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Kava Culture Announcing the Passing of Mike Munsell, Founder and CEO of Kalm with Kava

Kalm with Kava

Kava Enthusiast
Kava Vendor
It is with great sadness that we regret to inform our community of the unexpected
passing of Kalm with Kava founder and owner, Mike Munsell on May 1, 2020.

Mike was passionate about kava and had a deep respect for its’ sacred role in healing spirits and
unifying relationships. After discovering kava and its benefits he wanted to share his passion for
kava with the world. He quickly became a sought after expert on kava and was well known and
respected in the kava community.

Mike founded Monsoon Beverages LLC and the Kalm with Kava brand in 2010. And in 2016,
with the support of his close family, made the brave move to quit his full-time job in the energy
industry to concentrate on the business full-time.

What he loved most about the business was frequent trips to the South Pacific to meet the family
farmers and village communities growing kava. He helped villages on the islands install
electrical and plumbing lines, construct schools, and aided in disaster relief following cyclones
on numerous occasions. It is these long-standing, close relationships that allow us to source the
high quality kava we sell.

Mike also greatly enjoyed connecting and mixing with like-minded individuals, others equally as
passionate about kava, here in the U.S. He loved visiting with the many kava bar owners, and
Kalm with Kava customers, across the country. Online he was an active participant on both Kava
Forums and the Reddit Kava Forum where he was always willing to answer questions, provide
guidance and share his vast knowledge of kava.

Mike also constantly looked for ways to partner with others to increase the supply of kava, to
innovate and introduce new products, and to protect the reputation and market for kava,
especially in the face of misinformation or inappropriate regulation.

Mike’s generosity of spirit, along with his belief in, and commitment to, fair and equitable
business practices, where everyone succeeds, allowed him to take Kalm with Kava from being a
just a hobby to a thriving global business. This success surprised many, including Mike himself!

While Mike will be missed by many in our kava community, let us celebrate his achievements as
a kava entrepreneur, his amazing life and the difference he made in the lives of others, in his
home town of Billings, Montana, throughout the country and around the world.

Mike’s wife and business partner Tiffani, and all of us at Kalm with Kava, are committed to
building upon Mike’s legacy in the months and years ahead and continuing to serve our
suppliers, customers, and all of you in the kava community, near and far.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s closest friends and families at this time. Please join us
in sending them your love. To learn more about Mike’s life, express your sympathies to his
family or know where to make a donation in his memory please go to:

 

Kapmcrunk

The Kaptain (40g)
KavaForums Founder
My feelings in a word, devastated. The sun has burned out.

It was early 2014 sometime around February when @HeadHodge brought to our attention a kava website that looked interesting. It was drinkkalm.com. A simple website offering a few kava products and a fantastic guava flavored kava extract drink. This was our first interaction with Mike Munsell and Kalm with Kava. Little did we know that we had made contact with easily the most influential, outgoing, humble, and amazing human beings we had ever met.

I have many instances where Mike touched my life through his work. One that stands out to me the most was when my wife had to put her childhood dog to sleep. That night was rough for my wife. Nothing could help. Sleep that night wasn’t on the menu. I suggested we give the Kalm drinks a try. Less than 20 minutes later we were both asleep on the couch. His product viscerally improved the quality of our life in that moment and I will always remember it.

Instances of impact from Mike Munsell are possibly so large that we will never know the true scale of this loss. From Poland to Fiji to Vanuatu to Australia to New Zealand all the way to the United States his life was truly world encompassing. As such the entire planet will in some way feel his removal from this world.

Mike was loved dearly by his family, his friends, and his customers. He put himself in his work. Every time I purchased a product, I knew his fingerprints would be on it. He continually pushed for new products, new innovations, and he did it with grace, integrity and thought.

He embodied the movement for quality kava, and instead of just speaking about it, he put his head down and made it happen. My hope is that we can continue this vision and go the extra mile the same way Mike always did.

There will always be a place at this website for Mike Munsell.

Tonight’s and the rest of the month’s shells and sessions are dedicated in humble respect for our lost friend. I say we celebrate his life by posting here all the positive interactions we’ve had in direct thanks to this fantastic individual.

Mike, we love you. You will maintain a permanent place in our thoughts now and forever. Your loss will inevitably be felt for the rest of our time here on earth.


Wholesale-Kava-KWK.jpg
 

Kojo Douglas

Kava Connoisseur
This is devastating news. I learned so much from Mike. He was a beautiful person with an amazing heart. My thoughts are with everyone effected - with his family, with the farmers and communities he worked with in the Pacific, and with the Kava community who benefited from the medicine he linked them to.

This is an unimaginable loss
 

kilakila

Kava keeps me going.
I saw this devastating post on Facebook this morning. I can’t write with the eloquence and familiarity of Kojo and kapmcrunk but I do know that my heart ached and tears flowed when I read the tragic news. His website was the first place I learned about kava and the first place I ordered from. What an awesome soul he was and what tremendous work he did for kava farmers and kava drinkers around the world. He was the same age as my son. I cannot believe someone so young has gone. Much love and deepest condolences to his family and friends.
 

krunkgod

Kava Enthusiast
Rest in peace, Mike. I didn't know you all too well, but all of the opportunities I had to deal with KWK were awesome. Obviously reflective of a person who cared deeply about his customers and products. I'll drink a few shells to you tonight.
 
