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!