The strength of Tea-Biotics’ new, world’s-largest kombucha taproom lies in its bold flavors — and a lot of them, said Lisa Bledsoe.
“How good is fresh-pressed, organic blueberry? It’s great for you! It’s full of antioxidants,” said Bledsoe, founder of Tea-Biotics Kombucha, referencing just one of 32 variations on tap at the Olathe taproom. “How about fresh turmeric, which helps with inflammation? So when you stop and look at each of the individual flavors, we’re not just talking about the taste — you’re combining the nutritional benefits of the ingredients with the benefits of kombucha.”
Click here to learn more about Tea-Biotics flavors.
Bledsoe and her team welcomed visitors and shoppers Monday for a grand opening of the taproom, which sits inside the 12,600-square-foot Tea-Biotics production space at 677 N Lindenwood Dr. The day-long event featured kombucha specials, giveaways and appearance by Tea-Biotics brand ambassador Hunter Dozier, third baseman for the Kansas City Royals.
Kombucha is popular with athletes like Dozier, Bledsoe said, because of its impact on overall health and wellness. Tea-Biotics is on tap at facilities for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Sporting KC.
“Eighty percent of your immune system lies in your gut. When your gut’s not healthy, it’s hard for the rest of your body to perform at 100 percent,” Bledsoe explained of the connection to athletics. “Since the acids in your gut kill a lot of probiotics, you’re constantly having to feed your digestive system to keep the whole body healthy.”
The taproom’s opening comes on the heels of Tea-Biotics’ most recent funding round, as well as freshly announced expansion efforts.
Click here to read more about the spread of the Olathe-based kombucha brewer and wholesaler, which was named one of Startland’s Kansas City Startups to Watch in 2019.
Tea-Biotics, a certified woman-owned business, has differentiated itself, Bledsoe said, with its commitment to quality ingredients and its wide array of products. The company bottles 17 of its 32 flavors — with five of those being variants with 20 mg of CBD.
“When you add in the CBD-infused aspect, it’s like a nutritional and wellness explosion,” she said.
Bledsoe is expected to be among the panelists at “In the Green” — Startland’s Oct. 17 Innovation Exchange focused on startups pursuing ventures that delve into cannabis-related and -adjacent industries, like CBD, hemp and medical marijuana.
While kombucha taprooms and bars are popping up across the country, few offer more than a handful of flavors on tap, Bledsoe said, noting customers can bring in clean bottles for refills at a lower price.
Apollo Fermentations, for example, which recently opened in Wichita, boasts 20 flavors, but only about a half dozen appear on tap. Bootleg Bucha — the largest kombucha brewery in New York State — operates Niagara Street Taproom, but offers eight flavors.
The Tea-Biotics team recently was surprised to learn a new kombucha bar opening in San Francisco — the Bay Area’s first — only planned to produce about six flavor variations, Bledsoe said.
“And then here we are the Baskin Robbins of kombucha!” she said, referencing the ice cream chain with 31 flavors on site. “We beat them by one! I’ve been saying that for years! I used to say, ‘We’re going to beat Baskin Robbins,’ but now we’ve done it!”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.