Meet the Whalebird Team

Profile Picture - Mike Durighello

MIKE

CEO/ Founder

Mike started brewing Kombucha in his garage back in 2012 because some hippy surfer in Santa Cruz told him it could make him shred harder. Surfing super powers aside, Mikes primary Kombucha interest became sourcing organic and sustainable ingredients to create Whalebird’s core flavor line up. After many late nights of brewing followed by climbing sessions at the local bouldering gym, Mike stumbled upon the bold yet balanced base Kombucha that Whalebird still uses today for all of its flavors. Out in the wild you can find Mike playing a game of “What Are The Odds“ with Max Shulman or crushing down some single track on his mountain bike. Literally no person on the face of the earth can beat him in a game of Worms 2.

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JACOB PRITZLAFF

Numbers Guy

Jake joined what became Whalebird back in 2013 when Kombucha kegs were still being delivered on oversized commuter bikes and invoices were handwritten notes. The two loves of Jakes life are the History Channel and Microsoft Excel. Need to know who won the French Revolution of 1789 or the best way to build your financial forecast? Whatever the problem, if Jake can’t get you the answer you want, undoubtedly he’s sure to convince you of his. Outside of the brewery you can find Jake downtown swing dancing, spear fishing a secret spot, or playing along to some early 2000’s Eminem with his acoustic guitar. Literally no person on the face of the earth can beat him in a game of Worms 2.

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LEE WILKERSON

Builder Man

Lee joined Whalebird in 2015 as the teams Macgyver, and all around mad scientist engineer. He enabled the team to drastically improve production and ferment more with less by designing and building the systems in place today. Beyond his functional design, Lee possesses a skill set that many engineers lack and that is the ascetic eye, which is why the Whalebird brewery also doubles as a constant art installment. Although humble, Lee can shred just about any board sport with the best of them. Find him at the beach, in a drum circle, or in the water catching some waves on any of the amazing beaches here on the central coast.

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DUSTIN OSWALD

Director of Operations

With 10 years experience in craft beer, Dustin joined up with Whalebird in the fall of 2016 just as things were really starting to pick up speed. He brought with him a knowledge and foundation for scaling production and distribution that has proven to be invaluable. Not only can Dustin run a production team like no other, he has an uncontrollable vigor to plan years down the road in all aspects of business. This foresight has helped Whalebird identify and solve future problems and has made the team overly excited at the possibility of sharing more Kombucha with more people. The only time he doesn’t talk too much is when the waves are good and then it’ll take a force of nature to keep him out of the water. He’s also got the cutest puppy on team.

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TALIA HEAD

Scoby Zoo Keeper

Talia stormed on the scene in 2017 as Whalebird Kombucha’s much needed brew scientist and QA expert. With a masters of science in molecular biology, Talia has been able to take Whalebird’s fermentation science to the next level. When she’s not getting down with some SCOBY’s, she makes awesome custom jewelry using wire wrapping, metalsmithing, and lost wax casting techniques.

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ORION ZORICH

Cellar Samurai

Orion is Whalebird Kombucha’s invaluable production lead, packaging lead, and inventory control guru. We’ve tried and tried but we haven’t found one thing he’s bad at, and that includes shredding the best local trails on his mountain bike. Rumor has it he was raised by a herd of Rhinos somewhere on the Serengeti and can hear Kombucha fermenting from 100 yards away.

Profile Picture - Brett Dupree

BRETT DUPREE

Production Engineer

As Whalebird Kombucha’s lead brewer and production engineer, we’ve never met someone who works as hard or as diligently as Brett and Whalebird would not be where it is today without him. He can run the brewery with his eyes closed and hands behind his back. There is not a human being on earth who listens to Johnny cash more than Brett and legend has it when the moon is just right, you can hear his deep baritone singing Ring of Fire from the top of Bishops Peak in SLO.

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LUKE BLAIR

Production Professor

A connoisseur of craft beer, punk rock, and motorcycles – Luke might be too cool for Whalebird but he’s been nice enough to stick around the production floor to teach us his ways. With a background in home brewing, Luke has taken to kombucha like a probiotic in sweet tea. Show him something once and rest assured that thats the last time. Legend has it that he can single handedly lift 500 lbs of SCOBY with his left hand all the while stirring a fresh brew with his right.

