Caio Basilio, CEO & head brewer of Organic Lab | Kombucha No.1

Blumenau | Brazil
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Who are you and what is your background?

I dedicated most of my academic life to Photography and Arts, but I also dropped out of Industrial Engineering in the past, today, I found myself studying microbiology and brewing technology.

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Your current job:

I’m the head brewer, CEO, along with my business partner, Guilherme Peters, of Organic Lab which makes Kombucha No.1.

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In which city:

Blumenau, Brazil. The national beer capital. 

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How did you discover kombucha?

I discover it when I was living in Brooklyn at Joe’s Busy Corner, a Deli next to my building in Williamsburg. It was love at first gulp.

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What prompted you to start your company?

I want to leave a good legacy to my community. Kombucha is giving me a great opportunity to accomplish this task. 

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What makes your product unique?

Balance. Make a well-balanced kombucha is definitely the most difficult part in the process, and that really defines a good from a bad brand. 

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What do you want to convey through your brand image?

Simplicity.

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What are the main challenges in your company?

The main challenge is to make kombucha get legally recognized by the government. We can’t put our products on big player’s shelves, but we’re in touch with the authorities to make sure we still can sell it to small businesses. We hope that this issue will be solved in a couple years.

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The second biggest challenge is logistics. Brazil is big, hot and refrigerated shipping is prohibitively expensive. Kombucha is a new market down here, and keep costs low is key to expand fast, but since it’s an alive product shipping without refrigeration makes it very unstable and tends to easily explode the bottle, however, we solved the logistics equation by hiring companies able to deliver our product in 24 hours. It’s a bit more expensive than the traditional methods but worth every penny and the client is happy.

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

Google Calendar, Wunderlist, Excel, OmniGraffle, GSuite, Google Drive, Apple Mail, DaPulse; 

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A word to define what type of worker you are:

Resilient.

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What does your office space look like?

It’s messy, but I would change that if I could: piles of papers, books, infinite numbers of tabs opened on the browser, a never-sleep laptop, post-its with reminders glued everywhere.

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

Usually, I organize my days on Sundays and I add everything to my google calendar, this will give me the whole picture of the week. I also use an app called Wunderlist for small tasks.

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What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Don't be afraid to delegate tasks, you can multiply your potential by asking co-workers or people to help you. 

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What is the best advice you have been given?

“It doesn't matter what place you occupy in society, just give your best.” My grandfather would say. 

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

I wake up at 6 am. I often don’t eat in the mornings because it makes me more mentally productive, but if I’m really hungry I go for eggs and ultra dark roast coffee while looking at my Google Calendar to discover what to do next. I usually do big tasks on the morning. By the end of the day, if I have a tough day, I go out for a 5k running, after that, I take a long cold shower, I have a dinner and I plan my next day before I go sleep (usually at 11 pm). But, If I have a task that is mentally challenging I do it from 11 pm to 2 am where I reach my mental peak performance. 

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

I consider my espresso machine as my best friend.

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Upcoming products or projects?

We started like any other kombucha company: with a bottle and a brand, but we’ve been invited more and more by other companies such as tea blenders, coffee roasters, juice companies, healthy food restaurant and stores to outsourcing their kombucha production since it demands an amount of expertise that is not easy to find on the market. We see that as a win-win relationship because by outsourcing their production, We end up outsourcing our marketing and sales too.

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We’re also developing a kombucha with highly concentrated inorganic acids, that’s also alive and made with organic-certified ingredients for professional use to companies that have, e.g., a plant for juice extraction, a cold room storage, but don’t want to make an investment on fermenters and qualified personnel. So, all they need is to purchase the concentrate, dilute and mix with their juices, teas or whatever they want. Due to the high acidity, the yeast usually dies to make the product much more stable and still have all bacteria alive that will balance your microbiota. 

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We’re starting an association along with other kombucha companies in Brazil, It’s called Associação Brasileira de Kombucha. The main challenge of this association is now defined kombucha’s nature in order to get legally recognized by the Brazilian government since there’s no legislation to support kombucha here. Brazil has a huge potential market and is recognized means be able to get on big player’s shelves. This will expand kombucha values nationwide, legitimizing its image, bring investor, generate new jobs and make a healthier society. 

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