Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kyle Manning, Co-Founder of Zenned Out Kombucha, located in Grand Rapids, MI, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Zenned Out Kombucha is a microbrewery in West Michigan that uses a traditional, small-batch brewing method to produce premium kombucha for those who are looking for healthy, functional beverages. Many of our customers are looking to move away from high-sugar content sodas or alcohol for a variety of reasons. From dietary restrictions to personal preference, there's one thing they all agree on, Zenned Out Kombucha's recipe is uniquely balanced with a delightful blend of sweet and tart notes.

Tell us about yourself

Me and Matt Hoff founded Zenned Out Kombucha. We began drinking kombucha as a recovery drink after going to the gym and found it had a noticeable impact on our energy levels afterward. As our appreciation for kombucha grew, so did our desire to brew it.

Sometime in 2018, we began brewing our first homebrew batches. As many first-time brews realize, kombucha has a complex and intricate brewing process. A batch of kombucha can be influenced by more than just the quality and quantity of ingredients; things such as airflow, temperature, the brewing vessel, and much more can alter the results of the final product. Perfecting that balance became our primary focus, and the great tasting, impactful kombucha was a great reward for keeping us motivated as we learned the ropes of brewing.

After two years, the recipe was refined, and we began working on becoming officially licensed to be able to spread the benefits and impact of kombucha across West Michigan, a goal that still drives us both to this day.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

So far, becoming a licensed retail and wholesale producer during COVID is the biggest accomplishment for both of us. The health department had its hands full with a number of COVID-related issues that delayed our launch, but with a lot of grit and determination, we were able to get our product to market at the beginning of 2022.

Another notable accomplishment recently was facilitating the delivery of Zenned Out Kombucha across seven counties in West Michigan.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Consistency and self-discipline are two of the biggest challenges of being a business owner. As cheesy as it may sound, you get out what you put in. There is no one who will critique the amount of work you put in, so you have to hold yourself accountable to achieve what you set out to do.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Create a business plan that outlines how you will scale up and get yourself out of the day-to-day operations of the business. There is quite a big difference between being self-employed and owning a business.
  2. Break down your goals into quantifiable and measurable milestones so you can check your progress and identify where your weaknesses are.
  3. Identify the gap in the market that you aim to fill. This will allow you to develop a competitive edge against your competition.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Check out our website or visit us at the Muskegon Farmers Market if you are in West Michigan to sample our kombucha.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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