Conference Speakers

Past conference Speakers:

Alex Ingalls

Alex Ingalls, Pilot Kombucha

Self Care for Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion

Alex has spent over 13 years working in the food industry, has a Master’s in Humanities & Social Thought, & started Pilot Kombucha in 2015 after using her home-brews to get her through brutal hangovers while working brunch shifts. She knows that entrepreneurship is full of high highs and low lows and the struggle to find the balance is REAL.

Alex LaGory

Alex LaGory, Kombucha Kamp

Chairman of the Board, Members Meeting

Alex LaGory is the co-author, with Hannah Crum, of The Big Book of Kombucha. LaGory is a writer and producer who, with Crum, mentors kombucha homebrewers and serves as a commercial brewing consultant. Together they created Kombucha Kamp as a one-stop destination for the highest quality brewing supplies, information, and support. They are co-founders of Kombucha Brewers International in Los Angeles, where they reside.

Alexis De León

Alexis De León, Lazy Beach Brewing

Hard Kombucha Roundtable

Alexis De León's first experience with kombucha was from a closet in Alaska. After finding her way back to Corpus Christi she accepted a part time job at Lazy Beach Brewing where her background in chemistry quickly helped her become the Kombucha Queen. Now almost three years later she is the first and only hard kombucha brewer in Texas commercially. While Lazy Beach Brewing can claim the home of the Original Hard Kombucha of Texas.

Amelia Winslow

Amelia Winslow, Health-Ade Kombucha

Members Meeting

Amelia Winslow joined Health-Ade Kombucha in 2016 to pursue her passion for real food and her desire to make a positive impact on our food system. As Brand Director, Winslow develops programs and messaging to drive the company’s mission forward, leads innovation, and oversees Health-Ade’s sustainability and social impact initiatives. Before joining Health-Ade, Winslow founded the popular blog Eating Made Easy, which answers food questions, debunks nutrition myths and provides practical tips to make healthy eating easier. Winslow is a former personal chef and trained nutritionist with Master’s Degrees in Nutrition and Public Health from Tufts University. She lives in Hermosa Beach, where you can find her packing colorful lunches for her two kids, inventing new ways to upcycle Health-Ade bottles, and tending her plot in Hermosa’s community garden.

Barbara Wild

Barbara Wild, BWild Kombucha

Secretary, Members Meeting

Barbara Wildhaber is the founder of BWild Beverages (BWild Kombucha) located in Molalla, Oregon. She brings over 20 years of experience working in sales and management and an MBA from the University of Portland (go Pilots!) that has been a great foundation for her own business ventures over the years. Barbara uses teas, fruits, herbs and spices to create kombucha flavors that are based on her favorite foods to create an authentic Kombucha that is well balanced between the sweet and tart notes. You can often find Barbara at stores and at farmer’s markets doing her own sampling as she enjoys interacting with her customers and introducing new people to kombucha. When she is not working, Barbara enjoys spending time with her kids and husband especially taking family breaks to camp and enjoy homemade smores next to the campfire.

Bart Watson

Bart Watson, Brewers Association

The Trajectory of Craft Brewing: Lessons for Kombucha

Bart Watson, Chief Economist for the Brewers Association, is a stats geek, beer lover, and Certified Cicerone®. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where in addition to his dissertation, he completed a comprehensive survey of Bay Area brewpubs one pint at a time.

Chris Ollis

Chris Ollis, Spring Branch Kombucha

Treasurer*, Members Meeting

Chris Ollis is the co-founder of Spring Branch Kombucha, a family-run brewery located in Springfield, MO. He and his wife, Jessica, launched SBK as a draft-only operation in 2017. Today they distribute product throughout the Ozarks region of Missouri and Arkansas. Spring Branch is committed to offering low friction, healthy choices to consumers by producing a boldly flavored craft kombucha. Chris’ background is in finance with over 20 years of experience in the wealth management and banking industries.

Corey Wood

Corey Wood, ELIXIR Kombucha

Members Meeting

Corey Wood, a Louisville, Kentucky resident, co-founded Elixir Kombucha in 2016 with his wife, Danielle and childhood friend, Ryan Cheong. A nurse by trade, Corey developed a strong passion for brewing kombucha after seeing how the probiotic tea made a positive impact on the lives of his friends and family members. As head of operations at Elixir, Corey has helped the award-winning brand scale from 9 gallons to over 1000 gallons and counting. Now, as a member of board of directors of the Kombucha Brewers International, Corey is working alongside industry leaders to strengthen the culture surrounding kombucha production to provide healthy and tasty options for consumers.

