4 local kombucha brewers to know (and sip) in Charlotte

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Queen B Booch Kombucha on tap at Max and Lola Bodega in South End's Gold District. Photo by Katie Toussaint

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:

UpDog Kombucha

Photo courtesy of Updog Kombucha

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.

Founded: 2016

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.

[Related: Why two twenty-somethings launched UpDog Kombucha, and where to find it]

Queen B Booch

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.

Founded: 2018

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.

Lenny Boy Kombucha

courtesy of Lenny Boy

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.

Founded: 2012

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.

SUM Bucha

Courtesy of SUM Bucha

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.

Founded: 2017

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.

[Related: Meet the couple behind SUM Bucha kombucha, and get a glimpse of their taproom plans]

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