Building a Water Kefir Business in the BC Mountains with Squamish Water Kefir

October 19, 2018

Water Kefir is a dairy-free, fermented drink that has been around for centuries. It’s rich in probiotics, enzymes, and nutrients that aid in digestion, promote a healthy gut and contribute to immunity and overall wellness. It’s a healthy alternative to soda and can easily be used in smoothies and mocktails. Squamish Water Kefir began as a kitchen experiment to heal gut health and has grown into a successful Canadian business led by two hard-working moms from B.C. – Sabrina and Kristin.

On a recent trip out west, we personally discovered the fizzy, gut-loving tastiness of Squamish Water Kefir and had to connect with these ladies to find out more about them! In this interview we learn from Sabrina about what water kefir is and its health benefits, her top 3 tips for making it at home and how these moms balance the demands of entrepreneurship and motherhood.

WEHL: Please tell us a little about yourselves and what inspired you to start a water kefir business.

S: Squamish Water Kefir Co. was born in 2015 and continues to be brewed by a couple of nutrition-nerds, Sabrina and Kristin, who live in the beautiful mountains of Squamish, BC.  It began as an experiment to heal my (Sabrina) gut after a round of antibiotics after my first child was born.  Pleasantly surprised by how delicious it was AND how effective it was I started playing with flavours and soon started getting requests from friends and neighbours.

Squamish Water Kefir
Source: squamishwaterkefir.com

WEHL: What is water kefir and what are the health benefits of it?

S: Water kefir is a centuries old fermented drink that is packed full of the probiotics and beneficial digestive enzymes, pre-digested nutrients, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals our bodies love.

WEHL: How is water kefir made?

S: It is a two-step process that begins with a 48 hour fermentation period using the water kefir culture.  The second step is another 48 hours without culture and is when flavouring is added.

WEHL: What are the similarities and the differences between water kefir and milk kefir?

S: They are cousins!  They come from the same family of cultures but the milk kefir culture feeds off of lactose and the water kefir culture feeds off of cane sugar.

WEHL: What are the similarities and the differences between water kefir and kombucha?

S: A different culture all together but both produce a delicious probiotic rich, soda-like beverage.  Kombucha is a fermented tea however and water kefir is caffeine free.

WEHL: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to try making water kefir at home?

S: My top 3 tips usually are: 

  1. De-chlorinate the water either by boiling/cooling or aerating for 24 hours.  
  2. Use a quality, raw cane sugar.  
  3. Keep it in a nice warm room when fermenting.

For details on how to brew your own water kefir using Squamish Water Kefir crystals click here.

Squamish Water Kefir
Source: squamishwaterkefir.com

WEHL: Where can we find your water kefir?

S: All over BC and Alberta!  Whole Foods, Choices, Nutters, Pomme, IGA and more.

WEHL: What’s been one of your biggest challenges in growing your business?

S: Anticipating market demands, funding and production needs.

WEHL: How do you balance being a mom with being a business owner?

S: That’s a tough one!  Ultimately our kids come first.  We squeeze a lot into the 6 hours of a school day and a lot of emails take place at 5am before children are awake.  Whatever doesn’t get done in this time has to wait, plain and simple.  The more we can, the more we try to delegate.

WEHL: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to start a wellness-related business?

S: We found local farmer’s markets were an amazing way to test the market relatively cheaply.  People who attend farmer’s market tend to be wellness and health conscious and are great supporters of small businesses.  We were approached by a lot of retailers at markets which gave us the confidence to take the leap into the retail world.

Connect with Squamish Water Kefir:

Have you tried a bottle of Squamish Water Kefir? Have you ever tried making water kefir at home? Let us know below!

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