Profile Picture - Blake Daniels

BLAKE DANIELS

Account Manager

Blake “aka” Batman joined Whalebird in 2017 and soon won over entire team with his casual confidence and fresh pressed button ups. He stepped into the role of delivery dude and quickly progressed to draft maintenance and now account management. If you need a keg, information on the newest seasonal flavor, a hug, or learn how you can increase your existing Kombucha sales, Blake will be there to make it all better.

Hannah Woolsey

QA Tech

Early in the morning when the brewery is quiet and you can hear the kombucha bubbling Hannah is diligently visiting every fermentor to collect samples, sing a little hiku, and hug each SCOBY. If you were wondering how all these kombucha companies put love into their booch this is the tried and true method. Beyond Hannah’s QA skills she is a phenomenal artist and aficionado of fine vegan bratwursts. Next time you come to the brewery check out her giant mural of various Whalebird species she’s painted from memory after encountering them on her trip to the arctic circle.

Jonathan Wilcox

Account Manager

One phrase to fully encapsulate Wilcox would be “stoke level 9000”. You may have seen him in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Santa Cruz delivering precious cargo to your kegerator and next thing you know you’re smiling uncontrollably and talking about fermented cashew cheese and garden radishes. Ya he’s got that effect and he’s got a green thumb so next time you need the lowdown on how to propagate dragon fruit in your raised bed he’s your man!

Tristan Bedoya

Production Guru

Tristan aka T-Dawg aka T-Money aka Grunkle-T is a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. If the kombucha doesn’t give you that morning pick me up, T-Dawg’s ear to ear smile and big’ol hug will do the trick. Oh and that delicious kombucha you are drinking right there…ya he made it with his own bare hands. That’s not all he can do with his hands. T-Dawg is also a master glass artist and fashions the freshest glassware this side of the Mississippi. Seriously, his work is legendary and nearly the whole Whalebird crew is rocking his art on the reg. If you want a commissioned piece message him @catori.glass

Matias Ilic

Builder Man Dos

Born on a craggy mountain top in the heart of the Andes, Mati emerged from the womb with a guitar in his hand and a Metallica shirt on his back. Beyond his musical prowess he’s just an all around passionate human being that enhances the culture of whatever group he’s in. On most days you can find him with Builder Man working to expand and maintain the various systems that keep our brewery alive.

Chloe Evans

Kombucha Flow Master

Hailing from Idaho, the Gem State, Chloe is nothing short of precious. You’ve probably been greeted by her calm, inviting demeanor in our tasting room, at farmers market, or at an event in some far off land. When she’s not philosophising to you while filling up your booch growler she’s painting masterpieces of her regal house cat or honing her architectural drawing skills over coffee to become the next Frank Lloyd Wright.

Kate Scheffing

Priestess of the Probiotic

The newest addition to the Whalebird events team, Kate keeps a cool head when things go wrong, a big smile even on the longest days, and an amazing sense of humor to stoke the team out. Find Kate out at the Whalebird farmers market booth on Thursday nights or in the tap room and give her a big high five!

Nathan Doherty

Retail/Events Manager

Retail/Events manager extraordinaire; if there’s a party nearby, Nate went to high school with the Dj, goes surfing now and then with the bouncer, and once met the promoter on a gondola in Tahoe. On top of directing the tasting room and all of Whalebird’s outside events, Nate is the creative director of the local music festival ‘Shabang’ and co-owner of the art collective ‘Respect the Funk’. His infectious positivity is like pounding a pint of Pamplemousse first thing in the morning. Let’s go!!

Keenan Conway

Booch Bible Evangelist

A true renaissance man, Keenan got his start at Whalebird as an account manager, keeping all the clients satisfied and happy. Now, he throws his weight around the events team doing everything from leading events, to logistics, to design. His artwork can be found on most Whalebird t-shirts and his eye for style has had a major influence on the events presence. Beyond the booch, Keenan is a co-owner of the art collective ‘Respect the Funk’ and is a majorly talented fire dancer!

Dyno Creative Team

Daniel, Austin and Alec

The Dyno Team is a creative powerhouse led by their fearless leader Daniel Adoff and his awesome mustache. Together they have helped Whalebird rebrand, build a new website, launch new packaging, and design a whole host of marketing and sales materials. They are a quintessential part of the team and we don’t know what we’d do without them. Smooches.

OUR FLAVORS EMBODY OUR MISSION TO PROVIDE THE WORLD WITH DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY BEVERAGE OPTIONS.

Available to order online!

Get our 3 most popular flavors shipped to your doorstep starting October 2019
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