Queen Bee of Wild Tonic, Holly Lyman: Sustainability, Empowerment, and All Things Jun Kombucha

Written by Jenna Medlin-Roark

As I gaze at the pink and orange Phoenix sunset coming over Lookout Mountain on the back porch of our family home, I see a sloth floatie make its way across the water. Taking a plunge into the 89-degree pool, I grab my Blueberry Basil Wild Tonic and a pink flamingo drink holder and yell, “Dad, look! It is big enough to hold our kombucha!”

He smiles; Wild Tonic has been a staple in his life, something that brings him comfort and pleasure, but most importantly, brings his family together.

Started in 2015 by founder Holly Lyman, Wild Tonic has been making waves in the industry, utilizing an ingredient, Jun, as a staple in their entire selection of kombuchas. Lyman began studying fermentation as an encaustic artist and working with beeswax and soon opened Wild Tonic with the rollout of over eight non-alcoholic and seven alcoholic flavors.

Lyman did not have a guide on how to open and operate a brewery, mainly relied on trial and error, having the tenacity to move through the struggles and opportunities the business came across in its early development. 

Lyman takes great pride in making sure that Wild Tonic feels like a family and community inside and outside the factory and farms. She and her employees spend time uplifting each other, putting each other first, being selfless, and empowering. Creating a culture of diversity and empowerment is instrumental to the success of the company and those within. 

Recognized by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council as a certified women-owned business, Lyman promotes many women into management positions. He empowers them with the opportunity to grow and be successful. Diversifying the roles within the company is something Lyman takes pride in, recently, filling positions typically and socially considered to be held by men but within Wild Tonic had by phenomenal women.

I think something that, especially as a woman, we need to realize it’s all about self-love. It’s about self-growth and about finding your competence. It’s about all of those things that are the most difficult to do.

– Holly Lyman

With tea leaves supplied from a village in Bangladesh, Wild Tonic can help support a community of women by being one of many companies to purchase their ingredients from their tea garden Teatulía. Teatulía provides organic farm training to women and their children in Bangladesh and offers various health and learning opportunities to help provide a sustainable income. While supplying their tea leaves from this community in Bangladesh may be more expensive, Lyman is passionate about the quality, sustainability, and, most notably, the opportunity it provides for the community that otherwise primarily lives in poverty.

Invest in people, first and foremost, and invest in the planet. Do something, in whatever business you’re in, make it sustainable, make it something that is going to really, at the end of the day, what makes this environment a better place for everybody and for future generations.

– Holly Lyman

In working to promote sustainability, Wild Tonic has worked with several other companies, most notably, The Upcycled Candle Co. and Refresh Glass, to upcycle their iconic blue glasses into cups, candles, and many other customizable products. Their products are organic and gluten-free to promote health within the community. To reuse and recycle, Wild Tonic uses their tea leaves as nourishment for the herbs and fruits used in brewing their variety of jun kombuchas by surrounding the bases of the trees where their ingredients are grown. 

Additionally, beehives from the northern Arizona Organic Beekeepers Association are brought to be used in Wild Tonic products and pollinate the herbs, spices, and fruits such as Ginger, Mango, and other fruits incorporated into the jun kombucha recipes. In doing this, Wild Tonic has helped them become a nonprofit association that focuses on the organic, sustainable, and ethical treatment of honeybees. 

Wild Tonic stays committed to providing its customers with a one-of-a-kind kombucha recipe and continues to expand its sales across the state of Arizona. As a company, they hope to reach as many people as possible while promoting the idea of taking care of our environment and planet, creating a community, and bringing people together. 

You know, creating Wild Tonic, it’s something that brings community-typer into a community type environment to enjoy something together, which is a drink, whether it’s not alcohol or alcohol, it promotes togetherness, and community.

– Holly Lyman

For more information on where to purchase your favorite flavor of Wild Tonic Kombucha, please visit www.wildtonic.com or follow them on Facebook and Instagram @drinkwildtonic. 

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