Austin Gallagher, Ph.D. '15

Austin Gallagher, Ph.D. '15

By Katy Hennig

Austin Gallagher, Ph.D. '15

By Katy Hennig
UM Alumnus launches healthy, eco-friendly sparkling tea company.

Conservation biologist Dr. Austin Gallagher, Ph.D. ’15, has traveled the world swimming with and researching sharks, some of the most threatened animals on the planet. While human impact on sharks cannot be overstated, through his adventures he discovered an even greater threat to our environment.

“Plastic is everywhere,” Gallagher noted. “I’ve see it in estuaries, on coral reefs, and floating hundreds of miles offshore. It is without a doubt one of the greatest challenges facing our oceans.”

Gallagher, who graduated from the University of Miami’s Ecosystem Science and Policy in 2015, created a non-profit organization called Beneath the Waves to advance ocean conservation through science. “It all come together for me while I was traveling throughout the Caribbean, studying sharks for my PhD, taking pictures and filming them, and exposing business leaders and other entrepreneurs to sharks,” Gallagher said. “I saw all of these skills and interests merging together and discovered that I like working in multiple lanes simultaneously.” Gallagher is also an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

“I loved building our non-profit and activating partnerships and influencers to advance our mission,” said Gallagher, who was included in the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 List and has formed partnerships with brands such as Google, Virgin, and GoPro. “However, it became increasingly obvious to me that business also has a big role to play in the future of our environment.”

In 2016, Gallagher’s longtime friend and Princeton graduate Ryan Crane reached out with an idea for a beverage company he was developing, which featured zero sugars and, much to Gallagher’s interest, no plastic. The two partnered to create Tempo, a line of sparkling organic teas, with the intention to provide a revitalizing spark of clean energy to the beverage industry.

“My mentors at UM, particularly my close collaborator and friend Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, taught me a lot about brand building over the years,” said Gallagher. “I saw an opportunity here to apply some of those lessons as well as skills I gained through developing my non-profit.”

After a year of formulation and brand development, the duo officially launched in September 2017 with sustainability as a foundational pillar of the brand. Tempo’s two launch flavors; an herbal green tea with ginger and turmeric, and a black tea featuring grapefruit and ginseng, can be found in a number of grocery stores, cafes, and bars in the Chicago area. Tempo can also be found and ordered through the company’s website.

“We not only intend to create an amazing product that people want,” said Gallagher, “our underlying hope is for Tempo to stand out as a trusted advocate for consumer health and a credible leader in environmental sustainability.”

tempo tea