Kombucha is relatively new in Scotland, why did you decide to set up your Glasgow brewery?
I am originally from Victoria BC, Canada. The kombucha market is pretty huge in North America. Whenever Alan (husband and other half of Clever Kombucha) and I go back to Canada to visit we have no shortage of kombucha to enjoy on a daily basis. This is something that we greatly missed once returning home to Glasgow. The limited kombucha brands available just weren’t to our liking so we decided to start making our own. We loved it so much that Clever Kombucha was born.
We’re intrigued to find out more! Can you tell us what Kombucha is and how it is made?
Kombucha is a fermented tea-based probiotic drink. It originated in China and has been consumed for thousands of years for it’s endless health benefits. Kombucha is made from sweet tea and a SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast). We brew our kombucha in custom made oak barrels. Fermenting in oak creates a flavour profile that is impossible to replicate using industry standard stainless steel tanks. The tea ferments in our oak barrels for around 2-3 weeks. We stick to traditional methods of first and second fermentation. During our second fermentation we add raw fruit and herbs which infuse with our base kombucha. The fruit and herbs are removed once the flavour is perfect and the kombucha is then ready to be bottled. The final product is a kombucha with a well balanced acidity, slightly effervescent and full of alive enzymes and good bacteria for you to benefit from.
How do you source your ingredients?
We are committed to using only the highest grade organic tea. We use organic whole leaf Assam tea produced by a co-operative of 6 small scale tea growers in India. They harvest the finest Assam tea and in turn are paid fairly helping to bring sustainability to their rural community. We hand pick only the freshest fruit and herbs to flavour our kombucha. We source locally where possible.
Can you tell us any fascinating facts about Kombucha that might surprise us?
If left to ferment for long enough kombucha can be turned into vinegar and makes a delicious vinaigrette mixed with a dash of oil. SCOBYs can be dehydrated and turned into doggy treats and can also be blended up and used on the skin as a facial mask. Waste not want not!
We’ve heard it can be mixed with alcohol to make a healthy evening tipple. Do you have a favourite drink to pair it with?
Kombucha can be added to your favourite mixology recipes for a healthy and delicious alternative to the usual mixers. A must try is our Lychee Lavender served over ice with Gin and a wedge of lemon. The kombucha replaces the tonic. It’s pretty special!
Any exciting plans coming up that you can share with us?
Our minds and hearts are full with ideas for Clever Kombucha. We are currently looking to do a special whisky cask kombucha. Hopefully this release will be available in bars and restaurants around Glasgow in the near future.
Lastly, where can we find Clever Kombucha?
We are currently stocked throughout Scotland in retailers such as Café Strange Brew, Roots & Fruits, Jan de Vries Healthcare, Foodstory Café, Nature’s Larder, Pillars of Hercules, The Juicing Company and the Superstore. We will be adding a stockists page to our website very soon.