Drinking beverages made with live bacteria is all the rage right now — that’s right, the bubbly health beverage taking Charlotte by storm is in fact made from bacteria and yeast. Kombucha has surprisingly been around for thousands of years and is a fermented drink made from black or green tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Packed with probiotics and vitamins, this tea is said to improve digestion and immune function.
And now you can purchase bottles at almost any local grocery store or on tap at a local brewery, making it a refreshing alternative to alcohol.
Here are four of Charlotte’s local kombucha brewers to know:
What started out as a batch brewed in a dorm kitchen at Wake Forest has become a well-known brand amongst kombucha drinkers in North Carolina. UpDog Kombucha can be found all over North Carolina, as well as across state lines into Virginia and South Carolina. Look for its its bright colors and clean logo.
Founders: Lauren Miller and Olivia Wolff
Meaning of the name: The yoga-inspired name honors the posture called “upward-facing dog.”
Flavors include: Sun Salute (ginger turmeric), Lotus (hibiscus), Sphinx (mojito), Happy Baby (lavender), Wild Thing (apple ginger).
Where to find it: Y2 Yoga, Aerial CLT, BLOC, Pasta and Provisions, Lincoln’s Haberdashery, Roots Cafe, Pop the Top, Rhino Market and Deli: Uptown, Earl’s Grocery, Fern Flavors From the Garden, Sycamore Brewing.
The brainchild of two CMS middle school teachers, Queen B Booch is a new kombucha brand in Charlotte. According to the founders, their flavors are inspired by their love for food and their desire to ward off hangovers by using booch as a mixer. The brand can be distinguished by their fun, hip-hop-inspired flavor names.
Founders: Celia Arch and Katie Wright
Meaning of the name: The name is a reference to Queen City. And as the owners pointed out, they are the real queens.
Flavors include: Bad Boochie (lemon-lime), Ain’t Nothin But a Boochie Mama (grapefruit mint), I like Bug Booch (Mandarin Orange) and Dirty South (pineapple jalapeno).
Where to find it: Grabbagreen, Max and Lola’s, Rhino Market and Deli, and live events like Front Porch Sundays and Uptown Flea.
One of Charlotte’s more popular kombucha brands, Lenny Boy can be found all across the east coast. Their taproom (at 3000 S Tryon St.) is located in South End and offers a cool space with a variety of beverages, including organic kombucha, gluten-free wild ales, gluten-reduced beer, sours and traditional ales & lagers.
Founder: Townes Mozer
Meaning of the name: The business was named after Mozer’s late dog, Lennox.
Flavors include: Good ol’ Ginger, Lavenderade, Strawberry, Wake-Up Call, Elite Beet, Lost Rose, Sweet Potato Pie (seasonal), Root 2 (seasonal)
Where to find it: Whole Foods, EarthFare, Harris Teeter, Earl’s Grocery, Pasta and Provisions, Rhino Market Uptown, Chopt, Cabarrus Brewing Company, Pizza Peel, Sabor Latin Grill, Nourish Charlotte, Aerial CLT, Reid’s Fine Foods, Foxcroft Wine Co., Queen City Pantry.
Kombucha has always been a large part of husband and wife team, Alex and Sarah North’s, relationship. Passionate about gut health and overall well-being, they founded SUM Bucha. The two state on their website that they visit only local farms for fresh seasonal fruits, berries, herbs and flowers.
Founders: Alex and Sarah North
Meaning of the name: Early on in their business, Sarah would write equations of the ingredients on the bottle labels — and the resulting kombucha equaled the sum.
Flavors include: Strawberry Basil, Morning Glory, Flower Power, Pineapple, Lavender Lemonade, The Generator, Watermelon, The Enabler
Where to find it: Fahrenheit, Central Food Hub, The People’s Market, Legion Brewing, Free Range Brewing, Rhino Market, The White Water Center, White Birch Juice, Juice Bar, Budokon Academy, Enderly Coffee Co.