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Alex Ingalls, owner/operator of Pilot Kombucha

Alex Ingalls, owner/operator of Pilot Kombucha

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Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you and what is your background? 

Alex Ingalls, been working in Food & Beverage industry for 13 years

Your current job: 

owner/operator of Pilot Kombucha

 In which city: 

Brooklyn

How did you discover kombucha? 

I was working at Whole Foods at the time, had had surgery to remove my gallbladder a couple years before and experiencing awful symptoms related to that paired with some heavy drinking (I was 25). A friend recommended kombucha as a hangover helper

What prompted you to start your company? 

I had known for a couple years I wanted to start my own company but didn’t really know what it would be. I was sharing kombucha with co-workers at the lunch counter I was working at and the head baker and head chef both separately encouraged me to pursue that as a business. 

What makes your product unique? 

When we came out kombucha didn’t have a very broad appeal, most of what was on the shelves was vinagr-y and had a bad image. Ours was the first in New York to have a really accessible, thirst quenching flavor profile. 

What do you want to convey through your brand image? 

Playfulness and irreverence. We’re not about changing our (or your) entire lifestyle in order to feel great & healthy. We know that’s not viable for most people so we’re really trying to provide a way for these hedonistic partiers and foodies in New York to make healthy choices that make sense for their lifestyle, whether it’s as a hangover cure, cocktail mixer, or digestif after eating huge Instagram-worthy milkshake.

What are the main challenges in your company?

Right now operations, we’re almost growing too quickly to keep up with, so we’re having to solve a lot of new problems as they come up. It’s really just a constant game of catch up. 

What tools are essential for your work(app, software)? 

Google sheets, Headspace, google forms. All google stuff really

A word to define what type of worker you are: 

resilient

What does your office space look like? 

My home office is cozy & eclectic, lots of souvenirs from traveling, multiple salt lamps, & filled with cookbooks. 

Do you have a way to organize your days to optimize your work? 

I start every morning with a 15 minute meditation, then coffee & NYT crossword puzzle, then I make a list of tasks that aren’t already in my planner and try to prioritize from there. 

What tips would you give to improve productivity? 

Lists, reminders, small breaks, and mindful breathing

What is the best advice you have been given? 

Whatever’s happening right now won’t be happening forever. If it’s good, take a breather and make time to enjoy and appreciate it. If it’s bad, remember it won’t always be like that and things can be changed to prevent it in the future. 

What are your end-of-day and early-day routine? 

Early day – see above. End of day – Yoga followed by kombucha cocktails on my stoop if it’s warm, curled up on my couch if it’s chilly

Apart from your computer and your phone, what gadget cannot you do without? 

I’m pretty low-tech. Everything I use is on my phone or computer. When there’s a kombucha-making gadget tho it will be that!

upcoming products or projects? 

We’re focusing on opening a tap room right now. It will be a lab so to speak, brewing experimental flavors on site for people to come taste and take fermentation workshops. We’re also hoping to have a closed loop system and reuse a lot of our ingredients in other non-kombucha ferments. 

Pilotkombucha.com | Facebook.com/pilotkombucha

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