MiVT: Aqua ViTea
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - “Kombucha is this crazy ancient folk remedy that was started somewhere maybe over in Asia. It’s really kind of lost in the origins of time,” said Jeff Weaber, the CEO and founder of Aqua ViTea.
Sometimes “crazy ancient” is crazy good.
That’s the case at Middlebury kombucha company Aqua ViTea, a business that seemingly came together in 2007.
Weaber tapped into his wife’s gut-knowledge to do it.
”She’s a naturopathic doctor which focuses on gut health really. And kombucha was a great example of how you can take care of your gut and the role that nutrition plays in your overall health,” he explained.
But Weaber also has his own background in beer brewing. With the combination of the two, he set out to make the then-obscure fermented beverage.
”We were established as one of the first East Coast breweries and we grew to scale faster than a lot of the West Coast breweries,” said Weaber, crediting his beer brewing experience.
Aqua ViTea began in farmers markets and slowly grew in size. Now, brew operations are housed in a Middlebury facility.
WCAX News met Jeff Weaber in Aqua ViTea’s pingpong lounge.
Yep, pingpong lounge.
Aqua ViTea was named as a best place to work in Vermont for 2021.
”We really kind of pull in a lot of creative types to work with us because we see ourselves on the forefront of innovation. We’re making a product that really hadn’t been made before. And that creative base is what fuels Aqua ViTea,” said Weaber.
But beyond the doors of the pingpong lounge lies the actual kombucha-making; both hard kombucha and non-alcoholic.
Weaber says their kombucha is made of tea and cane sugar, using micro-organisms like yeast to turn it into organic acids, probiotics and live enzymes.
It takes four to five weeks to reach the desired product, which comes in all types and flavors. All of them boast different health benefits.
“So for instance, one of the first flavors we launched was elderberry. And right now, during COVID, people are realizing the massive medicinal effects that elderberry has in terms of being an antiviral, immune-boosting flavor,” Weaber said.
Elderberry moved from a once unpopular flavor to Aqua ViTea’s third-most-popular drink.
These drinks are available at regional stores and in the next year or so, may go national.
But everything about Aqua ViTea, from the liquid to the bright labels, are made in the Green Mountain State.
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