Profile: JuneShine Hard Kombucha, San Diego, California
Hard Kombucha is the coming thing. While most ‘booch on the shelves has a minimal 0.5% ABV alcohol content, a growing number of brands specialize in “hard” ‘booch with alcohol content ranging from 2% up to 7% or more. Like hard cider and mead, this offer drinkers a healthy alternative to their usual tipple.
With the tagline “Honest Alcohol for a Healthier Planet”, San Diego-based JuneShine – appropriately launched in *June* of 2018 – has the mission to quench the thirst of the healthy and active, while positively impacting the environment.
JuneShine manufactures and sells organic hard (6.0% ABV) jun kombucha. While a large variety of flavors are on draft in their taprooms, the company currently distributes four flavors in both cans (Blood Orange Mint, Honey Ginger Lemon, Midnight Painkiller, and Cucumber Mojito).
Jun kombucha is brewed with honey and green tea. Many consider that it has a smoother taste than traditional kombucha, and it’s available from multiple brands in both low alcohol as well as “hard” versions.
The JuneShine Story
The founders noticed there was a sustainable, transparent option in nearly every consumer category on the grocery shelves–except alcohol. This led them to ask: why do we know so much about the food we eat, where every box of cereal and package of cookies has complete nutritional information, but so little information is on a typical bottle of the alcohol we drink?
They start by brewing organic green tea, honey, together with a SCOBY, to produce jun kombucha. A secondary fermentation with yeast and organic cane sugar then elevates the alcohol content to a standard 6% ABV that is flavored with organic juices and spices. Like traditional kombucha, JuneShine contains probiotics, antioxidants, and vitamins. Plus, an added buzz.
Earlier this year they completed a funding round that has enabled them to acquire brewing equipment at Ballast Point’s Scripps Ranch facility at 10051 Old Grove Road in San Diego. This is now known as Juneshine Ranch and 25 (count ‘em!) flavors are available on tap. The Ranch has the capacity to produce 100,000 barrels. An additional 18 flavors are served at their 2,000-barrel capacity North Park brew house at 3052 El Cajon Blvd.
As we’ve previously noted JuneShine’s social media footprint is greatly amplified (50x) by a bevy of brand ambassadors. Their Instagram features updates on new flavors, taproom opening hours and availability as they expand their markets. Since our February story they have more than doubled their number of Instagram followers to over 67,000.
We recently talked with JunesShine’s Chief Brewing Officer Greg Peters who joined the company from the craft beer industry. Greg spoke to us about what motivated him to join Juneshine (his first taste of Blood Orange Mint convinced him!). He talked us through each step of the brewing process and evaluated the potential for hard kombucha over the coming years. To hear what he said, click on the podcast icon below.