Holly Lyman: An Environmentalist Disrupting The Beverage Industry

The food sector has always been an important contributor to the economy. In the US alone, the food and beverage industry contributes a significant and stable portion to the US economy. Kombucha, an essential part of the domestic beverage economy is gaining popularity in the American markets and experiencing an upsurge in demand. As a result, big names in the beverage industry are observing the benefits of this beverage and developing consumer-preferred drinks. As the ancient Chinese beverage is becoming an essential part of the beverage industry’s portfolio, several players are exploring the potential of Kombucha.

WILD TONIC is one of the most prominent players in the competition. Founded in 2015, WILD TONIC offers a revolutionary beverage called “Jun Kombucha”, which is considered an elixir for health and wellbeing. The distinguishing factor of this drink is that the brewery combines the benefits of traditional Kombucha crafted with green tea and honey rather than black tea and cane sugar. This produces a refreshing, delicious taste, and eliminates the vinegar bite which is common in traditional Kombucha. Moreover, this beverage includes prebiotics, probiotics, beneficial amino acids, and antioxidants, without any artificial flavorings or sulfites.

Our initial brew with sustainably sourced tea and honey is infused with organic fruits, herbs, and botanicals to create signature smooth flavors such as Blueberry Basil, Raspberry Goji Rose, and Blackberry Mint,” explains Holly Lyman, the Founder of WILD TONIC.

Artist turned Entrepreneur

Holly Lyman learned about plants, fermenting, and sustainability as part of her childhood which inspired her career path. Holly is an artist and advocate of the environmental world. She is born and raised in Alaska where she learned to be resourceful and inventive with rural life. Holly has actively leveraged this experience to navigate WILD TONIC through the competition.

As a leader, she oversees the work on research and development of new product lines. Recently, Holly has been working at the forefront of creating a whole new category of alcohol—Hard Kombucha, which is now becoming mainstream as the conventional chains and consumers start embracing this new ‘better-for-you’ alcohol trend.

Acknowledging the emerging ‘better-for-you’ trend, Holly has observed this trend and notes that there is a tremendous emphasis. Brands that actively care for their consumers and also follow sustainable practices such as organic farming and fair trade sourcing are gaining popularity among the audience. “People are more interested than ever in where and how their food and drink is made,” explains Holly.

Torchbearer for Healthy Alternatives

WILD TONIC had always been a torchbearer for healthier products that are sustainable and good for the consumer as well as the environment. Walking further through the process, WILD TONIC sources organic tea from Bangladesh. At this facility, a whole community of women can support their families and become educated by working at the tea plantation that now exists where there once was a desert.

After the brewing process, the same tea leaves are then composted to WILD TONIC’s Certified Organic Gardens fed by natural spring water in Sedona, Arizona. “It’s local, where many of the fruits and herbs are grown that go into our Jun Kombucha,” says Holly. Being an environmentalist, she enthusiastically sports beekeeping as honey is the key ingredient in Jun. In doing so WILD TONIC partners with Northern Arizona Organic Beekeeping Association that keep their hives in its gardens and orchards.

Holly explains the reason behind embracing nature, “When a national brand embraces sourcing products that treat the earth in a respectful way by supporting organic growers it sets an example for future generations to follow.” And the earth is in vital need of more people who realize the importance of sustainable processes and embrace the natural source of products.

Unprecedented Crisis

COVID-19 outbreak has been one of the recent examples of humans exhausting the earth’s natural habitat. This pandemic highly impacted the health as well as the economic conditions of the population. The unprecedented crisis managed to impact the supply chain as stores began to focus more on essential items. This reverted the attention from innovation and products like Kombucha, affecting the business of WILD TONIC.

Due to the lockdown, several restaurants were closed and as kegs were a significant part of the business it adversely affected the sales of WILD TONIC. However, the team did pivot their marketing strategies and rely on virtual methods to grow the brand. Holly adds, “Our team is tackling these challenges by adapting to DTC e-comm solutions, new communication methods, and keeping relations strong virtually.”

Holly highlights that this crisis has also helped them prepare for the unannounced challenges beforehand. Also, she said the new remote working model has proven to be effective. “People can be more effective when working from home and the company has not needed to spend as much money on trade shows and travel,” she adds.

Disruptors in the Industry

On the contrary, the pandemic also managed to help people reflect on their healthy habits. The Kombucha market is growing as consumers are focusing on their health and choosing better alternatives. Holly is anticipating that eventually health drinks will replace conventional sodas, sugary drinks, and alcohol because people are putting themselves first. Moreover, people today are demanding transparency and integrity in addition to great taste. Though this is a challenge for many, WILD TONIC is dominating this trend.

WILD TONIC has been a disruptor in the industry as it is transforming traditional sugar-laden beverages like soda and alcohol. It is truly delivering better and healthier alternatives that also taste great. Holly believes that the team’s innovation and uncompromising quality have helped the company stand out from the rest. The team is continually focusing on R&D to expand the offerings and the ingredient integrity is vital, with no hidden substitutes or cutting corners. Holly concludes, “We are not only dedicated to creating and sharing this innovative ferment with the world but also to being proactive in the community and to bring awareness to bee conservation!



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