Leo Bienati grew up drinking kombucha, a fizzy, fermented tea, in his native Argentina. He brought his recipe to the Metroplex.
“We started at home, like everything else. We made it for us and you start at home, and you’re like, ‘This is really good,’” said Bienati.
Usually Made In Texas stories show lots of fast paced manufacturing plants, but for this story Bienati wanted to take us back to his roots: A small kitchen in Fort Worth.
Bienati, with help from his girlfriend Theresa Pham, started making kombucha and selling it at farmer’s markets on the weekends.
“We met the right people. Business owners and restaurant owners and they liked the product, said we wanted to carry it, and it was a great problem, and since then we haven’t stopped,” said Bienati.
Within months, the business exploded.
“This kitchen, when we were full steam, you would have 2-3,000 gallons back there, fermenters, there would be four or five people bottling right here, we would be running pots of hot tea, every hour, like 10, 20 of them,” said Bienati as he pointed to various parts of the kitchen.
“We were working from 6 in the morning all the way until midnight. If that’s what it took, we did it,” said Pham.
Eighteen months after the first batch was made, Holy Kombucha sells bottles in more than 100 stores including Whole Foods and Central Market, plus on tap at a dozen restaurants and juice bars.
Each bottle sold or glass poured means a donation of 10 percent of the company’s profits to Sow The Seed foundation, which rescues and provides housing for victims of human trafficking. Soon, they’ll let people on Facebook decide the next foundation that will benefit from Holy Kombucha’s success.
“It’s not just going to be one non-profit, it is going to be whatever the fans decide for that year, whichever non-profit they want to benefit,” said Pham.
In just 18 months, an idea at home turned into a flourishing business; one that’s made in Texas.
“It’s kind of like my American Dream. My version of the American Dream. We love and we’re proud to be Texas made and especially DFW,” said Bienati.