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Chamber Member Profile: East Coast Kombucha

August 6, 2019

Steve Gaskin blames his new vocation on a sip and a trip to Hawaii. Gaskin is co-founder of East Coast Kombucha Company- a new kombucha brewery in South Norwalk. Kombucha is a fermented tea flavored with herbs, juices, and contains healthy probiotics made from a culture of bacteria and yeast to help your body function properly.

It was only three years ago that Gaskin first heard of kombucha from friends. Although he was not enamored with that first taste, his friends convinced him to try it again after they raved about the homemade kombucha they had on a trip to Hawaii. This second taste of kombucha changed Gaskin’s mind about the beverage; and he and his friend, and now business partner, Howard Duvall (the one who took the Hawaii trip) purchased a kit to make kombucha at home. Their delicious attempts at home-brewed kombucha got them thinking of turning kombucha-making into a business.

At the time, Gaskin, after years as a commercial producer and director, was thinking of pursuing a new career. “I was looking for something new to do in life- something that would be more beneficial for people” says Gaskin, “the idea of creating a company based on a beverage that has a 2000 year old history of helping others, but wasn’t being brewed in CT was intriguing, and just possibly- a little crazy”…

Gaskin and Duvall realized that the kombucha business could be a potential new career. According to Gaskin, kombucha is now an $800 million a year business in the United States, and is projected to grow as large as $1.8 billion annually within 3 years. “Kombucha is what is known as a functional beverage, meaning that it has the potential to help  your body,” says Gaskin. “We see growth in this area because people are more and more conscious of what they put into their bodies; Not only is kombucha low in sugar and calories- it’s also full of beneficial probiotics and enzymes which rebalance your gut system– a great alternative to sodas.”  

The two saw that there is a void of fresh kombucha on the East Coast– as most of it sold around here is in bottles which were produced and shipped from the West Coast. Over time, the kombucha changes flavor and tastes more like vinegar as it continues to ferment, “Kombucha, when it’s fresh, tastes amazingly different. Our goal is similar to craft breweries: produce it locally and get it to the consumer as quickly as possible-focusing entirely on Fairfield County ” says Gaskin.  

East Coast Kombucha Company has finalized construction of their brewery at 57 Chestnut Street in South Norwalk that will include a tasting area for people to come in and try it, and has started selling it in bottles and kegs. “Now that most grocery stores sell bottles of kombucha,  we see a real opportunity to provide it to bars, restaurants, gyms, yoga studios and offices because there is nothing better than fresh, organic kombucha, served icy cold from the tap,” explains Gaskin.

If you are interested in offering kombucha to your customers, or to enjoy it yourself, contact East Coast Kombucha at 203-904-2121, info@Eastcoastkombucha.com, or visit eastcoastkombucha.com.