This week's spotlight is on Lou, the Founder of Twisted Kombucha.
Hi Lou, Tell us about you!
My name is Lou Dillon, And ive had a few careers behind me, Ex teacher (lived in Asia for 10 years teaching). Then I moved to the UK in 2009 to study. I studied Human Nutritionist and worked for the NHS for a few years, then resigned due to increasing sickness due to work stress. In 2018 I went on to pursue a masters degree in Food science and that’s when my brand was created and launched as functional health drink in a heavy saturated Kombucha market. I also discovered the adulteration in the functional drinks category and am now making moves as a disruptive emerging brand, I could not find a drinks manufacturer who was able to (or willing) to make Kombucha the way it should be made, the traditional artisan method of fermenting had been made into a short cut production using a commercial short cut processed ingredient ‘and acidifier’ and topped up with artificial sugars and flavourings. So I learned that if want to be true to real Kombucha production and provide consumers with a functional healthy Kombucha I had to find a way to manufacture it myself. So in Jan 2021 I made a commitment to becoming the best authentic Kombucha brewer and set up a micro brewery in Muswell Hill, North London.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF STARTING Twisted Kombuca?
The journey to sustainability was really easy being a tiny business operating from small premises and focused on reducing waste. It was really by chance I met with someone one day at a farmers market who introduced me to another student who happened to be researching Kombucha bi product as a sustainable scoby-leather, a vegan alternative to leather goods. Now I recycle all the SCOBY produced during every fermentation onto her and she creates amazing products. Also my spent tea leaves are passed onto a vegan handmade soap producer. I really wanted to be part of the circular economy and make a difference to being a net carbon business.
WHAT'S YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION FOR CREATING YOUR BUSINESS?
After many experiments analysing Kombucha during a few modules in the uni lab during my Food science degree I soon discovered the real benefits of the magical ferment and the role it plays in healthy digestion and immune functions. As a nutritionist this was really interesting to me and i delved deeper and researched more especially in this era of gut health, and how the state of our guts can lead to many illnesses.
Soon after on Christmas holidays, whilst socializing with friends I had that ‘eureka’ moment. I noticed some friends who were abstaining from alcohol were extremely frustrated by the lack of choice and poor quality of alcohol substitutes. Kombucha is a really great alternative to alcohol, and due to being fermented it provides that sensation to the tongue that you are indulging in a drink which could @almost@ be alcoholic, and it also tastes delicious if it is made the right way. So i figured why not enjoy drinking when you are not drinking. And you can be doing something good for your health at the same time.
YOUR VISION FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND FOR YOURSELF?
My vision is to become an expert in my field, maybe even be able to consult new Kombucha brewers on how to do it the right way. I also have a vision to be able to move into larger premises on the ground floor with proper accessibility and space to produce larger volumes but still in small volume vessels. That’s the key ingredient to producing delicious Kombucha. I also dream about being able to develop a focused and talented team to support the business growth.