Cheers May 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 36 of 51 37 May 2016 • KOMBUCHA MAY SEEM ACETIC TO SOME, but the tangy fermented "living tea" is converting consumers on-premise. Once relegated to the health- beverage category and sold mostly through natural-food stores, kombucha is now boosting its profile as a mixer and on tap. Fermented from a base of infused tea, sweetened with a bit of sugar and often enhanced with spices, herbs, fruits and even vegetable flavors, kombucha derives its distinctive taste from its SCOBY. That's the acronym for "symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast," similar to a starter for sourdough bread or the mother culture used to make vinegar. Anyone who is familiar with a Belgian lambic or sour ale can sell and promote draft kombucha by the glass. From Seattle to Charlotte, mixologists are finding ways to blend the fermented flavors of kombucha into cocktails, or even present kombucha in stemware, just like sparkling wine. It's time to tap into kombucha By Lucy Saunders "We like to carry really full-flavored products, and kombucha fits well with our mission." — Alibeth Vandergrift, bartender at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, MI, often uses the Unity Vibration ginger kombucha as a base for cocktails. Deanne Gustafson, owner of Kombucha on Tap in Oceanside, CA, promotes different brands of kombucha to on-premise accounts across southern California. "The best-known brand is GT's Synergy, made here in California but distributed nationwide," Gustafson says. Other brands include Health-Ade, the BU and Good Chefs. At Le Papagayo Leucadia in Encintas, CA, kombucha on tap complements the 16 draft beers and cocktail program. Much of the menu, from crab enchiladas to steak tacos with salsa verde, matches well with flavors in kombucha cocktails. One is the Kombucha Guava, a blend of guava nectar, GT's Trilogy fermented with raspberry, lemon and ginger. Priced at $12 for 10 oz., the drink is presented with lemon and fresh mint. TO YOUR HEALTH "When you first taste kombucha, it may remind you of a Belgian sour ale," says Tarek Kanaan, cofounder of kombucha beer brewery Unity Vibration in Yspilanti, MI. "It's got an incredibly complex fermentation with many cultures present in the SCOBY mix, such as lactobacillus, acetobacters, saccharomyces, brettanomyces and more flavor compounds depending on the base tealeaf blend." Kombucha fits with special diets such as gluten free, Paleo, vegan and vegetarian. Claims of healthfulness based on live cultures and probiotics

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