[Adapted from an article in Cambodge Mag: https://www.cambodgemag.com/post/siem-reap-parcours-give-kefir-l-élixir-du-succès]
Almost four years after launching the brand, the small glass bottles adorned with the “Give Kefir” logo have become a staple on the Siem Reap landscape. Their creators, Jade and Adam, told us some of the secrets behind these little magic potions.
In their larger, brighter new premises near Old Market, the team has continued its mission to create probiotics drinks that support a healthy lifestyle. The path to today has not always been a smooth one, but Jade and Adam’s conviction that there was a demand for this product has remained constant. And they were right. Customers showed up in droves until the small business was producing 60 litres of Kefir, Kombucha and Master Tonic every day.
In the back room of their town-centre premises, the colourful nectars ferment in jars fed by the precious leaven. “The process is quick”, explains Vutey, the production supervisor. “It takes no more than three days for the yeast to produce the necessary reaction, aided by the natural sugar from the fruit, which produces fermentation”.
The method is much the same for Kambucha, although it takes a little longer. And it’s sensitive too. “When we moved our production site, we had to change our recipes slightly as the drinks are highly sensitive to environmental changes, such as humidity levels”.
The brand’s flagship product, Water Kefir, is an undisputed bestseller with around 15 different flavours. “A few months before we launched Give Kefir, we looked at the different recipes we were going to use,” says Jade. “We didn’t want to come up with a single flavour, but rather combinations of flavours and ingredients, with each drink having its own properties. Certain ingredients will help relieve inflammation, others will aid digestion, boost the immune system or have an anti-fungal effect. Moringa, spirulina, ginger, pepper… Combined with the action of probiotics, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, each bottle offers a cocktail of benefits”.
Happy and smiling, Jade and Adam confide that they have found their paradise in Siem Reap, settling in the city of temples after a huge love affair, and not without having experienced some memorable adventures beforehand.
A former Marine Corps soldier, Adam had served in many countries before settling in Maryland, where he met Jade. The couple, in perfect harmony, decided to drive across the United States in a motor home following professional disappointments. On board was a jar of Kambucha, a drink that was becoming increasingly popular across the Atlantic.
“Friends introduced us to this healthy, delicious and easy-to-make beverage. Kambucha was our companion on this long journey and will always hold this association for us”.
At the end of the journey, the couple settled in Phu Quoc, in Vietnam. Obliged to leave and return to Vietnam to obtain new visas, Jade and Adam decided to combine business with pleasure by visiting the famous Angkor temples they had heard so much about. “It was the longest visa run in history, because we immediately decided to settle in this city, which is one of the nicest cities we know.”
This is how “Give Kefir” was born, and since then the range has gradually expanded. Today, the small team of six people is trying to overcome the difficult ordeal inflicted by Covid, which led to a significant drop in sales. However, the couple has made it a point of honour to keep the shop open whatever the circumstances, to continue to offer a drink a day to all their visitors, to maintain the number and salary of their employees and even to halve the price of their drinks,
“We were well aware,” says Jade, “that the situation was as difficult for our customers as it was for us”.
“Fortunately, we have more and more Cambodian consumers, whereas at the beginning we only worked with a majority of expatriates and tourists,” adds Adam, who would like to open a workshop in Phnom Penh. “We are also working on a very simple project, but one that could be quite successful: the marketing of a kit that would allow you to make your own kefir at home. Imagine all the possibilities of tastes and flavours, the experience would not only be healthy, but also terribly fun!”