November 04, 2021
Brew Dr. Kombucha recently began using Midland Radio's BizTalk BR200 Business Radios.
The company's Environmental, Health, and Safety Manager shared how the radios are making the brewing process more efficient.
Kombucha team is a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast.
"It has natural probiotics. The probiotics eat the sugar from the tea and that causes the fermentation. Depending on what tea base you use, you can have different flavors and varieties," Brew Dr. Environmental, Health, and Safety Manager, Michael Lloyd said.
Lloyd has seen firsthand the health benefits of kombucha.
“My family has really taken to drinking the kombucha I bring home. I know it has benefits, I’ve seen it.”
Lloyd says kombucha is more popular than ever.
“A lot of people are looking for healthy things. They’re looking for alternatives to soda and really sweetened teas.”
Matt Thomas founded Townshend's Tea Company in 2006.
The company soon began selling kombucha out of its Portland teahouse in 2008. This is now known as Brew Dr. Kombucha.
“With the tea company, a lot of people started getting into the kombucha and kept asking our founder if we were going to make it because it’s fermented tea," Lloyd said.
In 2010, Brew. Dr. Kombucha secured a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market, the company moved Brew Dr. Kombucha out of its teahouse kitchen and into its first brewery in Southeast Portland.
Brew Dr. Kombucha's 50,000 square foot brewery was complete in 2016. Now the company can meet the demand for its product that can be found nationwide.
Llyod says Brew Dr. Kombucha's product is one of the few that is fully-organic, fully-raw, and for the most part juice free.
“We’re one of the only kombucha companies that have been only raw. Once the tea is fermented, we remove the alcohol using a proprietary process that nobody else has. We actually don’t kill the probiotics when we remove the alcohol from ours.”
Brew Dr. Kombucha has 16 flavors. To reach a specific market, there are a few that have juice added.
“We don’t add juice to most of our flavors. We have a few that do have juice now just to reach that market that does like that juicy, fruity flavor. That’s really hard to do without adding juice. A lot of our competitors add juice to a lot of their flavors to make them more sweet. We don’t do that."
Lloyd says two of its most popular flavors are Clear Mind and Island Mango.
With a 50,000 square foot brewery, different processes are spread out across the facility.
“When you’re looking at a brewing facility whether its beer or kombucha, they’re set up where you have your packaging lines in a totally different area from where your brewing room is. Anywhere you have fermentation, you have a totally different room. There is a lot of separation between different components of the process."
This separation makes communication a vital component of the overall process.
“You have your tanks in one room, you’re running hoses, or you have process piping that goes from one room to the next room. That communication becomes vital to making sure people know when to turn the tanks on, when to turn the pumps on the line, when to turn everything off. Communication becomes very, very important between all those different process steps.”
Lloyd says finding the right radio is imperative to getting the job done right.
"This is a multi-faceted process with different steps in different locations. They need to talk to one another. Most of the time, they all need to hear everything that is going on. It's been really hard to find radios that will actually hold up to what we need."
The team at Brew Dr. Kombucha first started using a set of Midland's walkie talkies, built for consumers.
"I have experience with Midland from another company that I used to work with. They worked really well so when I got here and saw how old the radios were, I wanted to bring in some new Midland radios. They have been great."
However, the brewing process brings obstacles that require the most durable of radios.
"There are some hazards to electronics like radios in the brewing process. We have people that need to climb inside of tanks for cleaning and repairs. You need something that will go through the steel. Sometimes that's multiple layers of the tank in a room with 75 steel tanks. You need power."
That's when Brew Dr. Kombucha upgraded to Midland's BizTalk BR200 Business Radios.
"We need radios to be able produce. These radios do that. They're reliable and durable. They get the job done," Lloyd said.