We had the good fortune of connecting with Jay Ressler and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jay, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Big picture, I really just wanted to spend my life doing something I found fun and exciting. I had been brewing hard kombucha while simultaneously working a 9 – 5 that I was questioning, and ultimately made the decision that if I was going to go for something big, I had to start young. So I started Jaybird!

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Jaybird Kombucha is San Diego’s newest hard kombucha brewery right here in Sorrento Valley. We are taking a different approach to hard kombucha – from the product, to the branding, to the culture we are creating here in the brewery. Hard Kombucha is such an exciting, new segment with so much potential, We really are just scratching the surface of where this segment could go. The product and the process of crafting hard kombucha, for Jaybird at least, are so complex and dynamic, it keeps us always striving to try new things. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. We keep going with what works, and we drop what doesn’t. In my early homebrew days, my roommate demanded I brew a spicy flavor. I was reluctant at first, to be honest. I didn’t think peppers and kombucha belonged together. Enter JSL (Jalapeno Strawberry Lime) – once a reluctant homebrew trial turned Jaybird Kombucha’s flagship flavor, and recently the first to be canned!

Jaybird was built product-up. It has been, and always will be all about the product. It took almost a year of tinkering around with the recipe and the formula to get to a point where it was goldilocks. There was no rush to market to capitalize on a hot opportunity. Just a slow-burning passion to make the best product out there. Every batch is crafted with all organic ingredients, our flavors are all real, whole fruit being juiced right here in house – no purees or concentrates, it is raw and not pasteurized like a lot of other brands do these days, and of course, no added sugar.

I suppose I had an interest in business once I got to college and realized it was time to figure out my life! Kind of kidding, but really – towards the end of college, and right thereafter I started diving into any podcast, book, or audiobook I could find that inspired me to move forward and do something I wouldn’t regret as an old man. I guess it was less about business and more about doing something I knew I wouldn’t regret. The cliché saying of, “If there’s a will, there’s a way” is very true to me. I didn’t get a business degree in college, never mind an MBA. I have learned more about business in the past 5 years than any institution in the world could have provided me. The whole process has given me a new appreciation for the importance of life experience.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had a friend visiting San Diego, I would take them to Viewpoint in Del Mar for lunch and a beer on the lagoon. Another spot that is always fun is Shout House, a dueling piano bar in the Gaslamp. Can’t forget going to a Padres game either. After all that, I would go to the original Board and Brew in Del Mar and send my friend off with arguably San Diego’s most famous sando.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to my parents for putting me through college and arming me with some of life’s most important skills and values…and of course for all of the support. To all my friends and family for showing me how fun life can really be. And last but not least, to everyone who told me I was crazy, or doubted me. You inspire me!

Website: www.jaybirdkombucha.com

Instagram: @jaybirdkombucha

Linkedin: jaybird-kombucha

Twitter: @jaybirdkombucha

Facebook: Jaybird Kombuca

Yelp: Jaybird Kombucha

Image Credits
Brady Ruysschaert Madeline Javier

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