Greenbelt Kombucha promises accessibility, honesty to kombucha lovers

Landry Allred

Valuing accessibility and honesty, a five-member team that includes three UT alumni promises to deliver just that to kombucha lovers.

Greenbelt Kombucha was founded in the spring of 2018 by Nathan Klatt (‘95), Timothy Klatt (‘06), Rick Boucard (‘06), Adam Blumenshein and Gavin Booth. The team plans to release two flavors to over 100 H-E-B stores by March 18 and continue promoting an environmentally friendly beverage.

Nathan Klatt, one of the co-founders and UT business alumni, said less effort goes into making kombucha than making beer. Because of this, he said the team feels like other kombucha companies take advantage of retailers by upcharging.

“There are good kombuchas out there, obviously, but I feel like ours is really honest,” Nathan said.

Timothy Klatt, another co-founder and UT Plan II alumni, said the team set the price to $1.99 per unit because they’ve recognized the gap between cost and people’s desire to incorporate kombucha into their lives.

“We wanted to break down those barriers and deliver a world-class product that’s affordable,” Timothy said. “From a business perspective, there’s no reason not to.”

The team claims another unique aspect is the kombuchas’ aluminum can packaging. Before Greenbelt’s creation, Timothy and Blumenshein launched other companies such as Strange Land Brewery, Texas Saké Company and Barrel Creek Provisions. Through these companies, the two observed craft beer’s movement from glass bottles to aluminum cans.

Timothy said this realization led them to replicate the success of craft beers.

“We’re able to get (cans) in the hands of Austinites who are mobile,” Timothy said. “They need something portable.”

Along with transportable cans, Timothy said their kombucha is manufactured purely by renewable wind power.

William Delgado, a graduate student in the Department of Geography and the Environment, said wind-powered manufacturing benefits the environment because pollution isn’t produced.

“The kombucha brewing process is going to be energy-heavy, so it’s better not to pollute the environment while you’re producing your product — at least on the energy front,” Delgado said.

Kombucha usually begins with a black tea base and is fermented with sugar until the substance lacks sweetness, resulting in a vinegary product. To enhance the taste, kombucha producers spike the substance with fruit juice to restore the sweetness. Timothy said their approach is different because they make a separate tea during the brewing process where they extract the fruit flavor. Timothy said the team aims to produce new, fruit-enhanced flavors every couple of months.

“People want something new all the time,” Timothy said. “We’re not envisioning our first four flavors as a static offering. It’s going to be dynamic.”

Although a part of Nathan wishes they had launched their product earlier, he said Timothy and Blumenshein’s experience from managing other companies will help Greenbelt in the long run.

Timothy said the market is more receptive to their product now.

“On one hand, I wish we had launched two to three years ago, but on the other hand, I’m not sure the market was ready for that,” Timothy said. “(Now), all the stars are aligning.”