Today we’d like to introduce you to Ricardo Gonzalez.
Hi Ricardo, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Most of my life, I’ve been a functioning alcoholic and drug addict until about 2013, which is when things really started to spin out of control. By 2014 I was homeless, completely disconnected from society, miserable, and seeking escape through heavy drinking and drug use. After an intervention, I checked myself into rehab in November of 2015. It was there that I found yoga, which quickly became my new drug. Ever since that one positive choice of getting help, so many great things have and continue to happen in my life, from becoming a chef to starting my own small business Love Culture Kombucha.
I’ve been making kombucha for five years. When people would ask me “Why don’t you ever sell it?”, my response would always be the same: “Because I don’t have time, I’m too busy with my job as a chef at a restaurant.” Then when Covid first came and we all went into lockdown, I all of the sudden had all this time on my hands! With the encouragement of a dear friend, I started Fermented Freedom Foods. I would deliver sourdough bread, fermented veggies, and kombucha to people off of social media posts where people would place orders. This created connection in a time when I needed it most. It also showed me that I did have something. People were buying my products! Back when I was an addict, I found a way to maintain my habit by selling drugs. I used to deliver drugs to people, delivering darkness and inevitable pain… Fast forward just four years (at the time) and now I was delivering foods that help provide optimal gut health and overall health benefits to people!
Today, I am well over six years sober and have shifted my focus to growing my new business Love Culture Kombucha, where you can find it a several local Austin businesses: Pure Yoga Texas (2 locations), Hyde Park Gym, Dia’s Market (Organic Grocer), Brentwood Social House, The Grove Wine Bar & Kitchen/Lola Savanah Coffee shops (all 4 locations), Black Sheep Boxing, and counting. I also still sell off of Instagram and Facebook pages: @loveculturekombucha
My mission is to provide optimal gut health through delicious organic kombucha while also creating a healthy workspace for individuals who are looking to live a healthier life.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I wouldn’t say it’s been a smooth road, but I wouldn’t say that my struggles along the way have been much different than any other business owner who’s just getting started on their first business. I am definitely learning a lot and for that alone, I am grateful.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
For all of my adult life until I got sober, I was a professional musician. Now I am a chef and a yogi. Both are passionate and artistic. I bring that same focus and practice from being a hard-working musician to the table now. Also, I brew all of my kombucha from a chef’s mindset, focusing on flavor profiles while maintaining proper, clean, sanitized fermentation practices. I keep my kombucha organic and add local and seasonal as possible. Having seasonal flavors keeps it fun and exciting! As a yogi, I use that same focused, determined mindset that I always used a musician to get better.
I’m told often that what sets my kombucha apart from others is its smoothness, non-vinegary taste, and my unique flavors.
Can you share something surprising about yourself?
That I was a professional touring drummer who played on some of the country’s biggest stages.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @loveculturekombucha
- Facebook: @loveculturekombucha
Photos by Eirene Gonzalez