Brandon Mizrahie: Founder & CEO of Renude

Episode 503

In this episode, Brandon Mizrahie, Founder and CEO of Renude, shares the story behind the brand and the development of their flagship product, Chagaccino. He explains how Renude aims to create healthy and delicious beverages that appeal to a wide audience. Brandon discusses the sourcing of Chaga mushrooms and the unique benefits they offer. He also addresses the competition in the mushroom coffee space and the different types of mushrooms used. Brandon clarifies that Chaga mushrooms do not have psychoactive effects and explains how to incorporate Chaga into your daily routine. He also talks about the launch of Chagamacha, a Chaga-infused matcha drink. So much inspiration taken from all the tidbits Brandon shares. Listen now on this episode of #TheKaraGoldinShow.

Resources from
this episode:


Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down but just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I’m so excited to have my next guest. Here we have Brandon, Ms. Rocky, who is the founder and CEO of renewed and if you have not heard of renewed you need to definitely go online. And we’ll have all the info in the show notes. There’s even a coupon code, too, so you are more than welcome to use that as well. But renewed is a brand he created after discovering the benefits of a mushroom tea at Chaga, mushroom tea and Renu to setting the drink stain on fire with the perfect packets a renewed and I can’t wait to get into more of the story with Brandon and some of the new developments that he’s working on as well. So welcome, Brandon. Hi, Kara.

Brandon Mizrahie 1:30
Great to be here. Thanks for having me on.

Kara Goldin 1:32
Super excited to have you here. So tell us the backstory behind the renewed brand. How did this all come about?

Brandon Mizrahie 1:40
So renewed is the concept of it is to strip down beverages to their new natural state and renew them for not just the health and wellness community but for the masses. I had noticed that a lot of drinks out there and beverages in particular in the health space don’t taste very good. You know, we have those green juices and wheatgrass is the kind of plug your nose to drink. So we wanted to make healthy delicious, and that was really our mission from the start.

Kara Goldin 2:12
That’s awesome. So what is a Chaga? chino?

Brandon Mizrahie 2:19
Yeah, I know all these all these fun terms that we came up with. So it’s really our take on the frappuccino, which is the number one selling coffee drink on the planet. By far people people think about cold brew and lattes and cappuccinos and all these different drinks that the cafes have. But you know, Starbucks created this delicious drink the frappuccino, you can buy it, not just at Starbucks, but obviously in an RTD ready to drink at your gas station or any market place. And it’s just by far the best selling drink. So is. So we said okay, this is America’s taste buds. Let’s respect that Let’s meet them where they’re at, in terms of the flavor profile they want but let’s actually make this thing healthy. Because there’s 56 to 60 grams of sugar in this thing. There’s mono and diglycerides. There’s coloring there’s vanilla flavor, natural flavors, which sound good, but they’re not natural. And so we just cleaned up that flavor profile and created a drink called the chaga. Chino, which is sort of like your coffee 2.0 your upgraded coffee supercharged coffee, where we take a wild forage mushroom, and we add it to your coffee with all these other ingredients that are in that sort of Mocha, latte drink, but we’ve cleaned them up so it has the raw cacao instead of highly processed cocoa and I mean, I can go through the ingredients, you know, but that’s not very fun, but it’s basically a cleaned up version of that drink and upgraded and spiked with with nutrients. So

Kara Goldin 3:53
can you describe for those who haven’t tried it like what does it What does it taste like?

Brandon Mizrahie 4:00
It tastes like Mocha ice cream. We’re sweetening it with monkfruit. So there’s no sugar in it. So for the Keto crowd or you know, the no sugar crowd, you’re you know, it’s it’s zero calories. And it’s got the raw cacao as I mentioned for that mocha flavor, we’re using a little bit of vanilla, but it’s not. It’s not like vanilla extract. It’s like real vanilla. just ground up. We’re using Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka. It’s just got all these great ingredients and the Chaga is wild forage like like truffles would be but it’s for your health they call it the diamond of the forest because it’s for your health and it’s made under pressure like diamond in nature, you can’t grow it on a farm or you know cultivate it so it’s the highest level of similar to truffles but for your health.