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TheKavaFlow

Kava Enthusiast
Kava Podcaster
Mike was always one of those guys who I was always jealous of. He had a life of incredibly difficult work, and an absolute ton to show for it. He and I became quite close over the years through sharing bowls of kava and enjoying the good life. His tenacity for improvement was infectious; he didn't really think of his products as, "Good enough". His recipes were changing, flavors became actually tasty (incredible, right?), effects were improved, and yet he kept going. A great example for the rest of us of what hard work and perserverance can accomplish.

I'm incredibly sad. We lost of a member of the kava community that TRULY cared about everyone. The man was responsible for helping so many on the islands by accomplishing multiple humanitarian projects and helping those there through disaster relief when those times came. He was in personal communication with much of his customer base, tried to help kava become mainstream by not relying on seedy establishments to distribute, and perhaps the most admirable of all -- he knew kava could heal, and it was his mission to bring this healing power to the masses.

There's nothing we can do to remove the anguish from his family, but I really wish there was. What a terrible tragedy; a loss that will easily be felt for the rest of my life. We love you, Mike.
 

Krunʞy

Rooted @ 40g
Admin
I was devastated by these news, I had gotten to know Mike better over the last year and words can't quite describe how this has impacted me and the kava community. He will be sorely missed, my deepest condolences goes out to his wife and family. I am raising a shell of green kava in what was one of many amazing contributions Mike made to the community. Rest in peace my friend.
 

sɥɐʞɐs

Avg. Dosage: 8 Tbsp. (58g)
Review Maestro
What!!? :cry: This is terrible news. He was such a young, happy, healthy, friendly, caring guy...very shocking to hear this.
He shared our passion for kava and took it even further, by making it his living, traveling to the islands and building personal relationships with the farmers there that would supply him. His relationships there benefitted the rural villages to the extent that they were able to build new hospitals, schools etc... and he was happy about that.

Mike would always send me samples of new kavas to try and cared and respected what my take on them was. He even thought of me the first time he acquired rare fresh kava and shared it with me, he brought me back a kava poster from one of his trips to Vanuatu, he did these things for me and I only know him through internet conversations over the years...this man was a genuine thoughtful and caring soul and a perfect example of the type of person we should want as a leader in the kava industry.

I feel very sorry for the people closest to him who loved him, I know all too well how hard it is when you lose a special irreplaceable loved one. Especially when they get taken so young.

I'd say we should drink some tudei kava to mourn his loss, but I'm not sure that Mike would approve. ;)

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Steve

Ozia - KavaKava Candy
Kava Vendor
You will be missed my friend. I had the pleasure of getting to know Mike a little over the years and seeing him in Hawaii a few times. Aside from kava, one common bond was Billings, MT as my sister lives there and Mike use to work with my brother-in-law before his kava business took off. I was actually set to see him in March in Billings but we had to cancel our flights (me and wife) due to Covid.

Its nice to connect with kava fans and in particular kava owners as you are going through many of the same struggles and triumphs. Mike was one of those genuine guys who I always appreciated because I knew he really cared about his customers and also his business relationships. We could talk for long periods of time about how we could help communities thrive simply by planting crop, putting people to work and taking care of customers (all while being fair in the process). Any greed was set aside and his actions were about protecting the communities he helped build. Much love to the family and sending Aloha ~ we will meet again Mike
 

Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

Kava Expert
Kava Vendor
This news is so very sad, Mike was a good friend of mine, I helped gave him a lot of kava cuttings to start here in Hawaii, he was going to build a house over here too. This is devastating for the kava community.
Mike you will be missed greatly. I will hold up my shell to you tonight. Aloha nui loa my friend.

Chris
 

kasa_balavu

Yaqona Dina
This was such sad news to hear.

I had the pleasure of meeting Mike in 2018, on one of his trips to the South Pacific. He had just arrived into Nadi a few hours earlier and was due to catch a flight out to Port Vila soon after later. It's a long way and 2 or 3 flights from his home to Nadi and he must have been exhausted, but you couldn't tell when he was talking about kava; his enthusiasm was obvious.

He talked about the impact his business was having on the lives of people in Vanuatu. He seemed very proud of that. It was clear to me that Mike cared about people. Sure, he was in business to make money, but it mattered to him that he was making a positive impact on the world. He certainly made a positive impact on my life.

We spoke about his plans to get the FDA to review kava's GRAS status. He was confident that it would be successful. The process would cost a lot of money, but he was optimistic that he'd be able to convince other US kava industry folk to join him and help fund the effort.

I left that meeting thinking how lucky we all were to have someone like Mike carrying the torch for the kava industry in the US. What a great loss to kava it is that he is no longer with us.

He messaged me on a Friday a year ago (almost to the day actually). He had just arrived in Nadi and was here for 5 days. He was meeting with a farmer on Saturday, but this was the tail end of a three-week South Pacific business trip and he was going to spend the last three days on quality time with his wife. Mike had brought me something to try: some of the new bottled fresh kava he and @Henry had just perfected. Sadly, I couldn't see him that time, and now I regret it even more.

I can't imagine what it must be like for those who were closest to him. I wish them comfort in this time. I only barely knew Mike, but he was a good man, and he is sorely missed.

Ni moce mada, Maikeli.
 
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