Interview: Boochman, Berkeley, California

Boochman Kombucha has opened the first kombucha taproom in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their new space, located on the western fringes Berkeley at 915 University Ave (a couple of blocks up University from the I-80 freeway where there is ample free parking) serves up a variety of ‘booch they brew on the premises and in local commercial kitchens.

A Family Affair

Two sets of sibling started Boochman in 2018. Denisse Padilla and her brother Jose are from Mexico and brothers Mustafa and Numan Karabiyik from Turkey. Numan is the “Boochman” — the kombucha brewer who the company is named for, and who is shown standing in front of the landmark UC Berkeley Campanile on their logo.

Boochman sell their kombucha on tap at nine Bay Area farmers markets, from San Jose in the south to Marin in the north. A number of local cafes and restaurants carry their ‘booch, including Ocean View Brew Works in Albany and The Station in Berkeley. They plan to supply kegerators for people who would like to have kombucha on tap in their own homes.

Alcohol Alternative

One challenge with the new location is the number of people who stop by the “Kombucha Bar” looking for a beer. The Karabiyiks do not drink alcohol for religious reasons (they are Muslim); Denisse Padilla said she gave up alcohol six years ago. Since they all live a dry lifestyle, they were interested in opening a taproom for others like them.

Boochman offers a variety of flavors by the glass ($4.75) and by the growler ($12.25). I tried the Current with Cloves, Ginger with Sage and Strawberry Hops. All were delicious, with a clean and authentic taste. They offer ‘Original’ or un-flavored ‘booch on request.

Podcast

I spoke with the Boochman — Numan Karabiyik — who told me about the history of company, plans for the future and how much kombucha he personally drinks per day. To hear what he told me, click on the podcast icon below.

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