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When most people think “kombucha” they imagine a health tonic or gut-friendly soft drink with high levels of good bacteria, yeast, enzymes and organic acids that assist in balancing and healing gut flora. For us at L.A Brewery this is a valuable secondary benefit of kombucha, and what we love first and foremost is its ability to bring a complexity that stands up to the moments when you’d otherwise be drinking.
The strains of bacteria and yeast produced in the fermentation process are similar to those used in beer and winemaking and contribute to flavour and complexity but without the alcohol. These flavours can be enhanced and manipulated with flowers like hops and botanical extracts to create something totally unique and full flavoured but doesn’t have to go through the de-alcoholisation process which can often strip taste and mouthfeel from drinks. For me, kombucha is one of those very unique drinks that can trigger all of the taste receptors on your tongue – sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami – something quite rare outside of food, and a very satisfying experience.
‘Mindful drinking’ and moderation trends continue to grow, with more and more of the population seeking out unique alternatives to alcohol that don’t compromise on taste. In a recent study, Wine Intelligence found that nearly 40% of wine-drinkers are actively moderating their alcohol intake, and a proportion of these seeking out valid non-alcoholic “spacers” for in between their alcoholic drinks.
Delis and speciality fine food retailers will be a key port of call for consumers to discover innovative and refined non-alcoholic options this summer.