Rachel Bennett and Gabriella Ranzi were looking to start a holistic health business. In July, their dream materialized in the form of SolaVita Kombucha.
“Our education and backgrounds and lifestyles are very holistic health-oriented, and so for us, it’s always been a great source of probiotics and an alternative to conventional sodas and alcoholic beverages,” said co-owner Bennett.
The duo brews the fermented sweet tea-based beverage in a commercial kitchen in Bodo Industrial Park in Durango, Bennett said. She had brewed kombucha at home for about seven years but noticed a growing trend toward consumption of the beverage in the West.
“We’ve been really inspired by places in Boulder and the Pacific Northwest where they’ve started to do kombucha taprooms, and coffee shops and even gas stations have kombucha on tap.” Bennett said. “We saw a niche in Durango for that and for people who are looking to have a beverage that is fruity and satisfying and maybe kind of effervescent but isn’t alcoholic – something that’s good for you.”
SolaVita sets itself apart from other kombucha breweries by doing its primary fermentation in 10-gallon oak whiskey barrels. Bennett said this allows the culture of yeast and bacteria to bind to the sides of the barrel and create a environment more conducive to growth than it could create in a stainless steel container.
All of SolaVita’s ingredients are organically and locally sourced. In addition to the Farmers Market, the company’s kombucha is currently on tap at the Durango Natural Foods deli and sold in bottles at Nature’s Oasis and several local cafes.