Whole Foods Asheville

Asheville’s Buchi Kombucha asks public for $10,000 to keep going

| October 18, 2012 | Comments (10)

Buchi IndieGoGo Promo from jennifer bennett on Vimeo.

Asheville’s Buchi Kombucha is asking the public for $10,000 to help the makers of the fermented drink to get to the point of profitability. The company has launched an indiegogo campaign. And here’s their plea via FB:

“Like many small family businesses, we’re brimming with creativity and energy but creating a brewery takes an enormous amount of money and our existence is threatened every day by a lack of cash-flow. Despite our seeming success, we need to sell an immense amount of kombucha just to cover basic expenses and keep Buchi on the shelves. While we are getting closer to breaking even every week as the word about Buchi spreads, we are not yet profitable. Even though we are working all hours of the day, many of us are not taking a paycheck and the ones who are take just the bare minimum.

The standard course of action for a small business with great potential but not enough money is to take on an investor, so while we weren’t entirely comfortable with the idea, that’s what we tried to do. We found a steely eyed, highly successful investor who initially seemed to be inline with our values and put months into vetting. There was no question they could help make us profitable, but we all worried if we’d be able to keep Buchi’s soul. At the time, we didn’t see an alternative as we were quickly running out of cash, so we wearily negotiated a deal giving them 1/3 of the company. Shortly before we signed the papers, they tried to leverage our vulnerable position to take a larger percentage and revealed intentions to gain a controlling share of the company. We were conflicted. On the one hand we desperately needed capital so we could continue brewing and paying our staff. On the other, the idea of losing control of our company to a cunning capitalist who would ensure quick growth without holding purpose before profit didn’t work for us. It would mean moving Buchi towards being a big beverage company like Coke and we couldn’t do that.

With heavy hearts we told our brewery staff that as much as we loved them we couldn’t afford their salaries anymore. Things looked bleak…but instead of finding paying jobs, Tony and the crew decided to keep working anyway!

We’re now working 90+ hour weeks, day and night, bottling by moonlight while our kids sleep on the floor of the brewery. Family and friends have rushed to our rescue, volunteering to babysit and help us bottle. We’ve also started touring across the south east in an old white van named Chewy (complete with a busted window) doing demos and finding new accounts, but since we don’t have any money for hotels we’ve been couch surfing our way across the region. We’re calling it the “Sleep On Your Floor Kombucha Tour.” All of these efforts combined with the release our our most popular flavor yet, Buchi Water, have finally brought profitability within reach, but we are running out of energy and need your help to make it through.

We’re putting our story out there through a crowdfunding platform called Indiegogo to find people who want healthy alternatives alongside the sodas and sports drinks. People who believe in nutritionally dense, sustainable and local foods made by families rather than faceless corporations.

We need to reclaim control of our food sovereignty from the multinational corporations and industrial agro-giants. We believe the best way to do this is by building an infrastructure of regional farms and producers. Supporting Buchi, both here and on the shelves, is using the direct democracy of your dollar to vote for slow food and local economy, and while it might not change everything–it’s a damn good place to start!”

Please check out our campaign, contribute what you can and help spread the word!

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Category: Asheville food and drink

About Jason Sandford: Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville. View author profile.

Comments (10)

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  1. carla says:

    I am visiting Asheville and had Buchi at The Laughing Seed. I liked it so much that I was looking for it on the net when I found this thread. Just wanted to say that I loved it, and I have tried lots of different brands as well as brewing my own. The one I liked the best was Sovereign.

  2. Mike Newman says:

    Full Disclosure: I’m one of the owners of Buchi.

    It surprises me to see such negativity around a positive thing like Buchi, especially in a city renowned for supporting local business and so fixated on healthy eating. Buchi is less than 4 years old and has already become one of the largest kombucha breweries in the country–bringing positive publicity, prosperity and health to our region. We are a triple bottom line company, almost entirely employee owned and community centered. We consistently donate and support events like TedX, Occupy, LEAF and Asheville Community Yoga. Our brewers love and believe in us so much they are currently working, without pay, for ownership later.

    As for the taste, we work very hard to craft bold flavors people will love with locally sourced, organic ingredients. A lot of people say it’s the best kombucha they’ve ever tried. Of course everyone is entitled to their taste–we respect that. We have so many new flavors coming out (Earth will be out next month!) so hopefully everyone will find one they love.

    We are your neighbors, good people genuinely trying to contribute what we can to making the world a better place the best way we know how. We’re thrilled with our success so far and the support of the Asheville community. Thanks to Ashvegas for posting this and helping us create our dream!

  3. [...] Buchi was also in the news recently with a fundraiser plea for $10K to keep itself alive. [...]

  4. John says:

    Buchi is not what makes Asheville wonderful. If you love it that much, get out your checkbook big boy.

  5. chuck giezentanner says:

    Wow I am shocked at the people on here slamming a local business. I drink Buchi every time I get a chance. It is delicious. I think people who do not like what makes Asheville wonderful should move.

    BEST SUCCESS to BUCHI. Love you!

  6. Abraham Lincoln says:

    Ok here’s the deal, we tried Buchi, we tried all the flavors. Every one of em made us gag. It was like pure vinegar. We drink Synergy, when those aren’t flat they are gold.

  7. Ricky Party says:

    I like Buchi alright, but at $4 per 12 oz. bottle I’m not surprised they’re having difficulty thriving especially seeing as how it seems they’ve been chronically under capitalized from the start.

  8. Slim says:

    Yeah, maybe they should call Woody Harrelson for a donation. He seems to like the stuff. I’m not a big fan of drinking vinegar though and thats what this funk tastes like. They are like Crystal Pepsi, a fleeting fad.

  9. John says:

    Sorry. They have been at it long enough to let the market decide. A big part of business is knowing how to remove emotion and throw in the towel when failure is imminent.

  10. Smorga says:

    No disrespect, but I can think of many more projects I would rather give the money to. If I had any, which I don’t. Maybe I’ll write my own fundraising letter.

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