“We are scholars, artists, musicians, scientists and students. We thrive on exploration and dialogue. Boulder is our home and our inspiration. Our product flavors are representative of local landscapes and seasons and our brewery is located off the bike path and designed to feel like a retreat from the commerce-focused downtown.” – Jamba Dunn, Founder and President of Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha.


Before we talk about Kombucha, can we talk about haikus? A haiku is one of the many types of poetry with a strict structure. There are three lines. The first with 5 syllables, the second with 7, the third with 5. Structuring a poet’s creative process might seem like it would make them less able to be creative. But it’s one of the best tools for inspiring creativity because it allows for “play’ with the structure. Poets press against the confinement of the sonnet by manipulating words in new ways and sometimes even breaking out of the 5-7-5 format in small ways. But that’s when they really have something to say.

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Boulder start-ups are all formed by poets in some sense, and all have something in common. They’ve broken out of a format. Maybe they belonged to a more “structured” career path before (most that I’ve talked to once did), and have now decided to go off the beaten path to pursue something that truly inspires them.

Founder of Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, Jamba Dunn, left the “comfort of his desk” working at Rosetta Stone to start a business with the help & inspiration of his “rowdy mermaid” daughter when she was just three years old. Dunn certainly appeared on the Kombucha scene with a background for content design and writing—he designed the content for Rosetta Stone’s language learning video games for a number of years. He’s also written 2 books, many short stories, and has a Ph.D. in Media Philosophy. So he truly mastered the “structure” of education and having a corporate career prior to making the jump into starting his own business. This background explains the genius and aesthetically “sophisticated and cool” packaging & vibes. Dunn shared his thoughts on inspiration, intention, and daily life as part of a Boulder start-up:

What inspired the start-up? 

My daughter was an incredible influence on my decision to leave the comfort of my desk at Rosetta Stone and start a business. People who are familiar with our brand know the story of how I began brewing kombucha to suit her palette and later delved deep into the science to brew a caffeine-free blend to help tame my little “rowdy mermaid”. At the age of three, she not only decided I should brew kombucha using fresh flowers, she gave this first recipe the name we still use, Flower Grow.This very intimate connection of bonding with my daughter over kombucha coupled with my realization that I could no longer bear the roller coaster ride of corporate America led to my taking the leap and pursuing what I love.
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What’s the mission?

Our mission is to craft the highest quality low acid kombucha possible using sustainably harvested herbs and roots. We base our recipes on ancient and scientific wisdom regarding health benefits, and we list our functional ingredients on the front of the bottle, but our marketing approach is sophisticated and cool.


Community Involvement: Rowdy Mermaid’s tent set up at the Boulder Farmer’s Market every Saturday.

What does the office look like on a daily basis? (how many employees are there, where is the kombucha made) 
Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha is a combined factory and tasting room located in a small warehouse in east Boulder. We have three people working in the brewery and three others who run our tasting room. It’s a cramped space with a beautiful bar, 6 taps and Flatiron views.

The modern and well-designed taproom.

How do you connect with the community?
Our family friendly brewery is a community hub where we teach fermentation classes and offer free music, open mic jams, talks, poetry readings and bluegrass picks. We also support many local events and groups outside the tasting room, such as BMoCA, Boulder Community Hospital, Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, Blue Drinks, Colorado Oceans Coalition, Poverty Hack and local running and climbing clubs.

The Kombucha is brewed on site by men in white suits with white tubing things.

What are you supposed to feel while drinking it… connected to the outdoors? Refreshed? Healthy? Clean?
We make low sugar, low acid kombucha using the finest herbs and roots available. Our processing occurs in winemaking equipment which allows us to test and monitor the fermentation lifecycle to a precise degree. The end result is an extremely flavorful, often herbal kombucha with a complexity that has almost no connection to the sweet and sour kombuchas of the past. Our products are raw and our flavors are clean and refreshingly alive.

Jamba finished by sharing the business’s humble beginnings and plans for the future.

We opened our doors less than a year and a half ago hoping we would be able to pay the rent each month. Today our products are available in 4 states and we consult fermentation companies both at home and abroad. In the coming year we will add to this success by releasing high gravity kombucha and a collaboration kombucha beer to our lineup.

Photos Via Rowdy Mermaid.