Catching up with Humm Kombucha

After expansion, rebranding, company focuses on its product, service

By Sophie Wilkins / The Bulletin

In the past year, Humm Kombucha has moved from one Bend facility to another, more than quadrupling its space, and rebranded, polishing its visual aesthetic and transforming the former Kombucha Mama into Humm.

The moves were all made as part of the company’s goal: to infiltrate every grocery store in the nation, one state at a time.

When asked if more changes are on the horizon, Jamie Danek, Humm’s director of sales and marketing, answers plainly: “We’re tapped.”

With the administrative stuff on the backburner for now, Humm has spent this summer focusing on its core business: making kombucha and getting it to the public. The company offers nine flavors, including coconut lime, pomegranate and strawberry lemonade and blueberry mint, and is accepting suggestions for its next flavor via Facebook.

“Some kind of mango or passion fruit type has been in the works for a really long time,” Danek said, also indicating that a line of kombucha with chia seeds is coming and that Humm staff are toying around with the idea of a spicy flavor.

The company has also obtained a liquor license and is now serving at its NE Second Street taproom red and white wine, Volcano Vineyards sangria and lemony Whoopty Whoop Wheat beer from Redmond’s Wild Ride Brewing Co. They also offer sandwiches and salads from Mother’s Juice Cafe, but usually sell out of them by mid-morning.

In an effort to become an evening hangout destination, Humm has extended its evening taproom hours to 7 p.m., serving chips and salsa and ice cream and sorbet by the scoop. (Two local companies, Bonta Gelato and Addy Mac’s Creamery, are making sweet treats out of the fizzy drink.) The company is also serving kefir kombucha floats, something it wanted to offer to counter the lack of healthy after-dinner choices. Danek says of the combination of kefir and kombucha, “say goodbye to the sugar-laden root beer floats and hello to this probiotic explosion. It’s good for you, with less calories and less sugar.”

If Humm is busy enough and the extended hours drive enough business, Danek said the company may landscape the front of its building and will consider putting in a firepit for next summer.

“The idea was to create a space on this side of town that was a place you can come with your kids,” Danek said, noting that Humm has sidewalk chalk on hand for artistic little (or big) ones.

For folks already regularly drinking kombucha, Danek suggested trying to mix up the flavors and see what pairs well together. One such combination, called the Hawaii 5-0, mixes strawberry lemonade and coconut lime flavors.

She also suggests adding a little kombucha to your cocktail menu, saying that the coconut lime or lemon ginger goes perfectly in a minty mojito.

Assuming, that is, you can get it. The same explosive demand that forced Humm into a larger facility last fall is happening this summer, too, Danek said.

“Our kombucha sells as fast as we can make it,” she said.

— Reporter: 541-383-0351, swilkins@bendbulletin.com