You Drink What? Alcohol May Have Met Its Match With This Hipster Drink of Choice

Using Social Data to Understand How Customers Discuss and Imbibe Kombucha

As a kombucha drinker is all too aware, often, drinking kombucha (and even mentioning the beverage by name) is met with quizzical stares. You drink what? So what exactly is kombucha? Kombucha, or kombucha tea, is often described as fermented tea, “made by adding a culture of bacteria and yeast to a solution of tea, sugar and sometimes fruit juice and other flavorings.” (A trace amount of alcohol results from the fermenting process.) But with product placements ranging from Wholefoods to even your average grocery store, and with sales projections of $500 million, is kombucha really all that strange?
Using social data as a focus group for this discussion, we wondered how customers really feel about kombucha.
Is kombucha in and what can we learn about how customers engage with the product?
Words from 2010-01-01 to 2015-09-20
A five-year, historical analysis of the topic revealed that discussion has increased by 265%, with a notable spike in conversation in August of this year.
With this analysis, we can see that not only is there an 84% positive sentiment for the past five years, but we can tell what is driving this positive regard for kombucha. Notably we can see the top two drivers of conversation are the health benefits and probiotics in kombucha (23%) as well as notably, a discussion of kombucha making drinkers tipsy or drunk (26%). This is followed by discussion of buying (13%) and flavor (10%), and some negative conversation around expense and taste or smell.
Furthermore, we can see that @ArianaGrande was the top mention with over 8,400 tweets. But moving beyond the Ariana Grande conversation, we can see that the other top mentions and hashtags for the five years.
These reveal that health, Whole Foods, and the brand GT’s Kombucha are leaders in customers’ discussion. We might even say that GT’s is the most loved brand by kombucha customers.
Beyond major leaders or drivers of conversation, we can also dive into subcategories, as they develop during the conversation. We can use this to illuminate which flavors or types of kombucha are resonating with customers.
From the beginning of 2014 to date we can see that customers are discussing ginger kombucha, kombucha with chia seeds, organic kombucha, kombucha with coconut, and even homemade kombucha, with ginger kombucha and kombucha with chia seeds being the most prevalent of these.
Looking to lifecasting discussion and specific mention of drinking kombucha, we can see when customers are drinking kombucha.
Through the above hourly breakdown, we can infer that kombucha drinking peaks around meal times, or generally lunch and dinner, the highest periods of discussion occurring between 6-7pm, followed by 12pm and 2pm. Diving into the tweets themselves reveals that many customers drink kombucha with meals or as a snack.
So who is the kombucha drinker of today?
A geography analysis shows that the United States accounts for just over 82% of the kombucha discussion. When the map is normalized based on posts per capita it reveals that the top location of discussion is Oregon followed by Washington D.C., California, and Vermont.
Customer affinities or interests, can give use a social profile of who the customer is. What do they are about besides kombucha? What sports are they interested in? What music? Which celebrities do they follow? What are their passions? Are kombucha drinkers all that different from regular tea drinkers? AffinitiesTM has that power.
AffinitiesDay And Time from 2010-01-01 to 2015-08-13 (1)
Using the above Affinities graphic, we might say the hipster’s have it, that is, love for kombucha (or might we say they’ve been bitten by the kombucha bug). This presents itself through greater than 1,000 times more interest in organic food, Home Brewing, Portland, Veganism, Chefs, Superchunk, Louis C.K., and Vegan Cooking. Customers are also 17 times more interested in Nutrition, and four times more interested in Health, and three times more interested in Running. This paints a picture of customers who are genuinely interested in health and wellness and all this entails.
However, that’s not the whole story. We can see a number of overlapping interests in comparison with tea drinkers. Colleges and Universities, Hip Hop, Basketball, and Video Games all present with equal interest among tea drinkers and kombucha drinkers. Additionally, we can see that other interests in Beyonce, Starbucks, Glee, Disney, and MTV only present twice as strongly with tea drinkers than kombucha drinkers. This suggests that kombucha drinking in already moving into a more mainstream, millennial audience, and further markets to impact millennial audiences are not far out of reach.
With these tools and features, any marketer can track growing trends and discover what customers are saying and what they really care about, which they can use to plan their future strategy and spend most efficiently.
For a deep-dive analysis on product trends and customer consumption habits, take a look at our e-book on alcohol consumption.

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