When he was just fifteen, GT Dave was gifted a Himalayan Mothy Scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) that marked the beginning of his kombucha journey. Tart, naturally carbonated, and filled to the brim with probiotics, GT set out on a mission to bring kombucha’s fizzy, delicious flavors to the rest of the world.
Over 25 years later, GT’s Living Foods stays true to their Southern California roots: raw, organic, naturally effervescent, and handcrafted in small batches.
Recently, we caught up with GT Dave to learn more about his journey and hear his advice for fellow entrepreneurs.
01 Why did you start GT's Living Foods?
I started the company in 1995 because I truly felt that Kombucha could change the world. After witnessing how my mom consumed it religiously during her battle with breast cancer, I was convinced that it needed to be shared with others so they too could reap its benefits. Back then, the only way people could access Kombucha was to make it themselves and I wanted to resolve that.
02 What obstacles did you face along the way?
The biggest obstacle was educating people on the health benefits of Kombucha and that its nutritional qualities are connected to its sour taste. When I started making my Kombucha there was virtually nothing like it in the marketplace; the store shelves were still dominated by energy drinks and soda. Additionally, being a “raw” and “unpasteurized” product was something that required lots of education since people associated that with being unsafe or dangerous to consume.
03 What lessons do you have for other entrepreneurs?
The lesson I have for other entrepreneurs is to marry what you love with what you are good at. Then, make sure the service or the product you are providing truly improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place. I believe, especially after the challenges of 2020, we are living in a new world where we all need to work together to heal each other and the planet.
04 What’s on the horizon for GT’s Living Foods?
We are always focused on uncovering or discovering unique foods that heal and nourish. We consider ourselves stewards of Mother Nature which is why we pride ourselves on offering living foods that support life, provide life, and make you feel alive. In addition to our many flavors of raw Kombucha in our SYNERGY products, we also offer a non-dairy, water kefir line called Aqua Kefir and an ancient mushroom elixir called Alive, as well as our raw coconut yogurt, CocoYo, made with real, young Thai coconuts. In a few months, we’ll introduce a line of wellness shots that support digestion, immunity, and anti-aging.
Additionally, I am really excited about our recently established Science Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB is helping to guide us in research around the effects of Kombucha and fermented foods so we can further share a global message that food can be medicine.
05 How do you keep work/life balance? What drives/inspires you?
Honestly, I love what I do and every day is a blessing to make a product that enriches people’s lives. Having said that, I am a big believer in treating the body like a temple which is why I always prioritize self-care whenever possible. I have three non-negotiables for maintaining work/life balance: 1) 8 hours of quality, undisturbed sleep 2) meditate daily 3) break a sweat with physical exercise. Having these foundational practices help me to perform at my absolute best and take on the day.
Lastly, I’m a big believer in routinely immersing myself in Mother Nature whether that is going to the ocean, the mountains, or the forests. For me, this is the best mental and physical therapy you can experience.