Profile: The Bucha’s Dog, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Dr. Peter Barrett named his company after the British phrase “Feel as fit as the butcher’s dog“, which, especially when spoken with a Northern Irish accent, sounds rather like someone is saying The Bucha’s Dog. As the first, and possibly only, commercial kombucha brewer in Northern Ireland, the story of his decision to make kombucha is as unique as the company name.
Peter has a Ph.D. in agronomy and was aware of fermentation in the dairy industry. Specifically, he is an expert in anaerobic digestion that uses fermentation on a large scale as a source of renewable energy.
He read about kombucha, was fascinated, but could not find any to taste in the shops of Belfast. So he sent away for a SCOBY, brewed a batch, and took his very first taste of ‘booch from that fermentation. A half-dozen years later he launched The Bucha’s Dog and, 12 months after selling his first batch, is on the verge of expanding to a larger facility.
The Founders Story
Peter launched at a seasonal farmers market in Belfast last December. He found that, while some locals who had traveled to the UK and USA knew of ‘booch, many in the region had never heard of it.
However, apple cider vinegar is a popular digestive aid, especially among the older generation. To this end, his labels declare it is a “Craft *Tonic* Brew”.
His initial sales, after the success of the seasonal farmers market, were in health food and specialty shops. He’s now selling into bars, pubs, and restaurants across Northern Ireland.
The whimsy in the company name extends to the names he gives to his flavors:
- Lightening McGreen: an ‘original’ brand fermented from a green tea, sourced from a single Kenyan estate.
- Assamson & Goliath: another ‘original’ brand, fermented from an Irish Breakfast style Assam tea.
- The Haymaker: A blend of green & black tea with apples, lemon, and ginger.
- The Hoptomist: Adding grapefruit, peach, and hops, this is styled on a West Coast IPA. This gives beer drinkers an alcohol-free alternative. Plus, their latest blend:
- Life of Chai: A winter spiced kombucha.
Peter expects to continue adding flavors based on different teas and looks forward to welcoming other brands to the region to help expand awareness of the category. His new facility has an 8,000L capacity.
To hear the story of The Bucha’s Dog in Peter’s own words, click on the podcast icon below.