To get to the elevator bank that takes you up to Kombucha Brooklyn’s packaging and research space in Williamsburg, I first had to walk through dozens of creepy-looking hospital patients in gowns. And considering that kombucha is an ancient Asian tea known all over the world for its health and medicinal benefits, the irony was not lost on me.
As the end of the line of patients gave way to walkie-talkies, cameras and the crafts-and-services table, however, it became evident that this very strange hospital on the ground floor of the old Pfizer Building in Brooklyn was actually a TV show set (a new series called Unforgettable, in case you were wondering). The actual KB space, up on the nearly empty and massive 4th floor, had much more of a Breaking Bad vibe—part science lab, part packaging plant.
TV chit chat aside, Kombucha Brooklyn founder Eric Childs loves the storied location where his four-year-old company is based (he rattled off the Pfizer Building’s history in what seemed like under a minute) and especially the strange sort of serendipity that comes with making a natural elixir in the former home of a pharmaceutical giant—the KB studio is housed in the former production space for Viagra, of all things—which means that their workspace came with built-in FDA approval for packaging and fermenting. Score!
Another happy surprise? Eric’s passion and devotion for kombucha came from two former careers that, unexepectedly, led him straight to it. First, he worked for many years at an art gallery that specialized in ancient Asian art and culture; after that, he spent time working at a Manhattan wine bar and simply “fell in love with wine.” (It happens.) Wondering what the connection there is? Simply put, tannins. These natural compounds are found in both wine and kombucha, and have a lot to do with the flavor profile of both beverages. After spending years working closely with wine, Eric turned his now highly-developed palate to kombucha.
Even though he’d been drinking what he lovingly refers to as “buch” for years—and credits it with clearing up what he called “a pretty bad case of adult acne” as well as chronic heartburn—Eric was too scared to drink his first batch. Like many newbies, he was a little intimidated in the beginning. It’s that sense of intimidation, in fact, that led him to create the Kombucha Kits in our sale: it gives you everything you need, including the “scoby” or starter culture, along with clear, simple instructions.
The company’s signature blend of organic black, green and white teas are brewed in the first stage; if you want to take your “buch” to another level, add KB’s freeze-dried fruit blends for flavors like Red Ginger, Green Apple or Mango.
You can even do like the head brewer at KB’s New England manufacturing base and talk to your scoby. It’s alive, you know. We hear Breaking Bad is its favorite show…