It’s Finally Time for Everybody to Get on the Booch
By Steve Keegan, Co-Founder, 16th February 2021...
I’ve had a great relationship with Kombucha for more than 10 years now - from drinking and brewing it in my kitchen, through to my new brewery, Only With Love (the first mixed beer and Kombucha brewery in the UK).
My partner Bethany brought back a SCOBY (the magic bit that turns tea to Booch) from an organic farm in France where she was working one summer, and it’s stayed with us ever since. (We still use that same mother culture for all of our batches at Only With Love. Cool, huh?! We’re drinking the descendants of the summer of 2000.)
The transition from people’s personal stash to the shelves of your local shops has been pretty slow so far. It’s not that people don’t like the stuff – quite the opposite; it’s just the secret hasn’t been passed on well enough over here just yet.
Here in the UK, it looks like we have a couple of approaches to making and marketing Kombucha:
- Stick it in a kind of medicine bottle, push the health benefits, and call it a ‘good for you’ drink
- Stick it in a Champagne bottle, and make it look like a no- to low-alcohol alternative to premium sparkling wine
Packaged this way it strikes me that it’ll always remain an insider’s drink, unable to break out of a small niche, when actually Kombucha could pretty much be the saviour of fizzy soft drinks.
Recently though, I’ve been thinking that there may be another option for how we bring this fizzy gut-lover to the people. What I see on the shelves today doesn’t bring this amazing drink to life and it really is stopping it from hitting it’s full potential.
Kombucha has been around for thousands of years. It’s amazing. Super healthy. Tastes great. Still a bit underground. And once we discover it, we want to tell everyone about it. Trouble is that the narratives we’re handed are just a bit off.
We haven’t yet managed to do what the Californians do so well...
Over there, stores have a lot of Booch options, some big brands and some super-local. Booch brands add to the age-old Booch story, rather than try to assimilate it. The flavours don’t hide the Booch, they enhance it. Market stalls sell it, top-up style, and bars have it on tap. Hard Booch is also a well-established thing. Kombucha is drunk every which way, in loads of different environments: at home as a morning pick me up, after-work as a wind-down ...all the time, really.
My friends, family and customers all love it. It takes a while, but they really get it when they realise that Booch:
- Tastes really, really great
- Is genuinely good for you
- Works on any occasion, every day of the week, for everyone – kids and all!
Nobody leaves our brewery without me giving them a few cans of our latest batch to take home, and pretty much without fail I’ll get a lovely message later saying something like:
“That was the first time I’ve tried that stuff and it really is delicious.”
I feel this is a fizzy drink that deserves to be wherever you’d find a soft drink on a shelf, and the fact that it is super-good for you is a massive Brucey bonus.
Our Booch will always be made the natural way. It’ll be reasonably priced - and sold in markets, bottle shops, delis, pubs and all the other places you can buy good drinks. It’ll only ever use organic ingredients (from lovely suppliers). We’ll always put flavour first and share our love for working with this ancient ferment with anyone who will put up with me yacking on about it. (Do you wanna see my SCOBY? It’s massive!)
We brew it here in Sussex, on a farm, in our purpose-built ‘Beers and Booch’ brewery. It’s a lot of fun... We’re having a great time… and we’d love you to give our style of Booch a go either as a fizzy treat or as part of a one-a-day healthy lifestyle through our Kombucha subscriptions.
The way we keep our Kombucha (unpasteurised and raw!) also means that you can take a can of it and use it as a starter for your own home brew batches!! So in theory you can buy one can and have a lifetime's supply of the stuff for yourself. The fact that you can do this with our Booch means that we don’t mess with it, and we certainly don’t take out any of the good things that make Booch truly what it is – a tasty fizzy drink that is so very good for everybody, all of the time.