In terms of recorded history, the drink known as kombucha started somewhere in Chine around 221 B.C., and found itself resurfacing in places like 19th century Eastern Europe, and later in pre-war Germany and Austria. It is a fermented tea that has been used for a number of medicinal purposes including energy booster, producing stomach acids, and better eyesight. And while none of these claims have in fact been scientifically proven, one thing is for certain, the drink seems to be popping up everywhere again in 21st century Brooklyn. From corner bodegas to organic and natural food stores from Park Slope to Greenpoint, the drink has had a spike in sales, perhaps due to the yoga culture that has seen a popular reemergence in the last decade.
Whatever the case, Eric Childs and Rick Miller decided the time was ripe to bottle the fermented beverage right here in our home borough, and slap on the label Kombucha Brooklyn (or KBBK)—and they have made Greenpoint the testing ground for their product, in hopes that they can get the beverage to new people who would otherwise forgo trying anything that could be considered “exotic.” They have done this by getting the word—and their product—out to places one might not expect to see such an elixir, like Brouwerij Lane, the small Greenpoint bar where Kombuch Brooklyn will be available next to the huge selection of specialty, craft and imported beers. Patrons are now able to refill growlers, bottles, etc. full of their two new flavors, NYC Passion and Red Ginger Root. The company is also donating a percentage of the proceeds to local non-profits.
Having Kombucha Brooklyn coming out of a keg, however, is nothing new to Kombucha Brooklyn, “we typically use a keg at local markets to provide the freshest Kombucha available” Miller says, proving that his product can stand alongside bottles of German pilsner and indie brews for Oregon. But Miller doesn’t think beer is the only libation that Kombucha Brooklyn should be thought of alongside. He believes that kombucha could be mixed with just about any spirit to create the next great wave of cocktails. “I challenge all the bartenders out there to experiment with mixing and share their results with us!” But fancy lounge or shot-and-a-beer joint, Miller doesn’t discriminate, “whether a bar is a dive or fancy doesn’t concern us” he says, but notes that Kombucha Brooklyn is “good beer alternative and mixer”, so if you find yourself being offered a cranberry Kombucha and vodka concoction at an upscale bar in Manhattan, or find yourself kicking back with your friends enjoying a growler full of the tea, Miller has done his part.
While Kombucha Brooklyn is another name on a long list of small, food artisans based in Brooklyn, it’s easy to notice that their sense of adventure in getting their product noticed is unmatched.
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