Daina Trout

Daina Trout, Health-Ade

Self-Care for Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion

Daina Trout co-founded Health-Ade Kombucha in 2012 alongside her husband, Justin Trout, and best friend, Vanessa Dew. Since the beginning, the trio has been committed to brewing the best tasting and highest quality kombucha on the market. Trout first learned how to brew kombucha during her tenure at Tufts University, where she earned Masters’ degrees both in Nutrition and Public Health after receiving her BS from Georgetown University. During that time, she also developed her personal philosophy that health is less about science, and more about what makes you feel good and happy. After graduation, Trout moved to Los Angeles to accept a position working in pharmaceuticals but continued to cultivate an interest in holistic and “real” food that fuels a hard-working lifestyle. Trout funneled this energy into an entrepreneurship club she formed with Justin and Vanessa to explore ways they could combine their diverse backgrounds into a successful business venture; the result, Health-Ade Kombucha. Trusting what soon became the company’s motto to “follow your gut,” Trout and her cofounders quit their jobs to focus on Health-Ade full time, brewing kombucha in her apartment closet and selling bottles at a local LA farmers market. Over the course of the last seven years, Trout has nurtured what started as a small production and niche product into what has become a national brand that is sold at 30,000 grocery stores and health food markets nationwide, including major retailers like Target, Whole Foods and Costco. Today, Health-Ade is currently the fastest growing brand in its category for three years in a row and is projected to significantly expand its business nationwide each year under her leadership as CEO. Health-Ade has 300 employees. In 2017, Food & Wine named Trout one of the most innovative women in food & drink and in early 2018 Create & Cultivate featured her in its C&C 100 list, celebrating 100 women who are masters of their field. In 2019, Daina was included on Inc’s Female Founder 100 list and was also named BevNet’s Person Of The Year She was also named as a semifinalist in EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year program and is a member of the Young Presidents Organization, a premier community of chief executives from around the world. When Trout is not tirelessly working to bring kombucha to every fridge in America, she is spending time with her husband and two sons, traveling, adventuring, cooking and enjoying outdoor life.

Dave Ransom, McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Dave Ransom, McDermott Will & Emery LLP,

Members Meeting – KOMBUCHA Act Update

For more than a decade, David Ransom has focused his practice on regulatory and government affairs, representing clients before the US Congress and federal regulatory agencies on a wide range of matters, including tax, energy, health care and environmental issues. He also has extensive experience representing clients in high-profile Congressional investigations. David previously served as a senior advisor to U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), where he advised Leader Hoyer for nearly 10 years on communications, policy, political and legislative strategy. During his years on Capitol Hill, David acquired an extensive knowledge of Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and counseled Congressman Hoyer during three leadership races. Prior to working for Majority Leader Hoyer, David worked in the public affairs department of a very politically active legal trade association, where he assisted in the development and execution of its communications and lobbying strategies.

David Aycock

David Aycock, Bare Bucha

Symbiosis Fermenter Update & Crisis Management while Scaling Up

David Aycock is the co-founder of Bare Bucha, based in Waco, Texas, and has been brewing and innovating in kombucha with business partner Toby Tull since early 2016. He comes from a professional background in academic publishing, marketing, and sales, and he recently graduated at the top of his class with an Executive MBA from Baylor University.

Deanne Gustafson

Deanne Gustafson, Kombucha On Tap

How Not to Look and Sound Like an Idiot on Live Tv

Deanne Gustafson is an award-winning journalist with a background in digital and TV news reporting. Deanne is a media spokesperson who frequently appears on the local news. Deanne is a sought-after on-camera host for numerous videos. She specializes in lifestyle reporting and inspiring stories. She is also the co-founder of Kombucha On Tap along with her husband Jared Gustafson. Kombucha On Tap is based in San Diego and is a niche distribution company that help brands of kombucha, cold brew coffee and other healthy beverages get their kegs to retail, offices, and homes throughout Southern California Deanne’s proudest accomplishment is being a mom! She has a two-year-old daughter and eight-month-old baby girl (and she’s the mom to an American Eskimo rescue dog).

Ed Rothbauer

Ed Rothbauer, High Country

Members Meeting

Ed brewed the tea in the early 90′s after learning of its healing properties and in an effort to help his recovery from paralysis after an accidental fall from a roof. The two friends proceeded to brew unique Kombucha blends that soon gained popularity with friends, family, local community members and now drinkers across the country. High Country Kombucha is brewed high in the Colorado Rocky Mountains with only pure spring water. All ingredients are sourced in their organic form and concentrated flavoring is never used.

