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Jenice Smith and Jeff Smith, owners of Steep Peak Kombucha Tea

Jenice Smith and Jeff Smith, owners of Steep Peak Kombucha Tea

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you and what is your background?

We are mountain lovers, biologists, and parents.

Your current job:

Kombucha – 24/7. We work on all aspects of the business and balance that with outdoor adventuring and raising a family.

Jenice Smith – brewmaster and wildcrafter

Jeff Smith – mechanic and logistics

In which city:

Crowsnest Pass, Alberta

We are based in the Rocky Mountains on the border of Alberta and British Columbia. We are surrounded by forests and mountains to explore.

How did you discover kombucha?

A friend had us hooked on home brewing and we were enjoying seasonal fruit and local forest finds to create our own product.

What prompted you to start your company?

After a family holiday to Portland and seeing kombucha on tap everywhere, we were inspired to bring kombucha to our community. 

What makes your product unique?

With backgrounds in biology and our love for the outdoors, we connect people to our landscape through wildcrafting and local seasonal ingredients. Wildcrafting is using the plants we have around us to create unique kombucha flavors straight from the forest to the keg. Some of our unique flavors are Elderberry Juniper, Spruce Tips, Oregon Grape Cardamom, and Saskatoon. 

Using local, sustainable ingredients in our kombucha is an educational process of connecting our community to the landscape.

Community support is integral to our product. People frequently call us with extra fruit from their trees or herbs in their gardens, which we gratefully accept to incorporate into our kombucha.

Key focuses of our business are to ensure the highest quality product made and to build strong relationships with our customers and retailers.

What do you want to convey through your brand image?

To share our love for the outdoors with others and inspire others to explore.

What are the main challenges in your company?

Sustainable growth. We have been blown away by the support we have received and need to continually balance our growth and sustainability. 

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

Keg washer, social media

A word to define what type of worker you are:

Jeff: Strategic

Jenice: Creative

What does your office space look like?

Our office is half outdoor gear room and half office.

Our brewery is bursting at the seams and has mountain views out the windows.

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

Scheduling is an important component to maintain our supply commitments, while still trying to fit in outdoor adventures. 

What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Have a good work life balance. More work doesn’t equal higher productivity. Adventures outside inspire our work inside.

What is the best advice you have been given?

Understand the risks, but don’t be afraid to take some risks.

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

Coffee with fresh beans from Crowsnest Coffee to start the day. End of day is quiet time to unwind and reflect. 

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

Amazing field guides. We have multiple field guides that we take out into the forest with us to learn about the plants we have around us. Also, bear spray – always bear spray!

 upcoming products or projects?

Between planning upcoming paddling expeditions and peaks to climb, we are also planning our brewery expansion. | | |