Wild Sparkling Tea is steeped in sport
Wild Sparkling Tea supports amateur athletes
Wild Sparkling Tea Kombucha was started last fall when 2014 Olympic Bobsleigh Team Member Emily Baadsvik and Alberta Health Services health inspector Brigette Freel had both left their respective jobs.
Emily had been introduced to kombucha during her athletic career and always had a keen interest in the food industry. After her retirement, it was a natural progression. “I knew I wanted to combine my passion of working with people and food, but I didn’t want to own a restaurant or be a sommelier. I started brewing kombucha myself and absolutely loved the process and the product we had created.”
Brigette says the two met “through a series of happy coincidences.” Brigette had been making her own kombucha, to deal with a digestive disorder.
“We both have a passion for fermentation, so we hit it off right away” says Emily, who quickly invited Brigette to join her kombucha venture. She says she may have “planted the seeds” herself, but credits the growth of the business to Brigette.
“It seems to me that my entire life has led me to the place I am today,” says Brigette. “It was a culmination of events that manifested into this amazing opportunity that lies in front of us.”
Emily knows first-hand how athletes struggle to balance life and finances with training, so Wild Sparkling Tea provides flexible job opportunities to amateur athletes. The company also funds athletic programs like Fast and Female, which encourages female empowerment through sport in girls ages eight to 18.
“Bobsleigh opened up so many doors for me, and I vowed that I would give other amateur athletes a hand up, as they are so often underfunded. It’s the least I could do.”
Wild Sparkling Tea is a little different from the other kombuchas on the market. Emily noticed that most kombucha is heavily carbonated, so she started bottling it flat. Wild Sparkling Tea also uses fresh, hand-pressed juice to make cocktail-inspired flavours like Wild Rose Mojito and Calgary Daiquiri.
“We want to make kombucha fun,” says Emily, who drank kombucha as a substitute for alcohol when she was training.
The early days of Wild Sparkling were occasionally dramatic. Making one of her first homemade batches, Emily learned a hard lesson: “Kombucha is very sensitive to heat,” she says. “It will blow up if you don’t treat it with respect.”
That hot day she used glass bottles with inadequate seals, and stored the batch in her laundry room. The explosion happened at 3 A.M. It was a horrendous mess, but fortunately no one was hurt. A lot has changed since then, now Wild Sparkling Tea is brewed and bottled in a commercial kitchen in the Foothills Industrial park.
Emily and Bridgette are excited to see where they can take the company, and Brigette says they hope to expand nationally one day.