Natalie Lynn distributes health-friendly craft kombucha throughout NEPA
For Natalie Lynn, her health, passion and business have become as symbiotic as the fermenting agent in her signature product, and it happened organically.
Lynn, 29, of Elysburg, has developed her own kombucha business, Natalie’s Craft Kombucha, and she distributes the probiotic tea drink through multiple stores in Scranton and the Wyoming Valley.
Kombucha is a fermented beverage that starts with caffeinated black or green tea and sugar, which are ingested by a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or a scoby, yielding probiotics that can aid in digestion, immune support and other health areas.
Lynn said she first tried kombucha 10 years ago, knowing little about it other than its potential health benefits, and began brewing it a little over three years ago.
“It’s hard to explain what happened when I started brewing,” Lynn said. “I was so much more into it than I thought I would be. I just wanted to be watching it, because there are all these things happening you can’t see.”
Lynn said friends and family were skeptical at first but began drinking her kombucha at her urging and liked it.
She started meeting customers in a parking lot in Bloomsburg on a weekly basis, and her orders were growing in size.
“I’ve heard commonly from entrepreneurs and small businesses that you start doing something and you really like it,” Lynn said. “And there’s this flow that happens that you’re loving it and other people are loving it as much, and it snowballs.”
Lynn said she realized she might have to expand her production while carrying cases of kombucha down from her mother’s third floor apartment.
“I got myself a space to do it without so many steps and where (my businesses) could be grown efficiently,” she said.
Lynn’s sister, Tara Siegel, who works at the Innovation Center in downtown Wilkes-Barre, suggested she start having meet-ups in the Wyoming Valley to expand her customer base. She also began walking into businesses with her product.
“The first official (distributor) was Hillside Farms,” Lynn said. “They were very supportive and kind. They had a lot of questions and wanted to know about my sourcing.”
Lynn now distributes 18 distinct flavors ranging from herbal to floral to sweet, and she said supporting other local businesses around Elysburg has become another focus.
“When I can, I source locally,” Lynn said. “There are things I can’t get like pineapples, but I use a lot of local blueberries and blackberries and things like concord grapes, which I’ll preserve and use all year.”
Lynn now distributes through six local stores including City Market and Cafe in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre and House of Nutrition in Luzerne.
“This is a great area, and there is a lot going on here,” Lynn said. “It’s been really cool to see that in an intimate way. There’s a lot of healthy options, small businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s been awesome to be a little part of it.”
Lynn said her customers have experienced improvements in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, colitis and acid reflux disease. She also said kombucha is known to help those suffering from arthritis and skin conditions.
“What I love about being a small business is I get to hear these things,” Lynn said. “Science has been catching up to the trend of kombucha as it’s been happening. I was hoping there would be something to validate what I’ve been saying. A lot stems from gut health.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.