With a 40-year history in California, last year The Rejuvenation Company found its way to Upstate South Carolina thanks to low production costs and a thirst for kombucha, a sweet and fermented tea that’s been enjoyed for possibly over a thousand years.
The Rejuvenation Company started in the San Francisco Bay Area almost 40 years ago. The owners of the company — a husband and wife — wanted to retire, and Ben Baum was looking for a company to invest in. Baum found The Rejuvenation Company and decided the company could still serve the Bay Area while moving its headquarters to Greenville — where Baum lives — in spring 2019.
“We actually got a tractor-trailer, a 53-foot tractor-trailer, and moved the whole company from San Francisco to the Upstate,” Baum recalls.
The company makes its kombucha in the Upstate in a two-bottling-line production facility in Pickens County, then ships the product back to the West Coast where distributors make sure it reaches the various restaurants and grocery stores that serve it. The company only employs a production manager right now, but is looking to hire, says Baum.
Baum describes kombucha as a black tea that has been sweetened then fermented for six months. “The ingredients are pretty simple. I mean, it’s black tea. It’s organic sugar … and then we use some organic flavorings and juices,” Baum says. The kombucha that The Rejuvenation Company sells comes in five flavors: ginger, mango, pomegranate, superfood and original.
“The way you make kombucha is you make sweet tea. And then you add this kombucha culture, which is a combination of yeast and bacteria,” Baum explains.
He says the process isn’t much different from making beer. While some kombucha can be alcoholic, The Rejuvenation Company makes nonalcoholic kombucha.
The drink may have emerged in northeast China, but there seems to be some uncertainty to where it actually originated. Wherever it began, currently kombucha is a global industry with sales of $1.5 billion in 2017.
Recently, Growler Haus in the Village of West Greenville has started selling the company’s kombucha on tap. Baum says he wants to see it expand and believes the product is perfect for such scaling.
“What we’re doing right now is looking for additional outlets to carry our product,” Baum says. “Ultimately our goal is to get into more retail outlets, whether it’s served in a restaurant or in a grocery store. And, you know, we have the capacity to do quite a bit of volume.”