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Coffee roaster, restaurant operator invest in Mother Kombucha

Veronica Brezina



Facebook image.

The founders of poke bowl company Pacific Counter and Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters have entered a joint venture with the owner of St. Pete’s Mother Kombucha to further grow the brand. 

“Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters and Pacific Counter have both been retail partners of Mother Kombucha since our early days and they know our products, our team and our values intimately,” Tonya Donati, CEO and co-founder of Mother Kombucha, said in a prepared statement. “It is a huge honor that they chose to join our community funding round.”

According to this week’s announcement, the trio have plans to “dominate the beverage industry in Florida and the Southeastern United States.” 

The founder of Mother Kombucha, Tonya Donati. Image: City of St. Petersburg.

Mother Kombucha, a certified B-Corp., is the fastest growing craft kombucha brand in the state, according to its website. 

Mother Kombucha currently has its products on the shelves of 1,500 retail locations, including big box grocers such as Publix and Costco. The company plans to launch its Agua Bucha product with e-commerce membership retailer Thrive Market starting next month. In October, it will have distribution with Sprouts. 

Blind Tiger Owner Roberto Torres serves Mother Kombucha’s products in all 10 of his stores. 

“It is what separates qualified individuals from growing their businesses to scaling them to become titans in their industry,” Torres wrote in a Facebook post, recalling when he met Donati in Ybor, where his first coffee shop opened. 

“I was clueless as to what kombucha was and its benefits. Fast forward nine years later, Mother Kombucha is looking for people in our community to get behind the fastest growing Kombucha label in the Southeast. This journey of business opens a new chapter for us. To invest and help other brands grow its extremely meaningful. Especially when they are home grown.” 

The announcement did not disclose the monetary investment from the partners; however, Mother Kombucha has launched a WeFunder campaign. 

Currently, the company has raised over $201,300 via the campaign, which states Mother Kombucha has a $15 million valuation cap. 

Per the description, Mother Kombucha generates $3.6 million of revenue annually and has experienced 300% growth since 2018. 

Elliot Begoun, a 30-year industry veteran and founder of TIG Brands, is identified as a lead investor and funded $5,000 in the round. 

“They [Mother Kombucha] are contrarians to the conventional way a beverage brand is built. Rather than grow for growth’s sake, they have decided to be hyper-regional, focusing on penetrating retail, food service, hospitality, corporate and college campuses with a 500-mile radius of their facility,” Begoun posted on the campaign webpage. “The above, paired with solid unit economics, makes them capital efficient.” 

Mother Kombucha started in 2014 inside a 400-square-foot shared kitchen space, and started selling its drinks at local farmers markets. In 2015, the company built its first brewery, allowing it to increase production and begin bottling, delivering kombucha to restaurants and independent retailers across the Tampa Bay area. In 2018, the business moved to its current location.

Earlier this year, Costco introduced the product in all of its Florida stores. 

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