Hannah Crum, Kombucha Brewers International

Hannah Crum, Kombucha Brewers International,

President*, Members Meeting

Hannah Crum, aka “The Kombucha Mamma,” is a longtime educator and Kombucha advocate. Her popular educational site,, is the most visited website in the world for Kombucha information, recipes and advice. In 2014, to further her mission of “changing the world, one gut at a time,” she co-founded KBI with her partner, Alex, who serves as Chairman of the Board and Hannah is President. Together, they have directly mentored and consulted Kombucha brewers from start-up to scale-ups since 2007 and co-wrote the authoritative “The Big Book of Kombucha” (Storey, 2016). Taking KBI’s mission to promote and protect the Kombucha industry worldwide to heart, Hannah has been a featured speaker at conferences, festivals and on television as the leading expert in Kombucha.

Heather Walker

Heather Walker, Fair Trade USA

Ethical and Sustainable Sourcing Spotlight: Tea & Sugar

Heather Walker is a Brand Partnerships Specialist at Fair Trade USA, focusing on beverages, particularly tea. Heather’s interest in Fair Trade began as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, where she lived and worked with a cotton and peanut farming community, and continued with her research into Indonesian Fair Trade coffee as part of her Master’s degree. Prior to joining Fair Trade USA, Heather served with the Non-GMO Project, supporting business development and certification. Heather holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science from the University of Washington, and a Masters in Development Studies from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.

Ian Griffin

Ian Griffin, ‘Booch News

Ian Griffin is the editor and publisher of ‘Booch News. He has been brewing his own ‘booch at home for eight years. Ian had a career in high tech companies as a speechwriter and marketing manager. Originally from England, he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Sandra.

Jaime Carral

Jaime Carral, La Semilla Colectivo

Members Meeting – KBI Latin America Committee

Jaime is fascinated with ferments and superfoods as regenerative alternatives for health, economy, reconnection with Nature and food security. He is passionate about Ancestral Microbiomic Symbiosis, relishing and sharing the knowledge and gifts of human and non-human Ancestors. Jaime has been brewing Kombucha since the year 2000 and in 2012, founded “La Semilla Colectivo” a project focused on producing Organic Kombucha and offering courses in Live Nutrition – Ancestral Symbiosis, Regenerative Agriculture, Natural House Care, Homesteading, Eco-Psychology and Narrative Psychology. He lives in Valle de Bravo, Mexico with his wife and daughter.

Jeff Gassen

Jeff Gassen, Texas Christian University

Drink Kombucha & Keep Calm – How Kombucha Impacts Stress in the Human Body

Jeff Gassen is a doctoral candidate at Texas Christian University. His research focuses on interactions between the environment, psychology, and the immune system.

Keisha Harrison

Keisha Harrison, Oregon State University

Kombucha Microbiology: A Guide to Reverse Engineering a SCOBY

Keisha-Rose Harrison, MS is a PhD candidate of Fermentation Science in the Food Science & Technology Department at Oregon State University (OSU). She received a BA in Cell Biology & Biochemistry from Rice University and a Master of Science in Nutrition from the University of Houston.

Keisha’s love of microbiology and home brewing led her to her current field of study at OSU. She joined Dr. Chris Curtin’s lab to combine her love of Kombucha and Molecular Biology. She aims to develop a categorical system for Kombucha by first assessing the level of microbial diversity that varies from SCOBY to SCOBY. Currently, Keisha is collecting samples from across North America to identify the bacteria and yeast that live within our commercial breweries. She believes to get at the heart of Kombucha, we have to get better acquainted with it first!

Krister Häll, The Good Guys

Krister Häll, The Good Guys,

Members Meeting – KBI Europe Committee

Krister Häll, co-founder & CEO of The Good Guys Kombucha, has worked in bank risk management and financial consulting industry before changing to fast-paced life of kombucha fermentation. Krister is highly passionate about tea and the health benefits it holds, both mentally and physically, for our modern world. He is also an avid fan of the natural world and ice swimming.

