Fermented teas like kombucha have been around for millennia, rooted in many Indigenous and Asian cultures. They have recently grown in popularity, nearly doubling from $1 billion in sales in 2014 to $1.8 billion in 2019. Independent kombucha breweries have popped up all over the U.S., including a handful of local start-ups in neighboring Salt Lake Valley. These mountain-grown businesses are bringing their own local flavors to a long-standing tradition.
Mamachari has been around the longest, with a low-key warehouse taproom in Salt Lake City and a presence at local farmers markets since 2013. Their core bottled line is augmented by creative, rotating flavors on tap as well as water kefirs, or tibicos, sold as their “Tibi” line. mamachari.cc
Where to find it: The Market, Whole Foods, Harmons, Natural Grocers, and on tap at the Copper Moose Farm Stand
The latest on the scene, Han’s was started by University of Utah student Hannah Hendrickson in 2018. Han’s will move to a brewing space in the Salt Lake Ballpark District this fall and add a taproom and community space next spring, where they will host yoga, meditation classes, and seminars. Their welcoming ethos extends to how they make their kombucha: “We really try to brew a product that’s approachable for everybody’s palate,” says co-owner Kate Lubing. hanskombucha.com
Where to find it: Park City hangouts such as Lucky Ones, Five5eeds, Pink Elephant, Atticus, and Luna’s Kitchen
Kombucha is fermented with a SCOBY, a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast that feeds on the sugar in a brewed tea base. Water kefir, which involves a shorter ferment from small “grains” of bacteria and yeast, is often less tangy than kombucha. Both end up effervescent and filled with probiotics, gut bacteria that can support the body’s health.
Founders Christian Alber and Zach Twombly are passionate about experimenting with fermentation and flavor combinations. They started selling at farmers markets in 2016 and opened a taproom in Salt Lake City this March. Alber says they enjoy tapped kombucha because it enables them “to talk to customers ... and eliminate an enormous amount of waste through refilling and reusing.” crukombucha.com
Where to find it: Cru taproom in SLC and outlets including Hello Bulk, Laziz, and Tea Zaanti
Also founded in 2016, Sünnte (pronounced soon-tea) is based in Ogden and named in a nod to the founders’ Norwegian heritage. They use all fair-trade ingredients and different teas to create their flavorful brews. sunnte.com
Where to find it: On tap at The Market, Park City Coffee Roasters, and other locations around town