The “eco” kombucha made in Granada that is sweeping Europe

This is the story of how two engineers from Granada decide to become the bosses of kombucha tea. It all starts with a trip to the United States. There, Raúl de Frutos and Fernando Martín see how artisanal organic kombucha is made. Upon their return to Spain, they retreat to the kitchen, where they spend months trying to get the perfect recipe. They hit upon it and, in 2019, they decided to found Víver Kombucha. The pandemic does not destroy his dream and, in 2020, distribution begins in local businesses until reaching 4,000 stores in Spain.

The business does not stop growing. Its product is sold in large stores, such as El Corte Inglés or Carrefour. They also supply restaurants and open online sales through their website. Kombucha becomes the trendy fermented drink. Its health benefits are of increasing interest to the scientific community, which relates its consumption to weight loss and disease prevention. From Queen Letizia to Lady Gaga, many celebrities appear in the media with a bottle of kombucha in their hands. It does not take long for it to become a booming product in the global beverage industry. The kombucha market in Spain has become the most dynamic in Europe in recent years, with sales volume growth of 580% between 2020 and 2022, and Víver is the brand with the highest growth in the last year. Time to go out and sell.

For this reason, now, Víver Kombucha has signed a strategic alliance with the Spanish multinational AMC Global, which distributes refrigerated juices throughout the world and is a European leader, with the aim of manufacturing and marketing its kombucha throughout Europe. The Víver manufacturing plant in Granada will go from manufacturing 6 million bottles annually to 60 million, a figure that establishes it as the largest kombucha production center on the Old Continent.

«Thanks to this agreement, the company fully enters the European market, through the Víver brand and a new white label portfolio, with new bottling and canning lines to offer its products in a wide range of sizes; with new formulations and flavors,” explains Raúl, CEO of Víver Kombucha. “This alliance spans the entire value chain,” he continues, “and combines the dynamism and experience in authentic kombucha of Víver with the infrastructure of AMC Global.” Currently, this giant has five international fruit-squeezing plants and produces more than 800 million liters, available in more than 70 European retailers.

Health benefits

Kombucha tea is a fermented drink full of probiotics, which comes from traditional Asian medicine. Considered an “elixir of youth” for these ancient cultures, to make it you need water and kombucha tea. Black tea can also be added. This infusion is then allowed to grow with a mixture of yeast and bacteria. Finally, sugar is added, although this is almost entirely consumed during fermentation, leaving a drink very low in this carbohydrate. The result is an acidic and ancient drink.

“At Víver we make authentic kombucha, with the best ingredients and respecting the ancient recipe to obtain a billion probiotics in each bottle, up to ten times more than other kombuchas on the market,” says de Frutos. In their case, they have six different flavors: red fruits, lemon, ginger, orange, pineapple or mango; also adding the benefits of these foods. Thus, kombucha is presented as a healthy alternative to soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, although you should know that it contains small amounts of alcohol. It is not that it is added, but rather it is the result of natural fermentation in the manufacturing process.

Although the evidence on the probiotic benefits of kombucha in humans is not yet strong enough, there are promising studies that associate this drink with improvements in the digestive system. It also appears to have antibacterial properties and antioxidant effects on the liver. A recent study conducted in an animal model and published in the journal “PLOS Genetics” stated that kombucha tea can reduce fat accumulation and lower triglycerides. Previous work, also in animals, demonstrated a drop in cholesterol in 30 days. If the results were translated to humans, it would mean that this drink could prevent diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.