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A guide to San Diego’s favorite hard kombuchas

A four-pack of Nova Easy Kombucha, which is sold throughout San Diego County and available at its Ocean Beach tasting room
In addition to craft beer, San Diego is now known for its hard kombucha brands. Pictured is a four-pack of Nova Easy Kombucha, which is sold throughout San Diego County as well as available at its Ocean Beach tasting room.
(Courtesy of Nova)

These San Diego-based breweries offer a healthier alternative to our beloved craft beer

As the Craft Beer Capital of America, it’s common knowledge that San Diego is renowned for its breweries. And in recent years, many other craft beverages have taken over the city — including hard kombucha.

Kombucha, the fermented tea believed by some to offer myriad health benefits, can be transformed into an alcoholic option with a few changes to the brewing process, providing drinkers a pleasant buzz. (Regular kombucha also touts a small alcohol percentage of about 0.5% ABV, but hard kombucha hovers around 6-8% ABV, comparable to beer.)

READ MORE: I Tried: Baking “Sprite Pie” ... with hard kombucha

Often advertised as organic, vegan-friendly and gluten-free with low sugar and probiotics, hard kombucha is considered to be a healthier alternative to other forms of alcohol. Grocery stores and retailers across San Diego County now stock a selection of hard kombucha from all over the country.

Turns out many those brands are brewed in our own backyard. So if you want to support local, here are a few San Diego-based hard kombucha businesses to check out (listed in alphabetical order).

Babe Kombucha

About: Babe Kombucha offers a variety of low-ABV kombucha, along with an alcoholic line that launched in October 2020.Babe Hard Kombucha, which has 0.5 gram of sugar per ounce, is currently available in three flavors.
Flavors: Piña Colada (pineapple and coconut), Mango Sunrise (mango and orange), and Cosmo (cranberry and blood orange)
Buzz: 7% ABV
Visit: Swing by its tasting room in Morena, located at 5401 Linda Vista Road, Ste. #409.
Find it: Available to buy at the Morena tasting room and stocked at retailers around San Diego, including all Barons Market locations.

Boochcraft

About: In 2016, three friends living in Ocean Beach started Boochcraft, a hard kombucha company with a Chula Vista-based brewery. Since its founding, Boochcraft has expanded distribution to eight states.
Flavors: Apple Jasmine, Ginger Lime, Grapefruit Hibicus, Lemon Maple, and Orange Pomegranate, along with seasonal limited releases and its small batch Heirloom Series
Buzz: 7% ABV
Visit: Boochcraft’s first tasting room will be at Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Sky Deck, which was scheduled to open in 2020 but is now anticipated for Spring 2021.
Find it: Sold at stores throughout San Diego; search for a nearby location at boochcraft.com/try-buy.

A can of one of Boochcraft's flavors, Grapefruit Hibiscus
(Anastasia Flaherty)

READ MORE: In a beer mecca, kombucha gets crafty

Bootstrap Kombucha

About: According to co-founder Susan McMillion, Bootstrap Kombucha was the first commercial kombucha brewery to open in San Diego. Bootstrap, which began production in 2015, mainly pours low-ABV kombucha options, but recently launched its first hard kombucha: Reboot.
Flavors: Flavors are still being finalized, but offerings will include Oak-aged Apple as well as a series of botanicals.
Buzz: Approximately 6% ABV
Visit: Bootstrap’s tasting room is located at 4085 Pacific Highway, Ste. 105B.
Find it: While Southern California distribution is on the horizon, Reboot is currently available exclusively at Bootstrap’s taproom in 32-ounce crowlers.

One of Bootstrap's current Reboot flavors is Oak-aged Tart Cherry, which has a 5.5 percent ABV
One of Bootstrap’s current Reboot flavors is Oak-aged Tart Cherry, which has a 5.5 percent ABV
(Courtesy of Susan McMillion)

JuneShine

About: What started as two University of San Diego graduates brewing out of their garage is now a widely distributed brand. JuneShine, which has nationwide delivery and is stocked on shelves in cities as far as New York, also has two local taprooms.
Flavors: Blood Orange Mint, Midnight Painkiller, Hopical Citrus, Acai Berry and Honey Ginger Lemon, along with a 100-calorie line featuring Hibiscus Lime and Pineapple Orange
Buzz: 6% ABV
Visit: JuneShine’s two tasting rooms are in North Park at 3052 El Cajon Blvd. and Scripps Ranch at 10051 Old Grove Road, with the latter dubbed “JuneShine Ranch.”
Find it: Pick up JuneShine at one of its tasting rooms, buy at various San Diego retailers, or shop online at juneshine.com/collections/drinks.

Four of JuneShine's flavors: Blood Orange Mint, Midnight Painkiller, Hopical Citrus and Honey Ginger Lemon
(Courtesy of JuneShine)

READ MORE: JuneShine’s future shines bright with Scripps Ranch opening

Local Roots

About: In 2017, a shared passion for health and wellness between two San Diegan cousins blossomed into the company Local Roots Hard Kombucha. Two years later, the Vista-based brewery company began canning and distributing product throughout the county.
Flavors: Cali Mule (ginger and lime), Booch Mosa (orange, ginger and turmeric), Strawberry Mojito (strawberry, lemon and mint), Purple Haze (blueberry and ginger), and Island Vibes (coconut, pineapple and blue spirilina)
Buzz: 6% ABV
Visit: Head to Vista to visit Local Roots Kombucha’s taproom called “The Boochyard,” located at 1430 Vantage Court, Ste. 101.
Find it: Pick up Local Roots at its Vista tasting room, buy at various San Diego retailers, or shop online at localrootskombucha.com/collections/products-for-delivery.

Cans of Local Roots Kombucha, available in a variety of flavors
(Kyle Cannon)

Nova Easy Kombucha

About: Nova Easy Kombucha is an offshoot of Novo Brazil Brewing, a family-owned brewery founded in 2015 with two Chula Vista locations. In 2018, the beer-focused brewery began brewing hard kombucha, resulting in sister brand Nova.
Flavors: Mint, Watermelon; Sexy Piña Colada, Peach, Passion Fruit; Mango, Ginger; Orange Brunch; Tangerine Turmeric; Lavender, Hibiscus; Acai Berry, Guarana; and Amarena Cherry
Buzz: 6% ABV (except Sexy Piña Colada, which is 8% ABV)
Visit: In October 2020,Nova opened a tasting room in Ocean Beach, located 4845 Newport Ave.
Find it: Pick up Nova at its Ocean Beach tasting room, buy at various San Diego retailers, or shop online at novakombucha.com/shop.

Nova Easy Kombucha's flavor Mint, Watermelon
(Courtesy of Nova)


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