Whether you’re chugging Shroomi’s the Yuzu Honey, with turkey tail, chaga, and reishi mushrooms, or the Mandarin Turmeric flavor, with lion’s mane, chaga, and reishi, or the Pome Mint with cordyceps, chaga, and reishi, there’s no mistaking that the two-ounce shots contain liquified mushrooms. There’s a savory chunkiness to the sipping experience, leading one to believe that the adaptogenic mushroom drinks are indeed medicinal.
Though he could have reduced the shroominess of these wellness shots, the brand’s founder, Taylor Chavez Goggin, wanted to ensure that his core ingredients remained the stars. “The goal was to create a beverage that is delicious and flavor-forward but still has hints of the mushroom earthiness, which we think consumers will really like,” explained the Summerland native and graduate of UCSB, where he played on and then coached the tennis team. “We wanted our consumers to know that we put 1,500 milligrams of mushroom in each shot. That’s a therapeutic dose.”
Just released in June, the three Shroomi flavors, which are part of the fast-growing “wellness shot” grocery store category, are already for sale at Whole Foods across Southern California, as well as Lazy Acres, Savoy Café, Tri-County Produce, and the soon-to-open Bristol Farms in Santa Barbara. “There’s no brand that completely champions mushrooms as their main ingredient,” said Chavez Goggin, who touts the anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and immune-system-boosting effects of mushrooms, which are respected in both scientific and traditional medicine circles. “I wanted to start a brand that really stood for something more than the product.”
In that regard, he’s using the platform to promote awareness and education about mental health, which became a focal point after his father tried to commit suicide on Father’s Day in 2018. “That changed my life,” said Chavez Goggin. “I didn’t know of his mental illness growing up. It caught me off-guard, so I started to learn about his challenges and the mental-health challenges that millions of people around the globe and millions in the United States deal with every day.”
This young entrepreneur was uniquely qualified to launch his own company. After coaching the UCSB tennis squad from 2011 to 2013, Chavez Goggin worked for Santa Barbara Bar, where he was director of national sales by the time he left in 2015. He wore many hats and gained lots of experience in the consumer-packaged-goods world by dealing with retailers, distributors, and consumers. He then worked for California Juice Company, which is based in Santa Barbara but primarily produces cold-pressed juices for the campuses of such big companies as Google, YouTube, Patagonia, and DreamWorks. He stayed there until November 2019.
Shroomi was inspired by a trip to Japan in 2018, where Chavez Goggin realized how deeply mushrooms are infused into the culture. That’s also around the time that many television shows and books came out about the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD, depression, and anxiety. The current Shroomi lineup does not include mushrooms with psilocybin — that would still be illegal — but there is an ongoing movement in many cities and even the state of Oregon to decriminalize the hallucinogenic fungi. “That’s certainly on our mind,” said Chavez Goggin. “It’s a market that we would be potentially interested in exploring, and we would be well set up for that.”
After investigating a number of sources, Chavez Goggin settled on small farmers from the highlands of China, where mushrooms have been grown on logs for 800 years. The farms are certified as organic, and the mushrooms are routinely tested for heavy metals and other impurities. The drinks are then made at a facility in California’s Central Valley, just south of Fresno.
Unlike caffeine shots or those with ingredients that proclaim instant effects, the Shroomi drinks do not provide a buzz beyond the energy that comes from fresh juices. Instead, Chavez Goggin recommends making the $4.99 shots a daily part of your preventative health regime, a much more long-term play.
Today, his father, who lives near Bend, Oregon, is doing much better, and Shroomi is off to a promising start. Chavez Goggin expects more companies to copy his format or start using mushrooms in their drinks, but that’s a good thing. He explained, “Those are great for Shroomi because it helps educate everyone on the benefits of mushrooms.”
Mandarin Turmeric: Strong ginger spice leads the way on this shot, which has a grippy texture to the slightly thick sip. There’s a slightly savory kick from the lion’s mane, chaga, and reishi mushrooms, and the finish is very spicy.
Yuzu Honey: There’s a tart quality to this shot, which cuts through the chunky turkey tail, chaga, and reishi mushrooms flavors.
Pome Mint: In addition to the chaga and reishi, this features cordyceps, a fungus that grows on the larvae of insects. Quite medicinal in flavor, it’s reminiscent of a thicker tea and a slightly sticky mouthfeel.
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