WFIR/Gene Marrano

A kombucha manufacturer with high-level connections to Deschutes brewery will build a plant and tasting room in northeast Roanoke, not far from where Deschutes will establish its east coast brewery and tasting room. The company, Humm Kombucha, is headquartered in Bend, Oregon, just like Deschutes. Governor McAuliffe announced the details:

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Deschutes founder Gary Fish is on the the Humm Board of Directors, and Humm co-owner Jamie Danek said while his recommendation was a start to their search, it was not the finish:
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They decided it was indeed the place. Humm will invest $10 million and plans to employ 50 people. Kombucha is a fermented tea drink.

From Governor McAuliffe’s office:

ROANOKE – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that Humm Kombucha, an Oregon-based producer of kombucha, a carbonated black or green tea that contains fermented bacteria and yeast, will invest $10 million to establish a brewing operation in the City of Roanoke. The project will create approximately 50 new jobs.

“We are excited to add Humm Kombucha to Virginia’s corporate roster, and are confident that this win will further enhance the Commonwealth’s reputation as the best location for beverage manufacturing,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at the announcement event. “Humm has strong ties to Deschutes Brewery, and this announcement is a great example of the ways that major projects can attract additional economic development opportunities. We welcome Humm to the Commonwealth, and celebrate another success in our efforts to diversify and build the new Virginia economy.”

Humm Kombucha was created when co-founders Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danekhad an idea that Mitchell’s homebrewed kombucha would be enjoyed by many. Kombucha is a lightly-effervescent fermented tea made by combining sweet tea with a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast).  The beverage is known as a source of energy and is full of vitamins, and probiotics. In 2009, they started brewing in bulk, creating new flavors, and selling their product at farmers markets and by home delivery. Today, kombucha is one of the fastest-growing segments of the beverage market. Humm employs 100 people in Bend, Oregon and is available in 50 states, as well as in Sweden and in outlets such as Costco, Publix, Safeway, Target, and Wal-Mart.

“Humm Kombucha is a solid addition to the City of Roanoke and the region, which have worked tirelessly to attract great companies in food and beverage manufacturing,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Kombucha is one of the fastest-growing products in the industry, and Virginia’s reputation and skilled workforce in the food processing sector will provide a pipeline of talent for years to come.  I congratulate the City of Roanoke, Roanoke Regional Partnership, and all the partners involved in bringing this innovative company to the Commonwealth.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Roanoke and the Roanoke Regional Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $150,000 Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City with the project. Humm Kombucha is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

Humm Kombucha co-founders Michelle Mitchell and Jamie Danek said, “Roanoke is filled with genuinely good people. They love Roanoke, have so much pride in where they live and many simply wouldn’t live anywhere else. Their outdoor amenities and culture are a huge part of their day to day. This environment and vibe is very similar to Bend. Aligning with a similar culture is a must to the ethos of our company. Combine that with Roanoke’s central location and the low cost of doing business there, and we’ve found the perfect second home for Humm.”

“Roanoke is honored to be the East Coast location of Humm Kombucha,” said Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea. “I want to express my appreciation to the company for bringing its operation to Roanoke.”

“Being the East Coast home of Humm Kombucha just adds energy to what is going on here,” said Beth Doughty, Executive Director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

Congressman Bob Goodlatte said, “Some great things are brewing in Roanoke! I’m pleased Humm Kombucha has chosen Roanoke for their new location. The Star City is an exceptional place to live, work, and invest, and I look forward to welcoming Humm to our community.”

“I am pleased that Humm Kombucha has chosen the City of Roanoke to locate its manufacturing facility,” said Senator John Edwards. “Their $10 million investment in the City of Roanoke will strengthen our economy and will provide 50 new jobs to our community. I am delighted to welcome Humm Kombucha to Roanoke.”

“Humm Kombucha coming to Roanoke is a great example of how the City of Roanoke continually attracts a diverse group of businesses,” said Delegate Sam Rasoul. “We are thrilled that they have decided to join our community, and grateful that they are willing to invest in our economic development here in Southwestern Virginia.”