Growing Columbus-Based Beverage Company LITT Kombucha Puts ‘Life in the Tea’
Launched during the early days of the pandemic, LITT is now sold in more than 60 Central Ohio locations.
In the early days of the pandemic, when baking sourdough was all the rage, Bhoomi Pandat found another way to get her fermentation fix: making kombucha at home with her husband. Pandat had observed the products she’d previously tried at farmers’ markets often lacked consistency between batches—and weren’t brewed in Columbus.
They quickly took to the process. “We actually loved playing around,” she says of their early fermenting days, as they learned “how to control the acidity, how to control its flavor, its sugars.” Pandat decided that kombucha was the right avenue for her culinary interests, founding LITT (Life in the Tea) Kombucha to bring her probiotic-infused beverages to Columbus and beyond as the company’s owner and head brewer.
Everything about kombucha takes time—a 2,400-liter batch takes 10 days to two weeks to produce—and clients may need a few tries to warm up to the product. “It’s an acquired taste,” Pandat says, recommending her bestselling Blueberry Lavender Kombucha as an entry point.
Sampling the kombucha at home, the smell was more funky than fruity, the flavor an acidic gut-punch for us first-timers. “I don’t know what to think!” my 9-year-old said after a few fizzy sips. “I can’t stop drinking it, but every time that I do, it’s like a sharp slap in the face.” We finished the bottle and went back for more, trying the pleasingly pungent Tangy Turmeric for our second round.
Pandat moved production into a Worthington brewery in December of 2021 to meet increasing demand. LITT is currently sold in over 60 Columbus locations, with shipping available to 30 states. Two Dollar Radio HQ is one of the local shops that’s a proud purveyor. “Having kombucha on draft lets us offer something novel that you don’t see everywhere else,” operations manager Nathan McDowell said in an email. “I do love the experience of pouring and enjoying a draft kombucha.”
As with any growing business—but especially for a fledgling beverage company in 2023—some hiccups remain. Pandat says the need for cold storage has been a hindrance for distribution. And it’s been hard to find staffing help at the brewery. (She and her husband are hand-filling and capping all bottles, a process that a planned move to cans this spring should help to streamline.)
Still, Pandat has some exciting ideas for the future. LITT’s first line of CBD kombucha is set to debut this summer, with flavors such as passion fruit, orange hibiscus rose and ginger lemon in the works. And if you don’t want to wait until summer for some extra oomph in your brew, visit @littkombucha on Instagram for a link to kombucha cocktail recipes.
This story is from the March 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.