Curious about the backstory behind our buzz-worthy jun kombucha? Well look no further as we interview Wild Tonic Founder Holly Lyman!

The wild, wonderful world of Wild Tonic all started with an encaustic artist named Holly Lyman. In exploring other creative outlets, she found fermenting … and in perfecting the art of making jun kombucha, Wild Tonic was born. 

Wanna learn more? In this interview with founder Holly Lyman, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes peek at the inner workings of our company — from her personal inspirations to the company’s mission and values and more! 

Wow, you went from encaustic artist (which involves the use of beeswax) to jun kombucha maker! There’s a bee connection … but it’s still quite a shift! Can you tell us more about how that happened? How did you get interested in jun? 

Holly Lyman: I began studying all of the writings of Sandor Katz (note: Katz is an American food writer/educator who is known for his focus on food fermentation), who inspired me to begin fermenting.

I later met with him in his Tennessee home and fermenting foundation and asked him what he thought of the Wild Tonic jun recipe that I had made.

He told me: “Holly, there are no rules in fermenting” and I absolutely fell in love with the idea that it was a creative journey, much like art. I simply stumbled across the jun culture when making all different types of ferments from water kefir to ginger beer and found that the jun made the most satisfying ferment of them all! 

In retrospect, how does it feel to have created a brand that started out small and has become such a nationwide hit?  

Holly Lyman: It is truly humbling to see what my team has accomplished in the last five years. I am simply the research and development person and they get to take credit for building the brand! 

People have posted some really cool and creative ideas for how to use Wild Tonic bottles. What’s your favorite way to “upcycle”? 

Holly Lyman: I LOVE the company in Phoenix called Refresh Glass that takes the bottles and cuts off the top and makes cobalt blue tumblers. They are amazing to drink from … you can order them on their website

What are one or two things people might not know about Wild Tonic? 

Holly Lyman: We grow a lot of our own organic herbs and have begun to cultivate ginger plants as well for our Mango Ginger (available in traditional non-alcoholic and 5.6% ABV hard jun kombucha.)

We also grow the organic grapes that go into Dancing Naked (part of our 7.6% ABV hard jun kombucha line) in our Arizona-based orchards. We also support a community of women in Bangladesh through the tea that we source. 

Note: Learn more about what makes Wild Tonic different in this post

What would you say are some of Wild Tonic’s most important values? 

Holly Lyman: Integrity. Honesty. And creating an environment where everyone supports one another. 

Wild Tonic does some great things for the environment. Why is that such a core company goal?

Holly Lyman: When a national brand embraces sourcing products that treat the earth in a respectful way by supporting organic growers it sets an example for future generations to follow. The earth needs more people who realize the importance of that.

What’s a typical day at Wild Tonic like?

Holly Lyman: The typical day at Wild Tonic is everyone working together and having fun. We laugh a lot and work hard. My research and development happens from my home kitchen because I work best in solitude where I can let my intuition reign.

Gotta ask… What’s your personal favorite flavor?  

Holly Lyman: Blackberry Mint (available in traditional non-alcoholic and 5.6% ABV hard jun kombucha.)

Did this interview work up a thirst? Lucky you: our jun kombucha is now available for nationwide delivery. Check out our online store here, explore our retail delivery partners here, or find a retailer near you

What did you love learning about Wild Tonic in this interview? Leave a comment … We love hearing from you!