Locally brewed and sourced kombucha and nitro cold brew manufacturer Vitalitea Hawaii is expanding its product footprint on Oahu. Starting this week, Vitalitea Hawaii's products will be available at Whole Foods Markets, Down To Earth, Tamura's Fine Wine and Liquors and Foodland Farms on Oahu. In addition, the product is expected to soon be found at the Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room, Grace in Growlers, and Haleiwa Bottle Shop.
Danté Valentino, managing partner of Maui-based Vitalitea Hawaii told Pacific Business News that the goal is for the company to have its products rolled out and available across the island within the next few months.
"We've been working with The Odom Corporation for the last six to eight months to expand," he said.
Vitalitea Hawaii has wholesale accounts across the books, from local mom-and-pop convenience stores on Maui to major hotel brands. Due to the pandemic, about 90% of those larger tourism-based accounts are on hold.
"To see a lot of those accounts we've built up, which require lot of support, pause was tough," Valentino said.
During the pandemic, the company did direct to consumer delivery out of the company's vans and consumers could mix and match coffees and flavors. Valentino said the direct-to-consumer approach worked well for three months, but was not something sustainable for the long term.
"[The pandemic] allowed us to focus on things we could control," he said. "The No.1 thing for industry is not knowing. It takes a couple of weeks to rollout product so we have to plan ahead. The hardest part for us right now as a startup, is when you get momentum you want to keep it going."
Vitalitea Hawaii manufactures the product from juicing to canning. The team behind the company came from the craft beer industry and started the company in late 2018. The company started with roughly two dozen wholesale accounts, and has been focused on building more accounts over the last two years.
"We took that knowledge and experience, and that same dedication to quality and adopted it to this space," Valentino said. The balance he said, is not forecasting for too much or too little.
Vitalitea Hawaiʻi's kombucha products include Restore, a Maui Gold pineapple, organic ginger, and turmeric kombucha; Stardust, an organic hibiscus, ginger, and blue spirulina kombucha; and Strawberry Sunrise, an organic strawberry, mint, and basil kombucha. Their cold brew is made from Hapa Blend, a Maui Red Catuai, and a Colombian bean blend.
"At the end of the day we’re brewing beverages to connect with people," Valentino said. "We brew to make the best days better and the worst days not so bad."
Vitalitea Hawaii also recently donated some of their products to the Maui Foodbank during the pandemic.