Local hard kombucha company’s growth far surpasses craft beer.
San Diego’s a craft beer town, but that may be changing.
Boochcraft, a high ABV kombucha company, released its first products to the public in March 2016. In the time since, they went from brewing 1,000 barrels a year to just over 9,000 by the end of 2018. With their latest expansion into an 18,000-square-foot brewery in Chula Vista, Boochcraft is now poised to produce 70,000–80,000 barrels per year, according to Todd Kent, one of the co-founders and CEO.
“We made a big bet on the future. We’ve seen a lot of success early on, triple digit growth year over year in the territories that we’ve been open in … but up until this recent expansion, we’ve been largely under-serving everything but Southern California, and even under-serving Southern California from a demand standpoint,” Kent said.
To celebrate the expansion, a new canning line, the company’s three year anniversary, and forthcoming release of two new core flavors, Boochcraft took over Barrio Logan event space Bread & Salt on April 7. Upon entry, guests were able to select their goblet for the evening from a sweeping display of vintage mugs that would put any swap meet booth to shame.
Once inside, multiple bars offered unique cocktails mixed with various Boochcraft flavors, as well as the brand new varieties that hit shelves on April 10. Co-founder and Chief Brewing Officer Andrew Clark revealed the inspiration behind the new core flavors: Lemon, Maple and Thyme, as well as a Pomegranate, Orange and Beet.
Regarding the Lemon, Maple and Thyme Clark said: “We’ve combined three master senses, so you have the super sour, the super sweet from the maple, and the super savory from the thyme all coming together for this package. Then we have the pomegranate, orange, beet with a little rosemary as a kicker in the back to satisfy this tropical component.”
As with all of Boochcraft’s offerings, the two new varietals are certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, and use raw ingredients at 7% ABV. That buzzy boost is what helped set them apart from the rest of the industry segment, according to the third co-founder and CMO, Adam Hiner.
“We were going to do 1% kombucha originally. Then (we had) the idea for the higher alcohol content and buyers at grocery stores, Whole Foods, distributors were way more excited about the higher alcohol content kombucha. We were just like, ‘wow, we can create something new.’”
Boochcraft is no longer one of the only high alcohol kombucha breweries in the United States. By the co-founders’ estimations, the number of direct competitors has at tripled, if not quadrupled. Some of those newbies to the industry include macro-beverage conglomerates like AB InBev edging into the space. But Kent thinks they’re well positioned at the forefront of the change.
“It’s not a fad, it’s a trend,” he said. “There is this better-for-you alcohol category that we exist inside of and we see this as something that people are really moving towards.”
Boochcraft is currently available through Stone Distribution across Southern California, and is hosting an Arizona Launch Week from April 15–20. A San Luis Obispo Launch Week will follow in May, with Oregon and Washington coming later this year. There are also plans for a new North County tasting room in early 2020. Follow @boochcraft for the latest news.