Most people today have at least tried kombucha, the fermented tea packed with microorganisms that are purportedly great for your health. Like coconut water, it has entered the mainstream; it’s available everywhere from Whole Foods to Walmart. And like coconut water, sales over the last decade have been dominated by a single brand, according to Quartz.
Here’s a look at the top brands for both beverages.
According to these charts, in 2013 the coconut water market was around $400 million, with Vita Coco claiming over 60% of market share. That same year, kombucha sales were close to $350 million—and almost all of it belonged to GT’s Kombucha.
The L.A.-based company was started in 1995 by a then-teenage GT Dave, who began bottling homebrew in his parents kitchen and hand delivering it to local health food stores. Now GT’s has more than 30 different products available all over the country.
Photo: GT’s Kombucha
As the industry keeps growing (one kombucha company estimates it will be a $500 million industry in 2015), GT’s faces more and more competition. One way rival brands are competing is through faster production, reports Quartz.
Another way brands are differentiating themselves is through flavors, reports CNBC. It points to North Carolina’s Buchi Kombucha, whose product is “heavy on medicinal herbs and roots which have been tied to having health benefits,” and Texas-based LIVE Soda Kombucha, whose soda-like flavors include root beer, cola, and orange.
Like flat whites at Starbucks, greater popularity might mean this specialty drink becomes more generic. At the same time, it’s really quite amazing that the words “generic” and “mainstream” can even be applied to a bacteria-and-yeast-fermented, vinegar-like health elixir that’s made like this.
Photo: Flickr/ Sterling College