Native brewers able to rejoice fermented tea Sunday — World Kombucha Day | Enterprise
Give a toast to World Kombucha Day.
In its sophomore year, the February 21st celebration launched by Kombucha Brewers International is another way to promote the fermented tea beverage that has grown in popularity over the past decade.
Kombucha’s rise coincided with the desire of many Americans to live healthier lives, said Hannah Crum, founder and president of Los Angeles-based Kombucha Brewers International and creator of World Kombucha Day.
“People are awakening to the fact that they need to be healthier and kombucha is the health choice,” said Crum. “Kombucha is a really great nuanced drink for those who want to drink less alcohol and consume less soda.”
Kombucha is fermented sweetened tea that is processed using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast known commercially as Scoby. According to Crum, 90 percent of Kombucha is non-alcoholic, with a legal limit of 0.5 percent alcohol.
However, there is a harder Kambucha with a higher alcohol content, such as that made by the SantaM Kombucha company HoneyMoon Brewery.
“Sometimes people look for an alternative,” said HoneyMoon founder and CEO Ayla Bystrom-Williams. “We are completely gluten-free and made from natural organic acids. People are looking for this option. “
Bystrom-Williams started HoneyMoon Brewery in 2014 in an abandoned artist warehouse in Madrid and opened a taproom / production room on West Alameda Street at the end of 2018. HoneyMoon Kombucha has been available at Whole Foods in Santa Fe and Albuquerque since November 2019 for around six months in the basement in Taos.
HoneyMoon produces about 1,400 bottles of kombucha per month, she said.
“The taproom gave us a sense of who our customers are and what their habits are,” said Bystrom-Williams. “Due to COVID, our pedestrian traffic is practically reduced to zero. By the end of 2020, moving to Whole Foods was our most sustainable business. “
HoneyMoon Brewery’s early years sounded more like a startup tech company. Bystrom applied for small business assistance from Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a microbiologist and bio-organic chemist helped create the scientific protocol for HoneyMoon. The company also received support from ABQid, which provides entrepreneurs with the knowledge, power, resources and network to be successful, and won the 2016 Miller Lite Tap the Future competition that featured a Shark Tank judge Guest judge was.
Kombucha project owner Katlyn Jennings, also based in Santa Fe, has her own national presence as a lobbyist and outreach coordinator for Kombucha Brewers International.
The organization has around 210 brewery members around the world, including New Mexico Ferments in Albuquerque, HoneyMoon, The Kombucha Project, and Stargazer Kombucha in Santa Fe. Leaf & Hive Brew Lab is another local Kombucha brewer.
Jennings has been campaigning nationwide for a possible February 22nd legislation in Congress to increase non-alcoholic kombucha levels from 0.5 percent to 1.25 percent.
Jennings said that kombucha brewers want more flexibility in their brewing, as the fermentation process itself increases the alcohol content to 0.6 to 1 percent and brewers need to find ways to lower the alcohol content.
Jennings launched the Kombucha Project in February 2016, the first of the recent surge in local Kombucha brewers.
“When I first started, there wasn’t any kombucha restaurant, coffee shop, or coffee shop in Santa Fe,” Jennings said. “It’s much more likely that I will run into people who know what kombucha is now. But it’s still pretty difficult to get kombucha in restaurants. Coffee shops have prevailed, but cafes and restaurants are a little behind. The more advanced restaurants and cafes are more interested. “
During the coronavirus pandemic, Jennings were sold almost entirely through their website kombuchaproject.square.site. Stargazer Kombucha, made in Santa Fe by Alison Schmitt, is available in the REMIX Audio Bar, Iconik Coffee Roasters and Terra Verde Organic.
Schmitt started Stargazer in July 2019 in a communal kitchen.
“People were very enthusiastic about my product, and it didn’t take long to build a fan base,” said Schmitt. “I think Santa Fe is a city that loves to hug [small] Business. People really seem to love it. You try to experience it. They like it and keep coming back. “
Crum chose February 21 for World Kombucha Day, since 221 BC. One of the years mentioned is (next to 220 BC and 200 BC) when the drink was first produced in China.