The Nuts Behind Nutista
Greg Koch: While helping to overthrow America’s mass-market beer industry as a co-founder of the pioneering Stone Brewing, Greg experienced a nutty epiphany.
“On a trip to brew a Collaboration beer with northern Italy’s famous Baladin brewery, I sampled the Piedmont region’s hazelnuts,” he recalls, “and was amazed how incredible they were compared to the stale, commoditized versions of these nuts that I’d had before.” Another chance nut encounter a few years later in Brazil while there to brew a Collaboration with his friends at the beloved Bodebrown Brewery was an additional eye opener. “In America,” Greg notes, “most people think of Brazil nuts as bland tasting cheap filler in their bag of mixed nuts. But I discovered how amazing fresh quality Brazil nuts could be. They are naturally sweet and delicious, and I couldn’t stop eating them. The revelations of the hazelnuts and Brazil nuts were just the tip of the iceberg. Over the years I’ve learned what a significant difference there is between bulk nuts and nuts sourced based upon freshness and the qualities of their flavor profile.”
These revelations led Greg -- a longtime advocate for healthy eating and natural foods – to begin experimenting in 2012 making homemade nut butters. A few years of tinkering with nuts and recipes led him to ponder a tasteful revolt of another mass-market food niche.
“I started realizing what was possible with nut butters,” he recalls. “I got fascinated by my journey of sourcing and experimentation, loving just how amazing nut butter could be. That’s what started me down the path toward envisioning a company to take it to the people.”
Nutista is the result of that vision. “I look at nut butter from the viewpoint of both an artisan and a craft brewer. Just as in craft brewing, I love the process of making things yourself and creating new recipes that never previously existed.” Greg’s Nutista M.O. also echoes that of his beer pursuits: “Careful sourcing, creativity, and an artistic approach are essential. All driven by a rigid adherence to quality and a vigorous pursuit of incredible flavor.”
Tristen Cross: After years in the tech and biotech worlds as a successful product-marketing ace, Tristen sought a “How can I better the world with my day gig?” opportunity.
A longtime practitioner of healthy and holistic living, Tristen’s off-the-clock lifestyle and work experience prepared her for Nutistadom. “Health and wellness,” she says, “have been personally important to me for a long time. Nutista is a way for me to combine my entrepreneurial interests with a personal mission. Now I can live and work with passion and purpose.”
Her lack of food-industry experience is an advantage. “John and I have no experience or understanding of synthetic ingredients or the methods used in industrial food,” Tristen says. “We just reach for premium, natural ingredients that taste incredible and improve your health, and then we let the stone grinder do its slow and wonderful magic.”
“And then,” she says proudly, “we use those ingredients to make innovative and fun flavors with a culinary flair, creations that no one else has thought to make before.” If she can share the details of her efforts with Nutista customers, that’s even better. “We’re big fans of transparency. We want our fans to know exactly what goes into their nut butters.”
Between creating and promoting healthier living through Nutista, Tristen spends time with her husband and two kids and wonders how sugar and hard-to-pronounce ingredients became part of America’s diet.
John Huber: What makes John qualified to start America’s coolest nut butter company? He spent 15 years as a stock market analyst and once thought a certain mass-market product was health food.
“I used to think factory peanut butter was good for you, “John admits. “When it comes to my health and what I want to do for a living, I’ve come a long way. That’s why I believe so much in Nutista and what we’re doing.”
His 10-year quest for a healthier life led him to avoid unhealthy ingredients, embrace regular exercise, and drop about 50 pounds. Now his goal is to make the foods he wishes he could have eaten in his less-fit days.
“I want to help people to do what I’m trying to do,” Huber says. “Live better, eat more simple and natural-ingredient foods, and get healthier. But still eat food that that’s clean and tastes really good.”
He’s also out to make nut butter more approachable. “I want to have fun,” John says, “that’s very important to me. And I want people who’ve never considered nut butter to see the benefits of making it a part of their diet and everyday life.”
When he’s not mixing up a nutty concoction on his stone grinder or evangelizing about the power of Nutista, John spends time hiking, shooting hoops and enjoying life with his wife and son. He loves doing pullups for anyone who wants to watch.