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The curious greyish orange mass that fuels the fermentation process used in brewing kombucha tea looks like a cross between a flattened jellyfish and a rubbery pancake. Located at the bottom of the brewing jar, it helps create a carbonated, fermented tea that is full of probiotics and live cultures. This amber-hued concoction is growing in popularity in the health food realm for its reservoir of health benefits, and will soon carve its very own niche in Sacramento.
Kombucha Kulture, a mobile draft kombucha trailer, should be ready to roll with the rest come the end of August, co-owner Brianne Giatras said.
While the original plan was to raise money via Kickstarter to back a brick-and-mortar establishment at the old Hina’s Tea building located at 2319 K St., things did not pan out as expected, yet Giatras said the effort was not in vain.
“It was a blessing in disguise,” Giatras said. “We realized we were going to have a great audience, but Kickstarter wasn’t going to be the thing that got us into business. We think this will be much better considering the market we’re entering and the ability to take our product to the customer instead of trying to get them to come to us.”
Noticing how popular mobile businesses have become, Giatras and her business partner, Joey Melrose, decided to embrace the opportunity when they stumbled upon a 1950s-style horse trailer. Giatras said they have since put more than 400 hours of labor into it and have had to learn many refurbishing skills themselves, such as welding, since the duo is operating on a limited budget.
The mobile draft trailer will pour 16-ounce servings of three brands of kombucha to start out with: Bucha Live Bucha, Revive Kombucha and GT Synergy. With a variety of brands comes a broad variety of taste – Kombucha Kulture will offer both mellow and more potent flavors.
“The best thing to compare it to is a bar with a well-rounded draft beer offering,” Giatras said. “That’s where we think our strength will be.”
The drink, which Giatras described as a slightly more vinegary mixture between champagne and apple cider, is not widely available on tap and is packed with health benefits — things she also believes will strengthen customer interest.
“I drink kombucha for many reasons, but started mostly because it was a low-calorie and healthful alternative to soda,” Sacramento resident and kombucha home-brewer Amy Kozak said. “My mood is always immediately lifted after drinking it, and I thrive on the brain buzz it gives me.”
The health benefits of kombucha were a selling point when Giatras took to the streets and handed out samples during the Second Saturday Art Walk in April. She said she was shocked to see how many newcomers liked what they tasted and that she is open to customer feedback.
(Image by: Kombucha Kulture Facebook)
“We are the first of our kind, and there isn’t anything to model after, so we’re kind of a blank slate,” Giatras said. “When you expand on something so narrow, you have to take everyone’s opinion into consideration. I think this is something we’re going to be really proud of.”
Kozak also acknowledged that Kombucha Kulture will be delving into a relatively untested business venture, but has nothing but high hopes for the future of the business.
“I think Sacramento will respond kindly to Kombucha Kulture,” Kozak said. “Kombucha has a huge following, and it’s only getting bigger. I feel like it’s a great time to invest, and I’m happy to see another healthy option in the Sacramento food industry.”