Bringing beautiful living things together
We make living foods for the living body, handcrafted with active probiotics to help people live happier, healthier lives.
founded by GT DAVE
I'm the Founder of GT's Kombucha. For me, unconventional foods has always been a mainstay in the family kitchen. Raised a vegetarian and instilled with Eastern philosophy, I adopted a spiritual view of the world from a very young age. I recognized early on the importance of honoring and respecting all living things.
When I started to make Kombucha, it felt very much like giving birth. Once I set my heart and mind to embarking on this journey, I was fully committed. There was no turning back. And just like raising a child, you want to make sure you put it in its proper environment, surrounding it with love and good energy so it will grow up to be everything you hoped and dreamed it would be. But at a certain point, it has to live its life, and it starts to have different iterations of itself. I see everything I do as a version of that.
What are the 3 highlights of your time as a founder so far?
1995 – Delivering my first order to Erewhon (a health food store in Los Angeles), stocking the shelves, and watching the first customer buy a bottle.
1998 – Moving out of my parents' kitchen and into a commercial facility.
2005 – Going nationwide with distribution, reaching new markets once beyond my reach.
What personally drives you to build a mission-driven business?
Being mission-driven innately means there is a purpose bigger than the transactional qualities of the business, and that sentiment is very consistent with how I was raised. Early on I was instilled with Eastern philosophy, which drove home the idea that I am here on this Earth to be of service and make a positive impact on the world. That’s why I could never just sell water or soda. If it’s not pushing the envelope, encouraging people to think differently or reassess and question things, then I’m not interested. I’d rather make one thing that changes one person’s life than sell a million units of some casual commodity.
What was the life-changing event or experience that inspired the idea for your business?
That’s easy — my mom. I’ve always had a very close relationship with my mom. She’s been my mentor, my best friend, and truly my everything. When she was diagnosed with cancer in 1994, it felt like I was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing something as simple as drinking our homemade Kombucha play a role throughout her cancer battle, treatments, and successful recovery, I felt energized to take action. I wanted to help other people by bringing organic, raw Kombucha into their lives, completely unadulterated and unrefined.
What was the lightbulb moment that propelled you into action to build your company?
Kombucha is a very simple yet powerful thing. While the process of brewing it is not overly complicated, it’s a very sensitive one that requires acute attention to detail. When my parents and I began regularly brewing batches at home, our friends and family who tried to do the same would always come back and tell us how hard it was to make. That response from people helped shine a bright light on the fact that Kombucha is, both literally and symbolically, so foreign to our way of doing things here in America. I realized that Kombucha would never reach its full potential unless someone like me, determined to honor, protect, and preserve its authenticity, made it available in its very fresh and true form.
How has the benefit of the product you've built transformed your own life?
I didn’t start making Kombucha because I wanted to get rich or be famous, nor did I come from any place of ego. I simply saw that Kombucha was something special, that it’s good for people and that the world needed it, and I realized that I wanted to be instrumental in helping it reach its full potential. Seeing that intention come to fruition has taught me a lot about the way people measure success.
We appear to live in a world of commerce, with the thinking that everything is a version of a transaction to make money or be successful. We’ve been programmed to think that we have to go to school and take certain classes to get a degree, and then success will happen. While I do believe it’s nice to have those formalized experiences, they’re not necessarily the make or break factors for achievement. I see now that it’s really about how you choose to live your life, how you treat people, and the integrity you maintain that will truly bring you success no matter what. If you lead with your heart, everything else will follow.
How can the benefit of the product you've built change the lives of your consumers?
Food should be embraced like an art form, celebrating natural variations in size, shape, color, flavor, and texture of every fruit, vegetable, or other offering brought forth by Mother Earth. With the gift of Kombucha, we are provided a beautiful symbol of just that — a celebration of Nature’s perfect imperfections. By exposing people to this, I believe we’re slowly reawakening them to understand that food doesn’t have to be mass produced or standardized in the way that things like soda pop always looks and tastes the same.
That’s part of the beauty of Kombucha; it expresses itself with slight variation in every batch. As we continue to educate and enlighten people with Kombucha, I believe they will become more open to embracing other raw, living foods that are unadulterated, unprocessed, and unrefined. And, quite candidly, they have been.
What 3 pieces of advice would you give to every aspiring early stage founder who is building a business?
Build the future by keeping things simple
Build the future by leading with your heart
Build the future by staying focused
GT's Kombucha is a range of teas that are flavorful and naturally effervescent, fermented to probiotic perfection.