Ether Elixir, crafted right here in Fort Worth, has taken the probiotics market by storm.
Sometimes great products get born of careful planning and firm intention. Other times, circumstances align around an idea and purpose, as if fate itself helps will something into being. A probiotic beverage hand-crafted here in Fort Worth, falls into the latter category. Creator Autumn Warren originally crafted the beverage for the personal use of herself and her family. Now, Ether Elixir, the company founded in September 2016 by Autumn and her husband, Richard Warren, has taken the probiotics market by storm.
Widely available here in Fort Worth and nearby areas, the company has already gone national. Soon, a production facility will open in California, a market that promises huge things for the fledgling business. This rapid growth was never anticipated by Autumn, who first began to craft the beverage seven years ago.
“I have auto-immune disease, as do my children,” says Autumn. “Probiotics are a great way to combat any kind of chronic disease, and I wanted to consume more. Capsules are expensive, and the probiotics are often no longer alive. I lusted after the dairy kefirs, but I don’t do dairy. So, I thought it would be cool to make my own kefir, and started with cashew milk.”
Most people have heard probiotics as a buzzword without fully understanding what it means. Essentially, probiotics represent live yeasts and bacteria that perform beneficial functions for a person’s health. In particular, the digestive system benefits from the presence of these live organisms. If the thought of ingesting live bacteria makes you cringe, keep in mind that a healthy human body naturally contains around 100 trillion bacterial cells.
“Your body contains more bacterial cells than human cells,” explains Autumn. “You can have good bacteria or bad bacteria. Ether Elixir provides lots of live, good bacteria.”
Cashew milk proved less than ideal as a source for kefir, so Autumn began to ponder other alternatives. Ideally, it would appeal to her children, who were slightly more picky when it came to sources of probiotics. Juice became a target of interest to Autumn, thanks to its natural sugar content. Kefir requires sugar as fuel for the probiotics themselves. Ether Elixir was thus born out of a happy accident.
“It kinda happened by chance,” says Autumn. “I was testing a new probiotic, and put it into some juice just to see what would happen. It looked bubbly and fun, so I tasted it and thought, ‘Wow!’”
The new concoction passed the ultimate test when Autumn gave it to her two children, who drank it eagerly. Unlike cashew milk, which required the addition of both sugar and flavoring, the juice contained both naturally. Happy with this success, Autumn became to make juice-based kefir solely for her family.
“It was fun to drink and became our little treat,” says Autumn. “I continued to make it because it tasted good, alleviated a lot of my symptoms, and helped my kids. They don’t get sick very often.”
The evolution from home-based treat to thriving business happened through a series of fortunate circumstances. Autumn made a batch of kefir that turned out to be more than her family could consume. She didn’t want it to go to waste, however, and posted it for sale on her neighborhood’s Facebook page.
“People bought it right away,” says Autumn. “I didn’t think any more about it, but then people began to contact me wondering when they could get more. At that point it became a fun way to make some extra cash.”
The response quickly grew, however, until Autumn began to have difficulty catering to the demand. As a one-woman operation, she didn’t feel organized enough to take care of people’s needs for her kefir.
“I began to think about it, and thought that if it was really helping people, it could become a big thing,” says Autumn. “I recognized that kombucha has become a big thing, and our kefir is a similar product. I saw the market potential, and my husband happens to be an entrepreneur.”
In September of 2016, Ether Elixir first began to roll off the assembly line of the company’s southside production facility. If you’d like to see what the fuss is all about, you can find Ether Elixir here in Fort Worth at Sunflower Shoppe, Natural Grocers, and a broad selection of other vendors such as yogas studios and wellness centers. Additionally, the product will soon become available at Sprout’s and Central Market.