WRITTEN BY KAREN ANDERSON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIEKO HORIKOSHI
From his company’s 700-square-foot production space and retail store at the KTA shopping center in Kamuela, Brian Otting stays true to his mission of “connecting community and lifestyle through nutrition.”
“It takes a village to be a healthy community,” says Brian, founder of Kohana Wai, a cold-pressed juice enterprise based on Hawaiʻi Island.
Producing up to 2,500 bottles of “Pure Liquid Life Force” (a.k.a. juice) per week, Brian pursues a “full-circle” approach to his business that includes donating dozens of gallons of green waste thrice weekly to the elementary school garden at Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy. The donation helps reinforce the benefits of sustainable practices and community partnerships.
“It’s good to have nutritionally rich green waste for our compost pile,” said Jessica Sobocinski, afterschool garden teacher at HPA. “We want our students to learn how to take care of our resources and how to be sustainable. Kohana Wai’s contributions go hand in hand with our program.”
Born and raised in the Hollywood Hills, Brian is a former producer of TV spots, commercials and theatrical trailers. Living abroad for several years, he noticed positive changes in his health and well being after eliminating processed foods from his diet and embracing the sheer abundance of fresh, locally harvested foods available as a matter of course in other countries. He then embarked on a 46-day juice fast, and from there, researched the best process for creating juice.
Brian founded Kohana Wai in Kamuela three years ago, utilizing hydraulic-press technology to develop his first five beverages. “It was important to me to have a high-quality product on the market,” he said. “I consulted with traditional and holistic doctors, nutritionists, chiropractors and local farmers. The original drink recipes were ‘grass-rooted’ at the farmers’ market in Kamuela before I decided to open a store. I have close to 30 drinks right now, including nut milk as well as Liquid Life Cleanse packages.”
Brian says it takes a minimum of three-to-seven pounds of produce to yield a 17-ounce bottle of juice. With a 72-hour shelf life, the juices feature everything from kale and spinach to fennel, Tahitian limes and Meyer lemons, plus beets grown by local farmers specifically for the company. Ninety-percent of the ingredients come from Hawai‘i, said Brian.
You don’t have to live in Kamuela to access Kohana Wai’s fresh juice offerings. The company offers door-to-door delivery throughout the Big Island, as well as direct pickup locations at Dr. Joan Greco’s offices in Kona and Hilo. An oral surgeon, Dr. Greco provides the liquid nutrition to her patients for speedy recovery after oral surgery.
Additionally, Brian has just announced that by the end of 2016, Kohana Wai’s products will be available to all islands via online ordering. Plans are also underway to open a 2,000-squarefoot wellness, chiropractic and yoga center adjacent to the production facility.
“I would never have guessed that this would be my path, to provide liquid nutrition to the state of Hawai‘i,” said Brian. “It’s hard to talk about it without getting emotional. A big part of my day is spent interacting with each and every customer. Our entire team loves coming to work. They are passionate about what they are doing, even if it’s cleaning the produce. There is an abundance of love that comes back to us from our customers.”
Dr. Joan Greco – Signature Blend
Watercress, Kale, Fresh Harvested Aloe (peeled), Pear, Cucumber, Meyer Lemon.
Infection Fighting, Strengthens Bones and Teeth, Meal Replacement.
ABC – Unwanted Toxins No More
Green Apple, Beet, Carrot, Ginger, Meyer Lemon.
Detoxifies, Antioxidant Push, Relieves Joint Pain.
Enlightenment – Body & Mind
Carrot, Pineapple, Cinnamon, Turmeric, Red Apple, Rangpur Lemon.
Detoxifies, Antioxidant, Relieves Joint Pain, Blood Pressure.