Kombucha is an ancient, fermented tea beverage that has a natural effervescence full of probiotics, antioxidants and B vitamins. Those who drink it will tout its health benefits and tastiness, and the trend is quickly catching on.
Kombucha enthusiasts Jared and Deanne Goodman Gustafson are on a mission to get the healthy drink on tap in locations throughout Southern California. The recently married couple founded their business, Kombucha on Tap, to do just that. Clients in locations from San Diego to Temecula and now in Orange County have already gotten on board, and why not? Kombucha is the fastest growing health beverage, and U.S. sales topped $500 million last year.
LCHAIM Magazine: What is kombucha and why drink it?
Deanne (Goodman) Gustafson: Kombucha is a live, raw, gluten-free, non-GMO, certified organic, fermented tea. It has actually been around for thousands of years, but lately it has been growing in popularity among health food lovers.
It’s a probiotic drink with helpful bacteria that support digestion and the immune system. It also contains enzymes, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols.
LCHAIM: What are the health benefits of drinking kombucha?
DG: Drinking kombucha has been linked to detoxification, increased energy and immunity. Kombucha’s antioxidant activity has been found to be 100 times higher than vitamin C and 25 times higher than vitamin E.
LCHAIM: Does kombucha have any alcohol in it?
DGG: The longer it ferments, the higher the alcohol percentage, but the stuff you buy in the store is regulated, so not very much, and it’s considered alcohol free. That being said, it makes a great mixer for an adult beverage. We even served kombucha on tap at our wedding!
Some of my favorites are beerbuchas, which is a pint glass of half beer and half kombucha on tap, but you can also make a kombucharita, like a margarita with kombucha, and there are also great craft cocktails to create with kombucha, including Moscow Mules.
LCHAIM: How did you get started in this business?
DGG: My husband and I both come from a media background, and I tagged along on a trip to Bend, Oregon, for one of his media events. While we were there, we noticed there was kombucha on tap literally everywhere we went. I am big into kombucha, and he had never even had it, so I made him drink it everywhere we went on that trip, and he enjoyed it.
Later, we realized that this had the potential to be a big deal, because no one was offering this in Southern California, and we are people that enjoy a healthy lifestyle. We started this business because it was the perfect blend of our active lives and it promotes healthy living, so we just started working with companies to distribute their kombucha on tap.
LCHAIM: How many companies do you work with currently?
DGG: Right now, we have two kombucha companies that we work with and we distribute their drinks on tap at all of our client’s locations. Between the two companies, there are currently 12 flavor options.
GT’s is a national brand that has been brewing kombucha since 1995, and there are a lot of different, all really good, flavors. Anne’s Kombucha is a local brewer that brews small batches that are hand crafted. We distribute both GT’s and Anne’s in kegs to our clients at coffee shops, restaurants and even bars!
LCHAIM: Why do you personally like kombucha?
DGG: There are so many reasons to like kombucha! It’s really great for you. Personally, I feel a lot better when I drink it. There are also so many probiotics in it, that it really cleans your gut, and a healthy gut is linked to a healthy mind.
LCHAIM: Why not just buy the bottled stuff?
DGG: When kombucha is on tap, it’s smoother than in the bottle, fresher, and it’s a little more bubbly. It’s kind of like the difference between beer in a bottle versus beer on tap. It’s all about taste!
Kombucha Quick Facts:
Immunity- the drink’s antioxidant power protects against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, suppressed immunity, and tumors. Drinkers get sick less often.
Gastric illnesses – Kombucha balances intestinal floral, curbing stomach and intestinal issues.
Obesity- Kombucha helps balance the metabolism, aids in weight loss.
Diabetes – Research dating back to 1929 found kombucha can decrease blood sugar levels.
Kidney and liver toxicity- Kombucha may help eliminate kidney and liver damage.
Lower cholesterol – studies show kombucha may decrease total cholesterol as much as 45–52%. It may also significantly decrease triglyceride and LDL levels while increasing HDL.
Hypertension – Kombucha has been used to prevent headaches and dizziness caused by hypertension and has been recommended for treating high blood pressure.
Anemia – enhances the absorption of iron and helps prevent iron deficiency, great for vegetarians.
Nervous System – It can help with headaches, nervousness, and epilepsy prevention.
Prevent depression – healthy gut probiotics release serotonin (happy feelings) through the body.
Asthma – Daily kombucha may help asthma patients.
Joint Problems- It may also help relieve arthritis, rheumatism, and gout.
To learn more and to inquire about serving kombucha on tap at your business, or to learn about how you can have kombucha on tap at home, visit kombuchaontap.net.