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Timothy Johnson, owner of Curly Wolf Kombucha

Timothy Johnson, owner of Curly Wolf Kombucha

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you and what is your background? 

My name is Timothy Johnson and I am the owner of Curly Wolf Kombucha. I have been working in and around food for most of my adult life—whether in professional kitchens, juice bars, or health food stores except for the year after college where I worked at a digital marketing firm.

Your current job:

Curly Wolf Kombucha dishwasher

In which city: 

Tucson, AZ

How did you discover kombucha? 

I discovered kombucha about 7 years ago when I started working at a food co-op in college. I had been pretty into nutrition prior to that, but more so from a sports nutrition perspective. So when I started working at the co-op, my perspective on nutrition grew significantly. And what intrigued me the most was fermentation.

What prompted you to start your company? 

So I started brewing shortly after I started working at the co-op and as I got better at it I started to think about going commercial with it. I had some major life changes in 2014 that basically reorganized my life and starting a business was part of it.

What makes your product unique?

I aim to capture the unique flavors of the Sonoran desert. This part of the world I live in, I believe, it’s unique and has a lot to offer in terms of the variety of native foods. These foods, such as prickly pear and chiltepin, are right in my backyard. It would be remiss me to not utilize what is readily available to me. I currently have 3 flavors that fully represent the Sonoran Desert with a couple more in the works. I also ferment my kombucha in toasted oak whiskey barrels which adds complexity and depth to the flavor that I haven’t seen in any other material.

What do you want to convey through your brand image? 

Since the beginning, I’ve wanted Curly Wolf Kombucha to be perceived as the “un-kombucha” or maybe even “anti-kombucha” of the kombucha world—in terms of branding.

What are the main challenges in your company? 

Making enough.

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

A pH meter, among many other things.

A word to define what type of worker you are: 

Sometimes when I get into a groove I feel as though I am the human equivalent of an industrial machine. So I guess I’m a “daydreamer.”

What does your office space look like? 

A lot like Exo Roast Co in Tucson, AZ.

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

This is something that’s always on my mind. I’m always trying to be on the move but never in a way that is just for the sake of doing something—I need downtime too! I try to only wear 1 to 3 hats per day, and they have to have similar functions. For example, if it’s production day (usually 3 days/week) then I am wearing every hat relative to working in the kitchen. Throughout those 3 days, I’ll be the dishwasher, the brewer, the labeler, warehouseman, and so on. On a delivery day, I am the delivery guy but also a salesman/account manager. On a more office-kind-of-day, I am the Accounting & Finance dude, the Marketing dude, office manager, etc.

What tips would you give to improve productivity? 

A healthy diet, exercise, quality rest, knowing when to call it a day, knowing when to start your day, and reward incentives (i.e. bonuses—doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary-based) for the long-haul. In the day-to-day, the thing that keeps working for me is tunnel vision. I’m learning that focusing on only a couple of tasks at a time can be the most efficient, in terms of productivity. However, there are times when your time is best-used multitasking. This isn’t a hard rule, just a rule of thumb. Only you can really know what works for you.

What is the best advice you have been given? 

Never give up.

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

Early day routine includes laying in bed with my sweetie for 20-30 minutes after the alarm goes off, drinking a pint or more of water with a multivitamin, having a hot shower, having a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar and a grabbing a Curly Wolf Kombucha from the fridge for the road. End of day routine consists of brushing my teeth and laying in bed with my sweetie, reading a book or catching up on what’s going on in Washington via a late-night comedy TV show such the The Daily Show or Late Night with Seth Meyers, maybe watching a video on some spoilers for the upcoming Star Wars film and suddenly falling asleep.

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

Oh, I recently put a Bluetooth home-speaker system in the kitchen and it has made such a difference.

Upcoming products or projects? 

As much as I am thinking about what I can utilize here in this region of the world, I am also thinking about what the elements can do for flavor concepts. | |