourselves. This makes it more difficult to sell directly to the customer. Our best sales are done when we can interact with the customer and put the kombucha directly in their hands. Our team is loyal and enthusiastic, not just some shmucks paid to lie about something they know very little about. My people know the product because they work with it.

Jeannette Dainty pouring Kombucha

  • Don’t want to get all corporate. Ya know, I know you don’t have to, but while expanding, if you go beyond a certain level, you have to have more rules in place. More “strategic blah, blah expenditure, bottom line” type stuffs to protect yourself, and your company, and your employees and on and on. Ya know, hiring someone to come in and guide us to have a “mission statement, core values” bullshit jargon that essentially means we are saying the words that express caring and what not, but what we really care about is how much money you make us without fucking up. We want to be real, authentic, and ourselves.

The other side of the coin is opening an other brewery which costs sooooooo much money. Traveling, consulting, training, building. That’s just the beginning. Finding people who care as much as we do about the product who we can trust to brew correctly, keep a clean orderly facility, follow directions appropriately and be able to function autonomously.  Not to mention just being able to find the right place and right people in the first place. We have entertained this option and at this point concluded it would be way too much for us to handle. We would need lots of money and generally lots of money means investors. Investors, from what we have encountered either don’t have enough to make it worth it to pay lawyers to come up with a good agreement, OR are dudes who look at us ladies and say “yeah, we’ll give you $100,000 for 80% of your company.” Um, hi. My brain nor my eyes are sitting on my chest, thank you. Now bugger off Mr. I’m-gonna-tell-you-how-to-run-your-business-I-know-nothing-about.

SO. Back to distributing from here. We literally get several e-mails from all over the country every month asking us when we will be in such and such state. Do we do it? We want to share our kombucha. We love hearing stories of people who’s lives and health have changed for the better after drinking OUR kombucha. We would love to help more, but would expanding mean going too far? Also, we most likely couldn’t keep up with the demand in our current space. We would have to find a much bigger facility eventually which would also need management, staff, experience and…..lots of money.

Just food for though and a look at where we are at this venture in our growth.

We want to remain sane, keep our integrity and longevity, as well as continue to provide and excellent product.

Please post thoughts below.

Thanks!!

NessAlla

Updated on: August 26th, 2015 | Posted in: Featured, NessAlla News

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