I always knew I was born to start my own business. I didn’t always know what it would be, but I knew that I had to make a social impact. Fresh out of college, living in the state of boat life and beach fun, I did some traveling and soul searching out of the country and began to recognize a big part of my culture…alcohol. But why, when in 2016 alcohol consumption had been recorded as the seventh-leading cause of death and disability worldwide? Back in the States I found myself longing for meaningful social interactions—and for my memory of those interactions.
The Sober-Curious Movement
Maybe I wasn’t alone. I discovered sober-curious movements like Dry January, in which 100,000 Americans participated in 2020. Boomers, Gen Xers, and other generations, both younger and older, are analyzing how they feel about alcohol consumption, and statistics show that many people are becoming increasingly sober-curious…to keep a sober, balanced mind. There is truly a psychological shift that happens with alcohol consumption. After the first couple drinks of alcohol, impulsivity increases, which helps explain why we lose our inhibitions when we drink. If we lose our inhibitions, we lose our instinct. We may even feel further from our purpose.
I started brewing kombucha in 2016 as a home remedy to help my digestive issues, and inflammation and pain in my joints due to gluten and dairy. But my journey to sober, satisfied drinking started even earlier than that—there was a greater path to find refreshments that tasted good, weren’t full of sugar, had no or little alcohol but still some bite…something I actually enjoyed that also contributed to the happy-gut, happy-mood link (a proven connection!).
The Remedy in Kombucha
My small-batch kombucha made its debut at The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket in Ft. Myers with the intention to sell it to the yogis who were arriving every morning. I also started to source local, unique fruits and herbs from the farmers at the market and began using my brand, Flying Eagle Kombucha (FEK), as a platform to educate our coastal Floridian following on local harvests. The demand for our fresh and dry beverage really lifted off, we started to get repeat customers, and many people raved about FEK being better than typical store-bought options.
Due to many positive reviews I knew my brew style and recipes were a differentiator, so I took the leap and went commercial in September 2018, and wholesale nine months after that. Building my business up on evenings and weekends, I was eventually able to quit my corporate job. I had a full farmers market season lined up for FEK, with six markets and our first news press article to start the season. In many magical instances, I found that customers were coming back not only because of the taste, but because of the quality ingredients, the feel from our brand, and because they were finding their remedy. I had customers, who had no idea what kombucha was, seeking me out because of my health story about the arthritic pain I had eased with my “booch.” I even discovered that people started using Flying Eagle as a gateway to healing themselves with other fermented foods and a more natural diet. What a blessing it was that I finally found my passion, and that I was helping people heal. FEK has become a platform to educate people on gut health and plant medicine and now, after our sober-curious campaign, even more people have started to replace their alcohol drinks with our booch.
In most of my customer interactions, I had déjà vu—that “I’ve been here before” feeling. But if you know déjà vu, you know that feeling is your fate being connected to reality. Flying Eagle has soared, and has since transformed into a specialty kombucha brewery using medicinal botanicals and locally sourced fruits at the forefront of our flavors. We have shifted from a mobile bar to a non-alcoholic kombucha bar inside of a craft beer brewery, and helped inspire a spirit-free cocktail bar, The Apothecary, in the brewery as well. On a mission to uplift you, mind and body, Flying Eagle is full of those gut-friendly mood microbes and plant medicines and is a satisfying drinking experience. Try our “champagne-style” Elderflower in a flute!
Flying Eagle uses herbs in their gut-friendly sparkling drink to support balance in the mind as well, with relaxing or serotonin-boosting properties, and spices for metabolic support. This sippable N/A bevy can even be enjoyed at home through their delivery option, and their new subscription delivery program with 10% off. Flying Eagle’s feel-good, refreshing probiotic elixir is waiting for you! Also visit the FEK Tap Room inside Millennial Brewing in downtown Fort Myers, and 35+ resale locations in SWFL.
For more information, visit: www.flyingeaglekombucha.com.