SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The summer after the pandemic hit, a Sioux Falls couple decided to start making their own kombucha.
Now less than three years later, Songbird Kombucha is taking off in a big way all over southeastern KELOLAND.
“The really great thing about kombucha is it’s a whole food beverage that’s low in sugar and doesn’t come with the alcohol,” Songbird Kombucha owner Jacob Fokken said. “All of our flavors are imparted with whole fruits infusing into kombucha as opposed to using syrups.”
It’s a concept that’s taking off across the country, but the local brews Songbird Kombucha creates are already fan favorites.
“We’re competing with name brands that are nationwide,” Fokken said. “I know at the food co-op, they’re selling it as fast or faster than some of the other name brands, so the momentum seems to be picking up.”
It just started selling Songbird in cans this past November.
“In two months I’ve sold through what I thought was going to take me 10 months to sell through,” Fokken said.
Each can sold is hand poured and sealed by Jacob or Elsa, the husband and wife team running Songbird on their own.
“We don’t have any employees right now, it’s just the two of us,” Fokken said. “We don’t even have childcare for our three small babies.”
It’s why Songbird Kombucha is really a labor of love for the whole family.
“We want to create something alternative to the norm, both in the way we conduct our business and the quality of the product we want to bring to the market,” Fokken said.
It’s one of the many reasons this local brew is in such a high demand.
The Hello Hi bar in downtown Sioux Falls has carried Songbird kombucha since they opened two years ago.
“We definitely get lots of requests for it,” Hello Hi owner Sara Benson said.
Kombucha has a become more popular at bars and restaurants around KELOLAND, as many people are looking for a non alcoholic option while they’re out on the town.
“Whether it’s for dry January or throughout the year, I think its definitely important for quite a few people. We’re seeing more of a rise in non alcoholic or mocktails,” Benson said.
Benson said Kombucha also makes a unique mixer for creative cocktails, which are also some top sellers at the bar.
It’s another reason Songbird’s original business model of selling wholesale to local bars and restaurants has also taken off.
“Its grown from a couple that first winter, to we’re over two dozen now,” Fokken said. “Right now we’re in Sioux Falls, Hartford, Jefferson, Yankton, Mitchell and Vermillion.”
You can find Songbird Kombucha at their storefront near 26th and Minnesota in Sioux Falls, but also in grocery stores, coffee shops, bars and restaurants throughout southeastern South Dakota.