SOLANA BEACH — For the past five years, John Paul “JP” Franklin has developed a bit of a reputation around town as the local “kombucha guy.”
But what long remained a hobby constrained to his garage in Solana Beach has now blossomed into a burgeoning local business, co-founded with his wife Kate Franklin.
After less than a year of operating, “Mightybooch” now distributes to about 35 restaurants, coffee shops and markets throughout San Diego County. The brand’s various flavors have found their way from Pizza Port on Highway 101 to Boney’s Market in Coronado, from Solana Beach Little League’s snack shack to the San Diego Padres’ clubhouse.
“The feedback and momentum has been super exciting,” Kate Franklin said.
The Franklins sold their first bottle of kombucha in November of 2018, and now, eight months later, JP Franklin produces about 800 to 900 gallons of product every three weeks at the business’s brewery in Oceanside.
JP Franklin worked in branding and advertising for about 20 years before he and his wife decided to become business owners, leaving the world of helping others with their businesses to launching his own.
“Now we’re doing something for ourselves,” JP Franklin said.
And the pair have no shortage of passion to bring to the industry — they embrace the product’s health benefits and unique taste, pointing to it as a viable and tasty beverage alternative for kids and adults alike. They welcome competition in the young, growing industry and are excited for the future of the product at large.
Kate and JP Franklin’s goal is to make kombucha a more approachable drink option, evoking fun and playfulness. So far, Mightybooch has been able to find its niche locally by creating a taste that “can be enjoyed by anyone,” JP Franklin said.
He said his kombucha has often appealed to people who might not normally be won over by the beverage. Or as Kate Franklin described, “it’s kombucha for people who don’t think they like kombucha.”
The brand has caught hold in larger San Diego — Mightybooch was recently recognized by San Diego Magazine as the reader’s pick best kombucha.
As their popularity grows, the entrepreneurs have stayed true to the beach community where their idea began.
They currently have a subscription service that’s exclusive to Solana Beach, picking up about 100 growlers a week and delivering fresh kombucha to locals.
“We’re like the milk man with kombucha,” Kate Franklin said.
The two call Mightybooch a “community project,” a success story defined by the taste of their product, but also by the support of other kombucha-craving locals. Being new to the beverage production business, JP Franklin said he has reached out to brewers in the neighborhood like Culture Brewing and Pizza Port to learn more about brewing processes.
“It’s nice that the community has come together to support us and help us make (Mightybooch) a success,” he said.
Photo Caption: Solana Beach residents JP and Kate Franklin started their own kombucha company, Mightybooch, in order to bring their personal passion to a larger audience. The two now distribute their product to over 35 accounts throughout San Diego. Photo courtesy of Katalyst Public Relations.
Lexy Brodt covers all things Del Mar and Solana Beach for The Coast News, with a primary interest in coastal development. A North County native turned UW-Madison alumna, she has produced for Wisconsin Public Radio and reported for The San Diego Union-Tribune and Wisconsin State Journal.