Meet The Maker - New Leaf Kombucha
Working with passionate, sustainable New Zealand businesses is one of our very favourite things to do. Derek from New Leaf is an inspirational kombucha brewer who we adore. We're lucky enough to have him share some insight into his phenomenal small business, so get cozy, and enjoy his perspective on what it means to him to be a sustainable business in Aotearoa, and his Matariki plans this year.
Tell us a little about who you are and what you do...
We brew kombucha the traditional way with NO additives. We opened New Zealand’s first pure kombucha taproom 5 years ago in Grey Lynn and have been busy brewing real kombucha every day since then.
What led you to creating New Leaf?
My wife. I used to brew a lot of beer and turned our house into a mini brewery. She was not happy and told me, “If you want to brew, why don’t you brew something healthy??” So, a friend in Golden Bay gifted me a scoby and I started brewing kombucha. It turned out really well and everyone loved it so we decided to open New Leaf Kombucha.
Which gorgeous corner of Aotearoa do you live in and what is your favorite part of living there?
We live in Auckland and, while the rest of NZ is lovely, Auckland is where it’s at!
Share one of your most treasured moments working in your business so far...
For me, as a brewer, it has to be developing new, never seen before products like our Butterfly Pea Flower kombucha. We brew that by fermenting little blue flowers from Thailand and using no tea. It took us 6 months of trial and error to figure it out.
What is your favourite New Leaf product and why?
That is like asking a parent who their favourite child is! However, our Gunpowder Green Tea kombucha is our flagship and I never get tired of quaffing it.
As a small NZ business, what has been your biggest hurdle to overcome?
Our biggest hurdle has been Covid and we are still wrestling with the aftermath. Customer shopping habits have changed, and we have adapted but it is still a struggle.
How are you celebrating Matariki this year?
With a glass of crisp, sparkling kombucha, of course!
With Matariki being the start of a new year, what's a skill or goal you want to accomplish this coming year?
This year I want more people to experience real kombucha, not the fake stuff sold in most supermarkets which is crammed with highly processed chemicals. Once you taste the real stuff it is like falling in love all over again. There is a reason people have been drinking real kombucha for over 2,000 years now.
Apart from working with rad businesses like Refill Nation, what do you put into practice to be a sustainable business?
From Day 1, we have been a plastic-free brewery. We only brew in brewer’s grade stainless steel and only serve (and bottle) in glass. We also offer a popular refill program at our taproom so customers can re-use and refill their bottles forever. We are very happy to partner with like-minded businesses, such as Refill Nation, who share the same ethos.
Glass is sexy and doesn’t wear out!
You can find New Leaf Kombucha in our Te Atatu & Titirangi stores.