Crafting a Kombucha Life – Part II May 18, 2015 Lifestyle Interests By: Shawndra Russell Perhaps the first big milestone for kombucha came in 1999 when Whole Foods got on board the kombucha bandwagon. As Inc. Magazine noted in their article, “Meet the King of Kombucha,” Whole Foods holds the “extraordinary power to pluck an obscure brand out of the wild and give it previously unimagined exposure,” which is what happened for one of the top two kombucha brands, GT’s Kombucha in 1999. Since then, many other kombucha brewers have cropped up, and Whole Foods locations continue to support their local brewers. In my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina that brand is Buchi, which launched operations in 2008. The two moms behind this business have quickly shot up the kombucha ranks thanks in part to receiving two Whole Foods Market Local Producer Loans and plenty of shelf space in over 28 Whole Food stores in the Southeast. Errol Schweizer, executive global grocery coordinator for Whole Foods Market, told CNBC that “kombucha now occupies about one-third of our refrigerated functional-beverage shelf space.” Buchi’s popularity also spurred the opening of a The Buchi Bar downstairs at Rosetta’s Kitchen in Asheville, and plenty of other restaurants and bars are starting to put kombucha on draft (is their one in your city? If so, send me an email at Shawndra@shawndrarussell.com and I’ll try to feature it). The beautiful basement Buchi Bar in Asheville teems with living walls and large windows that stand wide open during warm days. More importantly, they serve up a flight of six Buchi kombucha flavors for only $5—a great way to find your favorite (mine is a tie between Buchi’s Avonlea and Seed flavors) along with mixing their kombucha into some funky cocktails of the alcoholic and nonalcoholic variety. Be on the lookout for a kombucha update on Jollity soon.