Kyle Oliver

Kyle Oliver, Boochcraft

Get Hard with Boochcraft

Before starting at Boochcraft, Kyle was involved in different areas of research as a biochemist; including synthetic organic chemistry and glycobiology. While obtaining a Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Maryland, Kyle also worked at a winery where he increased his appreciation and understanding of wine, its production and further refined his palate. A year after graduating from graduate school, Kyle decided to pack up and move west; where he was lucky enough to connect with Boochcraft. Since then, he has worked at Boochcraft as a scientist in the quality department using his understanding of chemistry and microbiology. More recently Kyle has moved into the Research & Development department at Boochcraft where he is able to leverage his passion for flavors, cooking and baking in flavor development and process improvement at Boochcraft.

Lindsay Barr

Lindsay Barr, DraughtLab /Going for Gold: How Competitions Can Elevate Kombucha

Lindsay is the CSO and Founding Partner of DraughtLab Sensory Software where she works with food and beverage companies to apply tasting data to inform Product Development and Quality Control. Lindsay got her start at New Belgium Brewing Company managing Sensory and Consumer Research program. She is a professional beer judge and table captain at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup competitions and co-manager of the Craft Malt Competition. She holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of New Mexico, and a Masters degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of California, Davis. With DraughtLab, she's published numerous industry-standard lexicons, including the new Kombucha Flavor Map, and has set her sights on continuing to develop tools to help businesses use their senses to inform everyday production decisions. Lindsay Barr Sensory R&D and QC Software DraughtLab LLC

Lori Bolin

Lori Bolin, BrewLogix

SYMBIOSIS Magazine & BreweryDB - Meaningful Collaboration to Deepen Relationship

Lori Bolin is President & Chief Strategy Officer for BrewLogix®, an exciting "Internet of Things" company leveraging technology and analytics to drive growth for those who brew, self-distribute, or serve kegged beverages. Lori is also currently overseeing the transformation of BreweryDB® (the largest and most complete curated database of breweries in the world) into a free marketing platform for craft brewers. In addition to her passionate work in the brewing industry, Ms. Bolin is the owner of a private consulting firm that focuses on creating competitive advantage for small-to-mid-market businesses through strategic innovation. Lori began her educational pursuit earning a four-year scholarship as a piano performance major before graduating Indiana University with a degree in business and telecommunications. She is a Certified Beer Server in the Cicerone® Program and her favorite Kombucha flavor (right now) is Basil!

Matt Silbert

Matt Silbert, Local Roots Kombucha

Hard Kombucha Roundtable

I hold a B.S. degree from UCSB. I moved to San Diego for a career in marine biology. The craft beer scene inspired me to home brewing. Volunteer keg washing slowly evolved into a full time quality control management position in beer. At a lab training seminar I met the CEO of Local Roots Kombucha and soon began a part time position. I now work full time in kombucha quality assurance, ingredient procurement and compliance. Mine is a classic tale of fish to beer to kombucha.

Matt Thomas

Matt Thomas, Brew Dr

Self-Care for Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion

In 2003, Matt Thomas started his first Portland Teahouse based on a business plan he wrote a year earlier at the University of Oregon. Starting with a small investment from friends and family, combined with personal credit card debt, Matt slowly made that first teahouse a success. By 2008 he had a 2nd shop going, and it was at that time that his customers started asking about kombucha and Brew Dr. was born. Starting from the teahouse basement, Brew Dr. grew over the years into a 4,000 sq ft brewery (2010), then 10,000 sq ft (2012), and on to its current home of 50,000 sq ft (since 2016). Brew Dr. committed from early on to making authentic kombucha that utilizes spinning cone column distillation to reduce alcohol content. This process allows Brew Dr. Kombucha to maintain its raw, live and active nature, while responsibly selling a non-alcoholic product. Matt is proud of Brew Dr.’s stance to be completely transparent regarding its production process. In 2018 Brew Dr. achieved B Corp certification. As one of the only B Corps in the kombucha industry, Brew Dr. is an example of a scaled kombucha business that operates with care for its employees, its community, and the planet. Brew Dr. Kombucha is sold in all 50 states and across Canada, with a team of over 200 employees. The company also operates 5 Brew Dr. Teahouses, all in Oregon. Matt remains the majority owner of his business, dedicated to fulfilling the potential of tea and kombucha.

Matt Witherell

Matt Witherell, Humm Kombucha

Self-Care for Entrepreneurs Panel Discussion

Throughout his 20+ year career at Humm Kombucha, Red Bull, MillerCoors, JPMorgan Chase, Barclay’s Capital and Deloitte Consulting, Matt has accelerated business and people growth by transforming businesses and building new capabilities . Matt is currently President of Humm Kombucha where he leads strategy, sales, marketing, operations, finance and HR. Prior to Humm, Matt led US sales and new business for Red Bull. Before Red Bull, Matt spent 13 years at MillerCoors in general management, sales, and strategy. After leading the Walmart team to record growth, he turned the Central Region into the best performing area while leading the $1.5B business and working closely with distributors and retailers. Matt started his career in strategy and finance, earned a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Stanford University.

