Meet Ivy & Adrian, our founders and Melbourne-based husband & wife team.
Back in 2016, nagging health issues threw a spanner in their lifestyle. Adrian couldn’t coach tennis properly. And Ivy couldn’t do her best at long-distance running.
Ivy’s research revealed problems with their gut microbiome. Consuming more prebiotic and probiotic rich foods and drinks helped them recover. In the process, they even made and sold their own probiotic drink until 2022.
“It’s really hard to feel your best when your gut’s just not up to it”, Ivy says.
They wanted to make it easier for everyone to look after their wellbeing by improving their gut health. So, they created SORTED. Tastes just like a real soft drink, but it’s better for you.
How it all came about. True story!
Narrated by Ivy & Adrian
Okay 99 is probably an exaggeration. We’re not going to wash our dirty laundry in public.
Ivy had psoriasis ever since she was a child. Getting it diagnosed was a challenge to start with. Once diagnosed, the doc said its an autoimmune disease. There was no cure for it.
During his 6-year overseas work stint Adrian’s lifestyle led to a more painful problem. Haemorrhoids. The ganglion cyst he developed when he was coaching tennis raised even more alarm bells.
Something wasn’t right!
Well, since modern medicine wasn’t of much help we turned to the interwebs. Yeah, we’re interwebs hitchhikers like you too.
What we learned about our problems surprised us. Did you know over 70% of our health problems start in our gut? We didn’t know either.
It turns out our gut has this microbiome (good bacteria) that is quite sensitive to what we eat. Turns out, the food we eat can upset these bacteria and make them angry like the HULK. Nobody likes the hulk when he’s angry.
An Ancient Cure
Ivy’s the sciencey kind, so she reads a lot of scientific papers about how to fix our gut.
She discovers Kefir, an old old drink. Kefir is traditionally made by fermenting milk. It’s known to have 10x more good bacteria than yoghurt. It was used for “gut reset” in old times.
But Adrian can’t have milk. He’s lactose intolerant.
So, we ended up making water kefir. After 4 months of having it Ivy’s psoriasis became manageable. Adrian was was no longer troubled by haemorrhoids or the ganglion cyst.
Before sorted, there was the good seed kefir
We have lift-off!
The year is 2017.
When everyone retires home, we start our production after-hours. We make batches of kefir out of a shared kitchen at a cafe in Camberwell. We’re just starting so we only have 3 flavours.
Ivy sticks the labels. Adrian carefully fills each bottle with freshly brewed kefir.
We drive around in our little Honda Jazz with several cool boxes to deliver door-to-door.
We’re knackered by the end of every production run.
We keep running out of stock. We can hardly keep up with production. We might need a new production facility. So we open Google Maps and research potential areas within a 30km radius of the CBD.
It doesn’t take us long before we find the perfect site. It’s an old butcher shop in the old fishing town of Hastings.
We decide to upgrade our equipment as we go along. The first thing we get is a bottle capper. It saves our fingers from stress injuries. We used to hand-tighten hundreds of bottle caps. The next piece of equipment we get is a hand-operated labeller. It increases our labelling capacity significantly!
At the Market
Home deliveries are good. But delivering to more than 50 customers soon becomes impossible. They’re all spread too far apart. We’re spending over 8 hours doing deliveries. We can’t keep up with home deliveries.
So, we decide to meet people where they go shopping for provisions. We set up a stall at farmer’s markets across Victoria.
We sell out at every market. We definitely need more product to keep everyone happy. We need a bigger fermentation tank. A faster production line will be god-sent.
At the farmer’s markets, we’re approached by retailers and health food stores. They want to stock our sparkling water kefir. We’re delighted. We can finally distribute our products across Australia.
We also get store recommendations from our regulars. They’ve been singing praises of our water kefir to their local store. They ask store owners to stock our products for their convenience.
Wow! Right? But wait, how are we going to make so much water kefir?
So, in 2019, we move into a bigger, better purpose-built factory to keep up with demand. By now we’ve also introduced new product categories. Like the dairy-free kefir Nice Pops and our signature Vegan Kimchi. Onwards and upwards!
we did this till 2021, and then …
the Soft Drink!
We used to love soft drinks growing up. But moved on from it because of the sugar and nasties. They simply didn’t agree with our gut anymore.
But we think a cheerful bubbly drink definitely has its place in everyone’s fridge. There’s something exciting about a sweet fizzy. And that’s why we set out to create a better-for-you soft drink!
With SORTED we just want you to have fun and not worry about a thing.
Because when you’re having fun, you can push yourself to do a little more. Every time you do that little bit extra for yourself, you grow as a person. This is something we learned through sports.
Go on, have fun, just like your childhood days!