The food and beverages industry is an ever-changing industry. In the beverages sector, in particular, consumer preferences have been changing significantly over the past few years. As a result of an increasing number of deaths due to harmful alcohol consumption, consumer preferences have significantly shifted towards fermented tea and other low or non-alcoholic drinks. The increasing popularity of refreshing drinks and their availability in ready-to-drink form has further propelled this shift.
Furthermore, 21st-century consumers are embracing healthier lifestyles—leading to a growing preference towards healthier alternatives to alcoholic drinks. In recent years, the greater availability of non-alcoholic drinks, their increased online selection, and reduction in alcohol purchasing have geared consumer preferences towards traditional drinks such as kombucha. The demand for kombucha in the U.S. has significantly increased in the past few years.
Companies such as WILD TONIC have been catering to this increased demand with their high-quality and healthy beverages. The company’s brewery creates a rare ferment known as ‘Jun’ kombucha—which provides numerous health benefits for people seeking an alternative to soda and other sugar-laden drinks. WILD TONIC supports a healthy immune system and contains both probiotics and prebiotics as it is fermented with honey. The U.S.-based company is a brainchild of Holly Lyman (Founder and CEO)—who is an experienced leader with a demonstrated history of working in the food and beverages industry.
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This is how it started…
Holly graduated in Art and Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design, and always had a passion for innovation and creativity. She started working with Beeswax, an ancient medium known as encaustic—as a professional artist—before she discovered the art of fermentation. One day, her love for painting with Beeswax transformed into working with honey, another labor of love created by the bees.
Like many creative endeavors that sometimes spill into other forms of expression, Holly unexpectedly found her fascinated with a rare ferment known as Jun—which led her to establish WILD TONIC in 2015. Today, WILD TONIC has become a national beverage brand available in both mainstream and natural grocery stores across the country.
Above and Beyond Kombucha
“At WILD TONIC, our passion is for pioneering cutting-edge ferments in the world of Craft Brewing,” says Holly. WILD TONIC’s award-winning Hard Jun Kombucha, along with its non-alcohol Jun—emanate mastery of the ancient art of fermentation with the unique use of sustainably-sourced honey for an unparalleled signature smooth taste.
WILD TONIC infused exotic verticals of teas with organic fruits and botanicals to create a light yet flavorful elixirs that promote an elevated drinking experience. The effervescent nectar inside each cobalt blue bottle is a crafted expression of WILD TONIC’s commitment to uncompromised quality, exceptional taste, and conservation of the bee population for future generations. “WILD TONIC is above and beyond kombucha,” adds Holly.
WILD TONIC’s company culture is driven by the passion to help people understand the importance of ‘conscious consuming’. It sources ingredients that are organic and even grows a lot of herbs on its local farm. “We treat one another with both respect and appreciation to bring this exotic and healthy drink to the world,” mentions Holly.
Veterans Carrying the Vision
Holly’s vision of creativity and innovation continues to influence the choices WILD TONIC makes as a company by bringing together a like-minded group of individuals that embrace change and growth and have the desire to make the world a better place. As the founder, her core responsibilities are working on new product development and growth with her brew team led by Jim Sanders and Chris Brundage.
She also works closely with WILD TONIC’s CEO, Dale Kamarata, and VPs of Sales, Bill Hazelwood, and Michelle Schmidt to ensure that the company is always focusing on what will bring it closer to the goals of bringing its exotic and healthy beverage to a wider audience. The team is highly experienced in the world of beverage, so they all complement Holly’s creative mindset to help WILD TONIC become a leader in their category.
Besides creating and sharing this innovative ferment with the world, WILD TONIC’s team is also dedicated to being proactive in the community and bring awareness to bee conservation. Holly believes that there is a common thread of health, joy, and wellness that unites the team and WILD TONIC’s mission.
Surmounting the Challenges
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted industries across the globe with numerous challenges. Like the other industries, the beverages industry was also affected by supply chain issues and delivery challenges. Moreover, the closure of restaurants also had a big impact on beverage sales and breweries like WILD TONIC that have strong keg sales.
Heeding the challenges presented by the pandemic, WILD TONIC focused its efforts on reaching out to its customers through social media engagement. It also created an online product locator, which allowed people to find WILD TONIC in their specific region by typing in their zip code.
Anticipating Stellar Growth
“I have always been optimistic and believe that if a company focuses its vision on helping people and the planet, there is always going to be a bright future ahead,” asserts Holly. She mentions the key milestones for the company in 2021 are to launch some new product lines into the market and grow past the 10 Million revenue mark. Less than two percent of the beverage companies reach that level of growth and WILD TONIC is very close to the landmark. “Our stellar growth is a testament to how people around the world are seeking ‘better for you’ drinks that actually taste good. We are just now launching into Canada too!” Holly concludes.