Tulsan is behind the scenes of a top beverage trend.
Clearly Kombucha, co-founded by Ali Zarrow, uses a highly selective filtration system that removes the alcohol-producing yeast and leaves in the healthy gut bacteria.
Courtesy Ali Zarrow
Heading to Stanford in 2006, Tulsan Ali Zarrow expected to graduate four years later with a degree in sociology. That she would do so as co-founder and CEO of her own San Francisco-based beverage company was not exactly something she had planned.
Inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of neighboring Silicon Valley and her own quest for the perfect dairy-free, probiotic beverage, Zarrow, along with Caleb Cargle — who was working in the Stanford Graduate School of Business at the time — created Clearly Kombucha in 2009. The company, whose employees include Zarrow’s sister Rachel, produces a line of kombucha, a fermented tea favored by the health conscious.
Zarrow credits her family for her success. Her father, Scott Zarrow, who died in 2012, was a Tulsa attorney and philanthropist and son of philanthropists Maxine and the late Jack Zarrow.
“I could never have gotten this far without the support of my family and everything I learned from my dad growing up,” Zarrow says. “The first couple of years we started the business, my dad was very involved. He was a sounding board and an advisor and, really, our No. 1 cheerleader. Now it’s cool because my mom (Hilary Zarrow) has taken his role and acts as that same sounding board.”
According to Zarrow, being young and female in a male-dominated industry is both tough and rewarding. “At the end of the day, it’s worth fighting for,” she says. “The challenges I face on a day-to-day basis are definitely one of the reasons why when something great happens, it feels even better.”
In Tulsa, Clearly Kombucha is sold at Natural Grocers. Its sister brand of fermented botanicals, C Botanicals, can be found at Natural Grocers, Sprouts and Akins.