Solana Beach Sun

Solana Beach’s Mightybooch bursts onto the kombucha market

Solana Beach’s Mightybooch kombucha comes in five flavors.
(Haley Hill)

North County’s newest kombucha Mightybooch was born right here in Solana Beach, a labor of fizzy, fermented love by husband and wife team John Paul “JP” and Kate Franklin.

Six months ago the couple launched Mightybooch with the goal of being a crowd-pleaser. They have now landed in 30 retail locations throughout San Diego and were recently voted “Best Kombucha” by readers of San Diego Magazine.

“A lot of people want to like kombucha but some find it too vinegar-y,” Kate said of the fermented tea. “What we wanted to try to do was make it a more accessible and palatable drink for everyone.”

Kate and JP Franklin, owners of Mightybooch. Haley Hill

Mightybooch currently comes in five flavors, aiming to appeal to a variety of palates from the sweet Raspberry Lemonade to the Spicy Ginger that has a real kick. Other flavors include the Super Berry, California Citrus and Ginger Apple and Tumeric.

Mightybooch contains no additives, using all fresh-pressed organic fruit, juices and roots. The Franklins proclaim the drink “mighty” as it contains probiotics that promote gut health and is naturally low in sugar.

Neither of the Franklins came to Mightybooch with any food or beverage industry knowledge—Kate’s background is in marketing and branding and JP has been the general manager of the San Diego Reader for 16 years.

“Kombucha is just a real passion of ours,” said JP.

JP discovered kombucha about five years ago—as he avoids alcohol, kombucha was his preferred drink when everyone else was drinking beer and wine.

“I was that guy who brought kombucha everywhere,” JP said. “I heard about people making their own so I thought I could try it.”

In his garage, JP perfected the home brew process, learning about the Scoby (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast) used to ferment the tea, how to keep the kombucha from tasting too acidic and the importance of temperature—for a good booch batch, you need to brew in a spot that will remain about 75 to 80 degrees for about two weeks.

JP said he was lucky to have friends in the beer and wine industry, such as Solana Beach’s Culture Brewing, who were able to share tips about fermentation and carbonation.

“JP makes really yummy kombucha,” Kate said.

His kombucha was so tasty that friends starting putting in requests. It got to the point last summer where the Franklins decided they wanted to share their craft kombucha with more people.

By October, they had outgrown their garage brewery and moved into a leased kitchen space in the back of Ranch 45 restaurant in Del Mar.

They first launched Mightybooch at the Skyline and Solana Vista School Halloween Carnival (their 9-year-old daughter attends Solana Vista and their son attends Earl Warren Middle School). They sold over 400 kombuchas that day with 100 percent of the proceeds going back to the Solana Beach Schools Foundation, building up brand recognition and local love.

Local Greens in Solana Beach was the first place to have them on tap and their product was on the shelves in stores by December.

By April, they moved to a brewery in Oceanside and are now making 10 times as much kombucha as when they started.

The Mightybooch lineup. Haley Hill

“It felt like a community effort because the community has been so supportive,” Kate said of the local businesses who have had their backs but also all of their friends along the way. The couple shared a funny story about when they first ordered their bottles and they arrived in their driveway, all 1,400 pounds of them. They hadn’t realized they would need to unload all that bulk—the heavy lifting ended up being done by a crew of volunteer friends and neighbors. “We’ve definitely learned a lot over the last six months… It’s been an amazing community project that has just kept growing and turned into this really fun business.”

Their brightly colored bottles, some featuring playful flamingo, llama and cactus-print, can be found locally at Pizza Port Solana Beach, Ranch 45, Seaside Market, Bottlecraft and Pannikin Encinitas.

Uniquely, Mightybooch also offers a weekly home delivery service. Mightybooch will deliver two-to-four growlers a week to doorsteps in Solana Beach, Del Mar and Cardiff, “We’re like the milk man but with kombucha,” JP said, adding that the delivery service is affordable and environmentally-friendly as they pick up and re-use the empty glass growlers.

“Our goal is to keep making kombucha accessible and available to people,” Kate said. “We love it so much and it’s such a big part of our healthy lifestyle choices now. There’s a lot of buzz about kombucha but still a lot of people have never tried it so we’re excited about sharing Mightybooch and getting more people to try kombucha.”

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