Renewal Kombucha Raises a Glass to Good Health
When Jeremy Sayer vacationed in Oregon a few years ago, he tried varieties of small batch kombucha, a sparkling fermented tea drink with live probiotic cultures, served cold and fizzy. The drink was popular on the West Coast, but Sayer had difficulty finding local kombucha producers when he returned home to Pennsylvania, so he researched how to make his own. He started giving it to family and friends, and in 2015, Renewal Kombucha was born.
Renewal Kombucha has locations in Lititz and West Reading, where Sayer produces and sells kombucha in 64-and 32-ounce refillable growler jugs, and single servings. Both locations have a taproom where customers can get samples and tasting flights. There are three flagship flavors- hibiscus mint green tea, white tea lemongrass and purple butterfly- as well as many seasonal flavors.
Sayer has fun experimenting with different flavors, and his kombucha brewing process is unique compared to other smaller kombucha producers. “We try to keep the sugar content very low,” he says. “We don’t add sweeteners, extracts or juices after the fermentation process is complete. Some brands do actually add sweetener to make it a little more palatable.” Also unique to Renewal Kombucha is that flavor is added when Sayer steeps the main tea, instead of adding flavor in a secondary process or to the keg.
The probiotics in kombucha mean healthy bacteria for the body, which can benefit the digestive system. Sayer adds that the fermentation process also adds healthy acids, and that antioxidants present in ingredients used to make kombucha can be good for cell tissue and blood.
Farmers’ markets, which are ideal settings for customer interaction and sampling, have been a big part of Renewal Kombucha’s business model since the beginning. Renewal Kombucha still has a monthly presence at the West Reading Farmers’ Market, and they hold tastings at local partner business and community events. They recently participated in Lancaster PA VegFest and West Reading Earth Day Cleanup.
Sayer says Renewal Kombucha has been well received since they first started. “We’ve found that in the Lancaster/Berks area, people were excited about kombucha, and the general awareness of what kombucha is and the fact that it might have some health benefits has grown a lot,” he notes. “Science is catching up with ancient wisdom, and as we learn more about microbes, research now shows there’s a reason people felt good when they drank kombucha.”
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