May 10, 2022
When Bridget Connelly started Luna Bay Booch in 2018, the hard kombucha category consisted of a handful of brands, most of which were positioned as alternatives to craft beer and focused on distribution in Southern California. A former social media strategist for Lululemon, Connelly took a different tack.
She swathed Luna Bay with an ethereal vibe and incorporated design elements that highlighted its premium ingredients, better-for-you attributes and proprietary blend of Yerba Mate tea and seasonal fruits and herbs. Without any prior beverage alcohol industry experience, Bridget laid down roots in Chicago and focused on building a retail presence in the Midwest.
While the hard kombucha category is now represented by dozens of brands, Luna Bay’s differentiated look and distribution strategy has supported the brand’s expansion into retail stores nationwide, including those of Target, Marianos, Trader Joe’s and Jewel-Osco.
In an interview featured in this episode, Connelly spoke about her inspiration for Luna Bay and the origins of its name, why brand story was a key asset when meeting with retail buyers, how the pandemic influenced consumer awareness and interest, why investment in the category is a two-sided story and why she credits mentors as critical to the brand’s development.
0:49: Interview: Bridget Connelly, Co-Founder/CEO, Luna Bay Booch – Connelly and Taste Radio editor Ray Latif riffed on the entrepreneur’s love of surfing, reflected on their first meeting in 2019 and the brand’s origins in San Diego. She also addressed a writer’s description of Luna Bay as a “a hippie-ish alcohol brand,” the brand’s hierarchy of values and how it is depicted on the packaging and explained growing retailer interest in hard kombucha. Later, she discussed the continued lack of investment in female-led brands and why asking for specific help is important when working with mentors.