Kara Goldin 4:47
So I’d love to hear like it’s a difficult to source these mushrooms. I mean, what is your supply chain? Like isn’t it I mean it’s it’s wild but that it that you were able to, to develop this into what you have,

Brandon Mizrahie 5:04
oh my god, it’s probably one of the most difficult degrees in the world to source it. It only grows on birch trees. So it only goes on one tree out of 1000s of trees out there. It only grows on one in 10,000 birch trees. And it only grows in freezing climates. So even in a place like Hawaii that has birch forests that will not grow there. It’s too hot. So we sourced it from Alaska, British Columbia is all the way to Siberia, and these northern climates. And with with these wild foragers will do similar to truffles, where you just have to go out in nature and find it, there’s no real recipe, you can’t grow it, like I said, so. It’s with that, but that’s where the magic is because it’s taking its nutrients from this tree in nature, in a freezing climate for 10 to 15 years. And it’s pre digesting these nutrients. And that’s where the magic really comes from and, and what makes it the most nutrient dense superfood, adaptogen, fungi, whatever we want to call it on the planet by far. But in terms of sourcing, they’ll Jeep they’ll find it on the tree and then GPS the tree, they can go back to that tree, these wild foragers so it can regrow. And there’s so much of it out there. Similar to like, you know, not to use fossil fuels as an example. But you know, it was it’s been cooking in the earth for 500 million years, this stuff has been growing for millions and millions of years, and we haven’t really been consuming it. So there’s just an abundant supply out there. And it’s sustainably harvested. Meaning though the wild foragers will leave 25 to 30% on the tree, so they can go back to it and re harvest it in a year or two.

Kara Goldin 6:42
That’s so interesting. So I’d love to hear so when you were looking at this, you hadn’t done another beverage before you and I were talking about you had been in a totally different industry. This is a very personal product for you because you wanted to bring the benefits to lots of other consumers. How did you ever think about this mushroom? And how did you stumble upon it? And what benefits? Did you really see it was helping you with?

Brandon Mizrahie 7:14
I was I was just, you know, yeah, like my background is in tech. And actually there is there is a kind of strange really strange similarity that I found out later between the internet and the fungi kingdom, you know, there’s the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, which we’re in and the fungi or fungi kingdom, or, you know, there’s for the pronounciation, you know, police. So the mycelium of the mushrooms is actually the original Internet. It’s it’s basically the roots of these mushrooms that is underground. And they communicate with each other. Underground in this sort of web of roots. And the largest living organism. Most people think it’s a whale or something like an animal. It’s actually a mushroom. In the Oregon forest, a honey mushroom, we’re talking like the size of 10,000 football fields. And these, these, these sort of roots are all communicating with each other. So we had the blueprint, just like when we see, I don’t know, like birds in the sky. And we think, oh, let’s make an airplane. We had the blueprint for the internet. So in a funny way that they were related in a very strange way. But that had nothing to do with why I started. I was just trying to heal myself, I struggled with health issues, I was getting sick all the time. From the time I was in third grade. I was in fetal position screaming from stomach pain, I was very sensitive to the food system, you know, had amazing parents, and I love still I feel like I have the umbilical cord attached to my mom. I call her way more than I’d like to admit. But you know, at that time, it was Ronald McDonald and the playground and McDonald’s and the Happy Meals and the worst foods were being marketed towards children and you had to cans Sam on the cereal boxes and the Kool Aid guy was jumping through the wall. And you know, it was just all highly processed terrible foods. And then for lunch, you had the Lunchables and the food pyramid said, you know, eight to 12 servings of rice and pasta and and you know our bread in America, they pull out all the fiber, they pull out all the nutrients and leave you with this white sticky paste that’s like glue in your stomach. So it’s it’s like I get that everyone became you know, gluten free and lactose intolerant. There’s nothing wrong with gluten with bread and milk. It’s just a way that it’s processed. And it’s just poisoning people and a poison me. It’s very sensitive to it. So I was trying to heal myself from an early age while I was pursuing my, you know, internet career in data centers and web hosting. And so I stumbled on this as an accident. It wasn’t an intentional business idea that I had. I was experimenting with a lot of different herbs and adaptogens and this one had helped me more than anything on the planet really like you know, there’s makan Peru as an adaptogen, there’s ashwagandha that comes from India. There’s e Xiao Wu from Japan, sort of these, every, every society and ancient society had this sort of nutrient dense superfood that they’ve been consuming for 1000s of years. And Chaga is one of them. And it sort of, in the Eastern European, Russian Asian community was really huge. And it’s sort of being rediscovered in America right now.

Kara Goldin 10:34
So interesting. So there are other mushroom drinks out there. And some of them are ready to drink. Some of them are in powder format. But what other mushrooms are many of them using Chaga? Or is it is that, you know, not one, not every mushroom is the same mushroom. I know, they all have different tastes and different health benefits as well. But do you find like you have a ton of competition for your specific mushroom? Or do you have to? Like how do you view that world?

