Nutista Authentic Stoneground Nutbutters — an innovative stoneground nutbutter company in Carlsbad, California — is celebrating its first year in business.

Founded by Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch, Tristen Cross and John Huber, Nutista’s creations first hit San Diego retailers on August 26, 2017. “It was an awesome day for us,” Cross recalls. “It felt like all of the hard work we had done was finally coming to fruition.”

At the time, Nutista had no employees and Koch, Cross and Huber handled all recipe creation, production, sales and marketing. Today the company has two new production staffers and a third new employee who handles Nutista’s growing online sales. The company also expanded its retailer list to about 50 stores.

To meet growing demand for its healthy, all-natural, and highly innovative nutbutters, Nutista has increased its production capacity by nearly 400%. Nutista launched with two 40-pound-capacity machines, last month it replaced those machines with a pair of new 150-pound-capacity stone grinders.

Nutista has also expanded its debut lineup of three year-round flavors (The Nut Job, The Mountie, The Monkey King) with a fourth year-round flavor (Nutista / Stone Tangerine Express IPA Nutbutter), other Nutista / Stone collaborations, and limited-release seasonals such as Phat Mint, Pina Colada, Pistachio and others.

Koch says his efforts in shaking up the nutbutter trade have given him the same thrills he’s gotten from shaking up the nation’s beer industry. “My favorite part of Nutista over the past year,” Koch says, “is the same as my favorite part of Stone Brewing over the last 22 years: Watching eyes go wide upon the first taste, followed by the inevitable ‘Wow’ reaction, and then the ‘Where can I buy it?’ question.”

“It’s a joy,” Koch says, “helping people understand that not only is there a world beyond commodity brands, but things in that world are simply so much better.”

Nutista’s collaborations with Stone Brewing helped to boost the company’s first-year sales. “They enabled us,” Cross says, “to connect with craft beer and Stone fans — an audience we couldn’t have reached otherwise.”

Huber says those collaborations and Nutista’s other adventurous flavors played a role in the company’s initial success. “Our unique flavor combinations,” he says, “have really helped our growth. We’ve opened up a new realm of nutbutter flavors and our customers really appreciate that.”

“Our fans,” Huber adds, “also appreciate that our super-clean creations have no cane sugar, low total sugar, and they’re high in plant-based protein and deep with flavor. That’s a powerful combination.”

Nutista’s focus on building an online fan base also played a key role in the company’s first-year success. That online audience includes email subscribers who get pre-sale access to new and limited-release flavors, free shipping, and other subscriber perks.

“Our online community,” Cross notes, “has given us consistent sales and the ability to take our story direct to faithful fans outside of our San Diego market and across the country.”

Meanwhile, Nutista’s early clients are happy they got on board. “We sell a ton of Nutista products here,” says Lucas Zora of Del Mar Wine Company in Del Mar, California. “Sales have grown steadily since we first brought them in, and they really took off once more of our customers tried them.”

Julie Perdue is a co-founder of the popular Claire’s Too café in Solana Beach, California, and an early embracer of Nutista creations. “The jars were a slow sell initially,” she says, “but we now have a base who knows the product and they keep coming back for more. We like that the Nutista products are natural, local, & delicious. They also pair well with a lot of our baked goods and make a great gift.”