Perteet Spencer, SPINS Inc.

Perteet Spencer, SPINS Inc.,

Kombucha Market Trends Analysis including Hard Kombucha

Perteet is the Vice President of Strategic Solutions at SPINS, a wellness focused insights firm.  In her role, Perteet partners with a broad range of clients to leverage SPINS’ unique market insights to uncover new growth opportunities for brands.  Prior to joining SPINS, Perteet held sales and brand leadership roles at LEGO and General Mills.  Outside of the office, Perteet shares her passion for food equity through her involvement in the Food Recovery Network, a non-profit focused on food recovery across over 300 college campuses.

Raquel Abegg Leyva

Raquel Abegg Leyva, Tao Kombucha

Members Meeting – Brazil Update

CEO & Co-Founder of Tao Kombucha, being the first registered Kombucha Brewery in Brazil. Being actively involved in working with local governments to publish a standard legislation for Kombucha. MBA in Corporate Finance & BA Business Management by University of Westminster. Before founding TAO, she worked for 9 years in DS Laboratories, a cosmetic USA based start-up, working in several departments from operational to finance. A health enthusiast and passionate about healthy eating.

Thad Fisco

Thad Fisco, Portland Kettle Works

Kombucha Space Planning, from Acquisition to a Functioning Brewery

Thad Fisco made his mission to “Bring the World More Beer” ( and now Booch) in 2011 when he founded Portland Kettle Works, and Labrewatory, experimental brewery and tap room in Portland, Oregon. The PKW and Labrewatory team’s passion for craft beer, booch, cold brew coffee and devotion to entrepreneurs has helped them deliver over 250 brewing systems to startups on 5 continents with an over 97% client business success rate. Thad’s experience is in manufacturing, brewery operations, real estate development, finance, and commercial construction.

Thomas Weaver

Thomas Weaver, Dr Hops Kombucha Beer

Hard Kombucha Roundtable

Tommy grew up in the California Bay Area with a love for music, theatre, skateboarding, carpentry and microbiology. After honing his skills in mycology while studying at UC Santa Cruz, he turned to beer and kombucha brewing. With a special talent for both he is undeniably on a quest for ever more tantalizing alcoholic fermentations. Tommy is co-founder and brewmaster at Dr Hops Kombucha Beer.

Toby Tull

Toby Tull, Bare Bucha

Symbiosis Fermenters Update & Crisis Management while Scaling Up

Toby Tull is the co-founder of Bare Bucha and Harvest on 25th.In addition to years of entrepreneurial experience in food and beverage, Toby has an extensive background in information technology and performance improvement technologies. Toby also serves on the board of his local farmers market and spends time mentoring others in small business.

Vickie Natale

Vickie Natale, ORG&NICS

USDA Organic Certification Preparation

Vickie Natale is a successful manufacturing engineer who has spent her past 20 years manufacturing products that require regulatory agency approvals and continued compliance. Fifteen years were spent operating her medical device manufacturing facility and the past several years as a USDA certified organic personal care products manufacturer. Medical devices required quality management systems such as FDA, ISO 9001, UL, etc. Personal care, body care, cosmetics, and food and beverages, specifically those that choose to use the USDA organic seal, require USDA certification. She is delighted to be able to guide you through her unique and rapid method of creating the essential documents, training, etc., that you need to successfully prepare you, your employees, and facility (even if it is just your kitchen) for your USDA Organic Certification audit and continued compliance. Her method is designed to substantially minimize the time it takes to prepare for and apply for certification.

Zane Adams

Zane Adams, Buchi

Members Meeting – Board Member

Zane was recently appointed as Co-CEO and leadership collaborator with Lightswitch Foods, a newly merged company majority held by Buchi Kombucha, a 9-year-old local brand that started its journey in a humble kitchen located on Chestnut St, Asheville, NC. He has over 12 years of experience in the marketing discipline from strategy and brand development, product positioning to enterprise partnerships and marketing communication.  From its start at the North Asheville Farmers Market, to emerge as the largest producer of craft kombucha on the east coast, Buchi’s brand is starting to translate outside of the local market and cultivate a devoted following.