But kombucha, a fermented tea, can have a vinegary taste that turns people off, which West said he avoids with his soda recipes.
“I wanted to offer the benefits of kombucha, but still help people understand that it can taste good,” West said.
He said his recipes call for starting with fruits or roots, like raspberries or ginger, instead of starting with green or black tea, and then the sodas are fermented for a shorter period of time to leave a sweeter taste than if the fermenting agent fed for longer on the sugars.
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The new home for WestWood will mean space to make more flavors of soda and produce a higher volume, with the goal of picking up more customers.
The storefront will also mean enough space to set up a tasting room where customers can try the sodas as well as eventually get sandwiches (with fermented bread), bone broth, coffee and juice. The store will also have a retail area where WestWood can directly sell its drinks.
West said having a larger space to make the sodas and also having a retail shop are chance to introduce unique flavors.
“I’d like to slowly start introducing people to what it takes to be a healthy individual and teaching them little things about health,” he said.
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The business has been a home operation for about three months and is selling in three retail stores, but West has his eye on other stores like Dorothy Lane Market or Jungle Jim’s.
“We’re just waiting to get our own facility to expand to more stores,” he said.
Beside’s West, a team of a half dozen friends and family are involved, including his friend Andrew Garwood, whose last name combines with West’s to create the company’s name.
“We’re all younger college and high school kids that are trying to start a company,” West said.