Brandon Mizrahie 11:09
Yeah, I mean, it’s funny, you wouldn’t think mushroom coffee would be a crowded space. But it is and it’s getting more and more crowded every day. The market is also growing, you know, in in terms of the other mushrooms out there. There’s a lot of them there’s 2.6 million mushrooms in the fungi kingdom. So you know, the most people think about mushrooms is something you put on your pizza, or, you know, in cooking. And, you know, maybe there’s some poisonous mushrooms growing. But the medicinal mushrooms are typically the ones that grow on trees, because they’re pulling their nutrients from trees, so they’re not ground mushrooms. And yeah, there’s there’s Rishi, which is a very popular mushroom, there’s ct isaps, there’s Lion’s Mane, there’s Chaga there’s a few others in the medicinal mushroom world that are very popular, but those are probably four of the most popular and they all have overlapping health benefits. And maybe one or two things they stand out in. So like reishi, for example, is maybe a little bit better than Chaga for going to sleep like a melatonin type effects. But Chaga is better than Reshi for your immune system. And, you know, and for other a host of other things like anti aging and beautifying properties as well. So they all sort of the but there’s a lot of overlap like that doesn’t mean that Rishi has a good for immunity. And that, you know, Lion’s Mane isn’t good for this Lion’s Mane stands out in cognitive function. But Chaga is also great for cognitive function. So the way I landed on Chaga was because it was because of the wild Ford story and the story behind it. Some of these other mushrooms can be cultivated and their their lifecycle. They’re not pulling the nutrients from that birch tree for 10 to 15 years in that freezing climate. They’re grown on rice or oats and, you know, maybe, I don’t know it’s Chaga to me has had a better story behind it. That attracted me to it and actually the health benefits that I just personally felt from it stood out so I just went with sort of my own experience with it versus the others. But I’ll take the others and I you know I’m not I’m not knocking the others. I think all adaptogens medicinal mushrooms superfoods are amazing to incorporate in people’s diets.

Kara Goldin 13:40
So people hear about mushrooms and some people worry, right the the whole idea of, you know getting high, are you going to get high or hallucinate off of your drink? Or can you sort of set the record straight?

Brandon Mizrahie 13:56
Yeah, it’s not a psychedelic mushroom. Yeah, because that is another category that is that is very popular right now. It’d be there’s serious universities and Johns Hopkins is doing a lot of research for PTSD. And there’s a lot of promise there. But no, these will not get you high. There’s no psychoactive properties or psychedelic properties. They will make you some people feel a little like Buzz like similar to like a caffeine buzz when they consume Chaga. But it’s no psychoactive psychedelic effects from these mushrooms.

Kara Goldin 14:29
And there’s no caffeine in it. No,

Brandon Mizrahie 14:31
there’s no caffeine and Chaga but interestingly, it does give you an endurance boost up to 25% they did studies with mice where they dropped them in water and the ones they give target to swim 25% longer. Interestingly enough though, it’s on the mitochondria level. So it’s not like you know, blocking your your Endo, endo sin receptors and like caffeine does, it won’t keep you up at night. It’s just a great way to get an energy boost for your workout. So,

Kara Goldin 15:00
how do you incorporate Chaga so they come in the packets and what’s the best way to make a Chaga chino.

Brandon Mizrahie 15:10
So the cafe at the coffee shops we have over 2500 cafes serving the chaga Chino as a drink on their menu, what they’ll do is they’ll pull a double shot of espresso just like a latte, they’ll mix your effective dose of the chaga Chino you’re so we’re giving people their daily effective dose, which is anywhere between 500 milligrams to 1.5 grams of this stuff, that’s where all the research is done. And then so they’re mixing it into a double shot of espresso and that adding adding the milk of choice. So a lot of people like it as an iced latte with oat milk or, you know, a dairy alternative milk like that. But, you know, at home people are, well if they don’t have an espresso machine if they’re using a Keurig or, you know, they’re welcome to our drip coffee, you’re welcome to just add the packet or a scoop of powder to that and then add a creamer or the milk of choice. And it’s going to be delicious. You can also have it hot or cold. Like I said, it tastes like Mocha or coffee ice cream. It does it all for you. It’s it’s very similar to instead of adding the sugar or the other thing too your coffee, you add this to it. And it’s meant to be combined with coffee, and not replace your coffee. Like some of the other brands. This is an addition to your coffee, just like a creamer or sugar or, you know, sugar packet would be. So

Kara Goldin 16:29
you recently launched the chaga mochi, can you talk about how you decided to go that route?

