Some of the So Good Kombucha drinks (Image: Lesley So)
A Derby woman is enjoying sweet success as her creation for a new fizzy drink is stocking up shelves in venues in the city centre and beyond.
Lesley So worked at Rolls-Royce in Derby and abroad for more than 10 years running its engine testbeds before she decided to leave last year to spend time travelling.
However, her plans were soon placed in jeopardy when the coronavirus pandemic started to the hit UK – meaning she could not go anywhere, not even outside her house.
During lockdown Lesley came up with ideas on what she could do instead in her next chapter in life.
It was at this point she started to think about coming up with a recipe for a new healthy fizzy drink as she was keen to provide something for the people of Derby.
Now, less than a year later and Lesley’s idea has turned into a fully-fledged business which is making successful strides already.
The idea stemmed from the fact that Lesley’s family back in Hong Kong brew a family recipe called Kombucha – a fizzy sweet-and-sour drink made with fermented tea, which originated over 2,000 years ago in China.
From that starting base, Lesley has developed her own recipes and flavours and turned her “So Good Kombucha” brand into a local success story. Now she can’t stop making the drink as demand is high.
Her flavours include Gingerlicious, Strawberry and Basil and Elderflower Mojito.
Venues that are stocking Lesley’s new So Good Kombucha drinks are Vedi, Yada Collective, Bradman’s Wine Cellar, Darley Abbey Wines, Betty’s Farm, Hotpod Yoga as well as websites Colleague Box and Little Wonders.
Lesley said experimenting with a new flavour and turning it into perfection can take up to three weeks.
Her ideas for the new drink turned into a business plan when one of her friends encouraged a business manager to try the drink.
And since then word-of-mouth has set in, with other businesses now stocking up the drinks.
Lesley said: “Initially I had planned to take a year out to travel, but lockdown meant that I couldn’t.
“In the meantime it gave me a lot of time to think about the future and what I actually wanted to do, which ultimately is to make a positive impact on people’s lives and create a way for the marginalised in society to be able to find employment.
“I wanted to offer a healthy alternative to sugary fizzy drinks, and So Good Kombucha was born out of that desire to offer the people of Derby an authentic, delicious, all organic/vegan alternative to alcohol and sugary drinks.
“The response has been amazing. My first batch sold out over the first 24 hours and no matter how much more I brew it continues to sell out!
“People associate fizzy drinks with being unhealthy so I hope this new drink can create some awareness that there are fizzy drinks that are healthy too.
“I have jumped from brewing 25 litres at a time to now 400-litre batches in a space over a couple of months.