Rachelle Rahn, brewer and owner of Duluth Kombucha - Baron Mag

Rachelle Rahn, brewer and owner of Duluth Kombucha

Duluth | Minnesota
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Who are you and what is your background?

My name is Rachelle Rahn and I am located in Duluth, Minnesota. I have a background in business management and have spent most of my career life in the hospitality industry. 

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Your current job:

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Full-time kombucha brewer and Booch drinker. Dedicated dog mom of two. 

In which city: 

Duluth, Minnesota.  

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How did you discover kombucha? 

After having a stress-induced cold that lasted more than a few weeks, my partner suggested going to the co-op to get some kombucha. Immediately I was hooked. I love craft beer, specifically sour ales, and kombucha reminded me of that. 

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What prompted you to start your company? 

I started brewing at home and soon found myself with an excess. I asked around if anyone in my local community wanted kombucha and was overwhelmed with the positive response. Within 2 weeks I started delivering kombucha all around my city, before and after my serving shifts at a locally owned, health-food focused restaurant. 

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What makes your product unique?

My primary fermentation is done in re-purposed, whiskey oak barrels! After primary fermentation, I use locally sourced, in-season, fruits, vegetables, and herbs to create unique flavors that differ batch by batch. I almost never repeat a flavor unless specifically requested by a customer, making every batch a limited release. I also deliver 7 days a week to homes, business, even gyms throughout the Duluth, Hermantown, and Superior areas. 

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What do you want to convey through your brand image?

Simplicity and sustainability. Duluth Kombucha's mission is to provide our community with the attention and sustainability that we give our living kombucha cultures. 

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What are the main challenges in your company?

Currently, I'm a one-woman show. I am the sole-proprietor and employee of Duluth Kombucha. My company is young, about a year and half old, with myself having only left my full-time job to pursue Duluth Kombucha full-time within the last two months. So the main challenge right now is expanding in a sustainable and responsible way. Right now I brew all of the kombuchas, do all of the bottling and delivering, as well as the admin tasks myself. I hope to employ at least one part-time employee by the end of 2018. 

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

Social media! I started my company based completely off of Instagram and Facebook. For the last year, all of my orders have been placed on those two social media platforms. 

A word to define what type of worker you are:

Determined.

What does your office space look like?

Organized chaos. From an outsider, it probably just looks chaotic, but if you ask me where something is I can tell you very specifically, "that piece of paper with that project note on it is on the left side of the desk on the floor right next to the pen." 

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

I love planners and writing things down, I also use google calendar for everything. At the beginning of the week, I write down a hit list of what I need to get done. Then, I prioritize that list and start plugging tasks into my weekly calendar. I load up the beginning of the week with a ton of work and then only put one or two things on Friday and Saturdays, that way if things don't go as planned I have an extra cushion. I also like to write down a couple of tasks that I've already completed so that I can cross them off right away, I know it sounds ridiculous.

What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Lists! Making lists and having a planner/calendar. It is so easy to unknowingly waste time in today's society. "Let me check my Facebook quick" turns into an hour of scrolling. Writing out how you plan on spending your day gives you clear guidance on how you need to be spending your time. 

What is the best advice you have been given?

I've been fortunate enough to have had so many wonderful mentors at various stages in my life that have given me excellent advice and insight. If I had to pick just one thing though, it would be most recently. "Turn your 'have to's' into 'choose to's'". Meaning, anytime you catch yourself in a frenzy, stressed out and saying, "I have to do the laundry and I have to go to work and I have to do this long list of overwhelming tasks" turn the have's into chooses. I choose to do the laundry. I choose to go to work. I choose to do x, y, z. It's such a simple thing, but it forces you to really think about how your spending your time and toI r take responsibility for how you're spending your time. 

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

Early day routine depends on if my favorite yoga instructor is teaching a class. Typically it goes something like this: coffee, breakfast, cuddle dogs, feed and walk dogs, update social media, cuddle dogs some more, brew kombucha if it's a brew day. End of day routine usually consists of bottling kombucha and/or moving it into secondary fermentation with various flavorings, more dog cuddling, checking e-mails, curling practice, followed by more dog cuddling and insisting that my partner and I should watch a movie - of which I only watch the first 10 minutes and fall asleep immediately. 

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

I really don't use a lot of gadgets. I use my phone and computer for work and to be honest if I could find a way to not have them, I would! Not necessarily a gadget, but I love podcasts. 

upcoming products or projects?

So many! I have a couple more holiday shows/pop-ups to wrap up. I'll be moving my kombucha into kegs in the near future. A few other smaller projects that will be a part of Duluth Kombucha's Sustainability Project (re-usable items for your kitchen and everyday life). 

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