Brandon Mizrahie 16:36
Yeah, like a lot of people who, you know, kind of are trying to get their caffeine from, you know, Matcha or a different stores or just take a break from coffee or, you know, get over that afternoon slump and they don’t want a second cup of coffee, but you know, they want a matcha in the afternoon. And a lot of the cafes, you know, we saw that module was getting more and more popular too. So we decided to launch one and we got the greatest ceremonial grade matcha that we could find it’s grown in Fukuoka, Japan, by the Yamaguchi family which are basically Chachi Tea Masters there’s like Somalia a level, you know charts to this stuff. If you really want to geek out on it. It’s it’s wild like stone milled versus machine milled shade grown first harvest, there’s all these terms that I’ve learned in sourcing the module. And these are like level 10 Chachi Tea Masters that have made it for over 800 It’s been grown there for over 800 years. You know that that predates the United States by like 400 years, so they know what they’re doing out there in Japan. And that’s where we source it from. And then we’re also adding the mushroom, the chocolate wild for Chaga mushroom to kick it up a notch to get you your ceremonial grade matcha 2.0. And then we’re also adding, you know, the monkfruit sweetener and some of the other amazing ingredients to supercharge it and make it taste like you know, Matcha ice cream really like or green tea ice cream. It’s delicious. I have on every day in the afternoon.

Kara Goldin 18:14
That’s awesome. So do you remember the day when you decided I need to actually go and develop this product? Obviously, it’s one thing to find something that is really helping you it’s another thing to go and actually create a physical product, you hadn’t been in the physical product space and hadn’t been in the beverage space or the you know, natural food space. But do you remember that moment when you said I’ve got to do this? Because no one else is is doing this? Or did you see other people doing it and you thought you could do it better? What was kind of the thinking there? Yeah, I

Brandon Mizrahie 18:50
was around 2017 I was making the chaga as a tea. So I was I was sourcing it from some of these wild foragers, just buying it online and then very similar to coffee where you would you would take the chunks, grind them up and steep them but instead of like a like a tea with like a three to five minutes deep, there’s so medicinally charged that it’s like a two to three days deep. And I have to leave it in like a pressure cooker. So it was a long you know, process to make the chaga tea and then you know, I started adding like lemonade to it making these chaga tea Palmer’s and different funny experiments and just tinkering with it and then I would sample it for my friends and family and they were just going crazy for it. I didn’t have anything left. So I set up a little Farmers Market booth out here in Los Angeles on Melrose Place where you know health and wellness capital the world and I had all these different flavors I had the chaga tea plain the way the indigenous people can consume it 1000s of years ago I had the chaga Palmer with lemonade and organic monkfruit And then I had the we did a hoard Chaga which is kind of a fun play on a horchata and then we had the chaga Chino and Then week after week, I got one of these square card readers, I paid $40 for the license, and, you know, no expensive market research $20,000 market research group, I had it right there just in my backyard luckily, and the square card reader told me every week, what people were voting for in terms of their dollars, and they voted for the choco chino. Some times it was three times over the other drinks four times, sometimes it was five times we outsold that drink over the others. So I said, Okay, if people want this in a delicious latte, in coffee, I’ll meet them where they’re at, where are they consuming coffee, mostly at these amazing third wave coffee shops. So we started approaching the the the most trendy coffee shop in Los Angeles called Alfred coffee, you could literally walk in there and see a Kardashian or a Bieber or Bill Clinton or Larry David, I mean, celebrities from all walks of life go into this place on Melrose Place, and we launched it there. And then day one, it was a, it was just an enormous hit. We had Gwyneth Paltrow, Kourtney Kardashian, Hilary Duff, Nikki Bella, all these celebrities, not just consuming it, but posting it on social media, without us even going to them organically posting it because they’re drinking this weird mushroom coffee that like they’d never seen before. It was a new drink. So it was all an accident. And that’s that was sort of the evolution of it.

Kara Goldin 21:28
I love it. I love that story. There were a couple stories there. But definitely, I’m sure those were pinch me moments for you that you just never really thought. And it’s exciting to or it’s like, you know, definitely seeing a product that you had this idea for get traction is just is amazing, for sure. So what’s the most difficult part of building a beverage company? For you?

