Gut Instinct: Torrance-based Health Ade Kombucha Drinks Up Newfound Success
Along with her husband and best friend, a Torrance–based entrepreneur pioneers a kombucha company and promotes a healthy lifestyle … one bottle at a time.
- CategoryEat & Drink
WRITTEN BY JENNIE NUNN | PHOTOGRAPHED BY MONICA OROZCO
For Daina Trout, CEO and cofounder of Health-Ade Kombucha, the idea to bottle her own recipe for kombucha—a fermented tea with probiotics—and launch a full-blown company five years ago began with self-made labels, $100 in $1 bills and 10 cases at a farmers market in Los Angeles.
“I knew how to make the best kombucha, and I
wanted to share that with the world.”
“I found myself climbing the corporate ladder of a pharmaceutical company and feeling unfulfilled,” says Daina, who studied pre-med at Georgetown University and earned two master’s degrees in nutritional biochemistry and public health from Tufts University. “There was a voice within telling me to start something , and soon it was so loud there was nothing I could do but listen. I wanted to do something big. Something game-changing.”
Daina, born to Lithuanian parents and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and Potomac, Maryland, started an entrepreneur club with her husband, Justin, and best friend, Vanessa Dew. Soon they realized the impetus for the company was in the kombucha in the glasses on the table in front of them.
“We only had a few hundred bucks, so a lot of ideas got crossed off the list,” recalls Daina, who admits she received repeated compliments on her fizzy concoctions from friends and family, which only further reinforced the business idea.
She continues: “At Tufts I fell in love with fermented foods and learned how to make kombucha. Fermented foods like kombucha are naturally rich in probiotics and healthy acids. Our gut should have lots of organic acids and probiotics to run normally. In fact, there should be more in each of us than there are stars in the Milky Way.”
Now with a new brewing facility in Torrance and distribution in 7,500 stores, the company offers a slew of handcrafted, cold-pressed, bubbly probiotic teas in a variety of flavors including California grape, beet, Pink Lady apple and pomegranate. Their “Super-Teas” are packed with botanical superfoods and raw organic kombucha, such as Sweet Thorn with hawthorn berry, mangosteen and pink rose.
“I love the pomegranate Health-Ade kombucha,” shares Daina of her favorite flavor, which she drinks every day. “We flavor with the highest quality ingredients you can find, like cold-pressed juice from organic produce. And my favorite farmer in the whole wide world is Papa Gene of Organic Etheridge Farm in Dinuba, California. He even sings to his plants. I’m really proud that he grows our pomegranates.”
Daina and her team—now expanded to 103 employees with an expected sell-rate of approximately 2 million cases this year—is hard at work on new flavors (think coffee and matcha kombucha), as well as potential collaborations with bars and restaurants for kombucha kegs. And despite hard work and long hours, Daina hasn’t regretted her career decision for a minute.
“There is no reason that fake, mass-produced and sterilized foods need to hold #1 anymore,” she explains. “I knew how to make the best kombucha, and I wanted to share that with the world. I also had something to prove. There was a leader within me that needed to come out and have some stage time. I have a long way to go still and learn every day, but I’m very happy. I’m full.”