You might mistake it for a beer on the shelves, but Asheville Buchi Kombucha is a whole different breed of beverage. It starts out as black tea and sugar, but then living kombucha culture is added. The brew ferments for up to 10 weeks and then small, handcrafted batches are produced. The process transforms the ingredients into more complex beneficial compounds. In other words, it’s good for you. It’s a hot product around Asheville, N.C., where Asheville Buchi is located.
The company is the brainchild of two Asheville moms—Sarah Schomber and Jeannine Bucher—who combined their love for brewing kombucha. They got started in 2008. After getting rave reviews from family and friends, they expanded a bit offering the beverage at farmers markets. Then next step was the plunge into a full-fledged business in 2009—Asheville Buchi became the first commercial kombucha brewery in the southeast.
When the two moms met by way of homeschooling their kids, Jeannine says she had already been toying with the idea of starting a business. “Sarah’s husband was also telling her, ‘you need to find another mom to start a business with.'” After the two met and found they were both brewing kombucha, the brainstorming began.
Since then, their fan base has grown and includes celebrities like Fear Factor host Joe Rogan, who tweeted his love for Asheville Buchi, and Woody Harrelson who fell in love with the drink while on location in N.C. for the shooting of the first Hunger Games movie.
Varieties of their product include Buchi Fire, Buchi Water, Buchi Air, Buchi Earth, Buchi Unlimited, and the Very Merry Holiday Brew. Buchi can be found currently in 15 states primarily in the southeast.
Along with Buchi on tap at some Asheville restaurants—Green Sage, Rosetta’s Kitchen, Laughing Seed and Mamacita’s—and bottles on grocery store shelves, you can also sample Buchi sorbet at The Hop Ice Cream Café in Asheville. Speaking of sorbet, Jeannine says “we have partnered with Ultimate Ice Cream to provide Buchi sorbet to Whole Foods gelato cases at select store across the southeast. Buchi sorbet is also served in Ultimate Ice Cream’s two Asheville locations.”
Plus, Jeannine says they are developing a page on their website with instructions for creating Buchi mixed drinks. Her favorite is the Buchirita, which is a margarita crafted out of Buchi Unlimited, tequila and lime. There’s also fire and ice—Buchi Fire and Vodka on the rocks, and Air Gin—Buchi Air and Gin.
Plans for the future include development of more flavors and even the possibility of a storefront presence in downtown Asheville. Stay tuned!
Original photo by Kombucha Kamp/Alex LaGory