Brandon Mizrahie 21:57
Yeah, I mean, I would say, you know, I think the misconception a lot of people have, because I had a friend who was starting a business at the same time. And it was something in the, the nail space nail polish base. And, you know, she had this conception of once I create this product, and it’s great, and it’s different, and it’s new, I can sell it and it’s done. And, you know, for that, and then they get discouraged. And she didn’t really want to go further. And for me, it was like once I created the product, that was just the beginning. Now I have to market it. Now I have to get it out there. Now I have to tell the story. Now I have to convince people, not just the customers, but the cafe owners and the distributors. And you know, and now I have to hire people and convince them why they should work for me or for somebody else, when I have to hire my first person, you know, so, you know, I learned the only safe thing is to take chances. And that’s what we did here. We I mean, I took a chance. It was it was based on intuition, not data. Yeah.

Kara Goldin 23:06
Which is, which I think is, you know, you just have to try, right? Because I think oftentimes, the data is just not going to be there for you to go and figure it out.

Brandon Mizrahie 23:17
Especially in this because the ln we chose a mushroom coffee at coffee shops. That’s how we started this going to cafes. It didn’t even exist. So I mean, but But you know, there were products that didn’t exist before that, that in the cafe that came on in like gangbusters, like oat milk, you know, that didn’t exist before, like cold brew coffee that didn’t exist before. And then all of a sudden, it’s so there are precedents it’s not just like, hey, let me let me just have a crazy idea. I mean, it is a crazy idea to to mushroom coffee. It sounds it does sound crazy. And people whenever they try to like, oh, this actually tastes good. They have such low expectations. So they always have to clarify it with uh, oh, wow, that does this, okay, so, but we just say lips to liquid, because once we would get lips to liquid on this thing, whether it was the barista or the decision maker or the cafe owner. It’s at that point, they love it. They can’t believe how good it tastes, and they know that their customers are gonna love it. And the fact that it’s so healthy for people, and it has all these amazing nutrients. You know, it’s a great proposition.

Kara Goldin 24:28
Yeah, I remember when we were first starting hint, many years ago, we created not only a new product, but also an entirely new category, which was unsweetened flavored water. And what we found was that, you know, I had no idea that there was how much education would have to go in to kind of read retraining people’s brains into thinking that unsweetened actually is, is it takes A skirt, right? People automatically thought, Okay, it’s unsweetened. What’s it sweetened with was like the number one come back to us. But then also it was people didn’t really understand it. And so we had to use all of our marketing dollars to actually get trial, because we knew that once we could actually get trial, that was the way that we were gonna get repeat customers.

Brandon Mizrahie 25:25
Totally. And I think, you know, people in January and beginning of the year want to do these cleanses and sort of, retrain themselves or get, but I do feel like when people take a break from those routines, and the sort of broken records that aren’t really working for them, you know, because you could sink deeper into that couch and have depression and it becomes more comfortable and become safe, it’s a safe space. And, or you can get up and do something new. And, you know, sort of retrain those, those patterns. And if you can do that with a product, I think that’s a huge winner. And that’s that, you know, that’s what you did. And, you know, that’s what we’re trying to do. And we’re we’re on that journey.

Kara Goldin 26:12
I love it. So last question, best advice for founders, or someone thinking about starting their own company? What What would you say now knowing what you know,

Brandon Mizrahie 26:25
you know, I would say old keys, don’t open new doors, I mean, if you if you want to, if you want to get something new, you got to do something new. You know, and you got to take that chance, you can’t. And, you know, it’s not, it’s not just that, if you take the chance, you’re gonna, you’re gonna immediately succeed and sell your company for $100 million. It’s a, you need to be fluid and go with the flow and, and listen to the customers in the audience and make changes and be fluid. So there were a lot of changes that we that that we that I did, and I made where I had no idea where I was going to end up. And I didn’t follow as a sort of business plan that you would have gotten college because, you know, if I did, it would have been find a distributor or go to the market. You know, we went to coffee shops, we didn’t use a distributor, we got we created our own distribution channel have over 2500 cafes to start and then went direct to consumer and that there was no precedent for that. So you know, I think it’s possible to sort of just pave your own way where you need to but but if there’s a path there where someone else has paved the way, take that route, because, you know, it’s a kind of a combination of when you need to kind of chop down the weeds and when there’s just an easy road that you could take to along the way. So yeah, I would say oh, the zone open new doors is the biggest thing. I

Kara Goldin 27:54
love that advice. So, so Brandon Mizrahi, founder and CEO of renewed thank you so much for coming on and everyone needs to try renewed. I will have all the info in the show notes. And as I mentioned before, we have an offer that he puts in the show notes too. So you definitely have to take advantage of that. But thank you again. And thanks, everyone for listening. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. I would love to hear from you too, so feel free to DM me. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my Wall Street Journal, best selling book undaunted, where I share more about my journey including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Thanks for listening and good bye for now.