17 Kombucha Brewery Videos
Back in 2011, Lion Heart kombucha posted a short video of their production process to YouTube. They commented:
[We are] revealing all of our secrets…well, they’re not really secrets. We made this video because we are proud of how we do things!
Since then, many hundreds of new kombucha breweries have opened for business. But it’s noticeable that few share information about their brewing process. While home brewers have Hannah Crums’ exhaustive Big Book of Kombucha to refer to, commercial brewers have no such reference manual.
So it was refreshing to see that on Feb 1st this year, Adam Vanni from Jarr Kombucha in London hosted a tea expert at his East London brewery and explained, in great detail, how they brew large volumes of ‘booch.
That inspired us to look around on YouTube for other examples of breweries that showcase their production process. Here’s what we found.
While none match Adam’s level of detail, they offer glimpses into brewery styles and operations. What’s obvious is that no two kombucha breweries are the same. From small farms in India that operate on a budget to companies that have invested in $1.5 million spinning towers to remove alcohol, these videos show that kombucha production is as adaptable as a new SCOBY.
If you know of other videos, please leave a note in the Comments below.
In descending order of duration:
Living Vitalitea, Orlando, Florida
In this 23-minute, 2019, video by Cathy of The Farmacy, we hear from Daniel, the owner of Living Vitalitea Kombucha. He began as a homebrewer who recognized the health benefits of kombucha. He explains how his commercial brewery scaled up to 160-gallon containers. Watch the video to learn about:
- Their blend of organic green tea and lemongrass.
- The steps involved in boiling 6-7 gallons of water and steeping the tea for 30 minutes.
- The smaller fermenters where they keep their starter liquid and how often they trim the SCOBYs in those containers.
- How they mix sweet tea, starter, and a SCOBY in the fermentation vessel.
- Why they need three weeks per batch – adding a week each time they double in size.
- Their rotating range of seasonal flavors.
- The equipment they use to steep, juice, and blend flavorings.
- The condensed cane juice they use for flavorings (apparently a form of panela used by Meraki Ferments in Noia, Spain.)
- The use of kegs to condition flavorings.
- The advantage of the manual 4-way vacuum filler for bottling.
- How hand-capping bottles is filled with love & commitment.
- The kegerator they will use to refill growlers in local stores.
Jarr Kombucha, London, England
Following on from the presentation by co-founder Adam Vanni that we listed in our summary of the Berlin Summit videos, we were delighted to find a new 13-minute YouTube video where Adam hosts a tour of their brewery. It’s by far the most specific and informative of the ones listed.
The video comes courtesy of Don from Mei-Leaf Tea and is one nearly 300 tea-related videos they’ve posted to YouTube. Don is an enthusiastic visitor to the Jarr brewery in Hackney Wick, East London. Adam walks him through the facility, explaining their brewing process each step of the way. Watch the video and learn about:
- The temperature they steep their mix of Oolong and Green tea at in their 1,000-liter stainless steel brewing vessels.
- How much sugar they add to each batch.
- Why they installed a CO2 extractor in the fermentation room.
- The temperature they ferment at and how they create ‘booch with an acidifier concentrate rather than a SCOBY.
- The percent of starter liquid they use for each batch.
- Why oxygenation of the ferment is essential and why Adam recommends home brewers stir their ferments for a minute or two twice daily.
- Which well-known brand of British bed-sheets they cover their 1,000-liter fermentation tanks with.
- How the resulting SCOBY can make environmentally-friendly waterproof fabrics suitable for clothing.
- The temperature at which they store and filter chilled kombucha prior to filtration — to remove excess yeasts and stabilize the alcohol content to the safe 0.5% ABV level.
- Why they still have a labor-intensive hand-bottling operation.
This video is an excellent example of a commercial kombucha company sharing their process. Some might regard these as “trade secrets” — but Adam is obviously a believer in the value of kombucha companies helping each other and therefore helping grow the industry overall.
Peepal Farm Kombucha, Dharamsala, India
In what may be the ultimate in sustainable kombucha production, the folks at this animal rescue, no-till organic farm, produce and sell small batches of kombucha to fund their operations. In this ten-minute 2019 video you will see:
- How they gather recycled beer bottles that are sanitized outdoors in a solar cooker.
- A small-scale kitchen-based operation that ferments and bottles a few gallons at a time.
- How they nevertheless use pH meters and bottle capping tools we see in more developed countries.
Mombucha, Brooklyn, New York
This ten-minute 2016 video features founder Rich Awn talking about the benefits of unpasteurized kombucha as he walks around this small community kitchen. Watch the video to hear about:
- His use of the ‘fast ferment’ nano-batch method to brew 120 gallons of kombucha a week in small glass (never metal) containers.
- The air filter installed in his small fermenting room.
Brew Dr Kombucha, Portland, Oregon
This seven-minute 2016 video features founder Matt Thomas telling the story of the founding of the company while showing a film of the production facilities. He describes their growth from a small kitchen based on a $45,000 investment to leased facilities and the assist he got from the Whole Foods Local Producer Loan program. By 2015 they’d grown to become the third-largest kombucha producer in the country. By 2016 they’d moved a third time to their Tualatin facility, expanding capacity from 20,000 bottles a day to 170,000 bottles a day. Watch this video to see:
- Fermentation and kegging vessels.
- Automated bottling and labeling.
House Kombucha, San Leandro, California
In this six-minute 2011 video, you’ll meet founder Rana Chang, profiled on a previous Booch News podcast. Watch the video to hear about:
- The types of teas and flavorings they use.
- The minimal amounts of sugar used.
- The fermenting containers.
- The kegging process.
- Their belief in the value of recycling glass bottles.
Lucky Elixir, Kansas City, Missouri
This five-minute 2017 video was made by owners Amy & Sean as part of a Kickstarter campaign for their Brewkery taproom. Watch the video, and you’ll hear:
- How they started their business with $5,000 in 2016, brewing 40-gallons a month.
- About their move to a new 3,300 sq foot facility with a 500-gallon a month capacity.
Buch Brothers, Amsterdam, Netherlands
This four-minute 2017 video is narrated in Dutch. However, even though you might not understand what they say, by watching this video, you’ll see:
- Interesting and unusual plywood fermentation and dispensing cabinets.
- Their use of wire-lid flip-top glass bottles.
- Displays of dehydrated SCOBY leather.
Be sure to check out their Instagram for additional videos narrated in English. There’s also a fisheye version of the same video, which gives a sense of the spaciousness of their facility.
Lehigh Valley Kombucha, Emmaus, Pennsylvania
This four-minute, 2016 video features owner Gary Warren describing his ten-year journey from brewing a gallon at home to his 45-gallon-a-week production. Watch this video to learn:
- What a small, stovetop-steeping, hand-bottling brewery looks like.
- What he charges customers for 750ml and 1-gallon refillable bottles.
- How he uses Facebook to promote sales.
Surf Kombucha, Trondheim, Norway
This un-narrated four-minute 2018 video showcases the 1,000-liter kombucha brewing equipment installed by ANT Systems. Watch this video to see an example of an up-to-date facility in a modern European brewery.
NessAlla Kombucha, Madison, Wisconsin
This four-minute 2013 video focuses on the construction of a new brewery in an empty industrial facility. Watch the video to see:
- Framing the walk-in cooler and storage rooms.
- The loading dock area.
- Before and after shots of the production facilities.
- The wash-room build-out.
- Stainless steel steeping and conical fermenting tanks.
- Their bottling line.
- Freeze-dried flavorings.
Aqua ViTea, Middlebury, Vermont
This four-minute 2019 video features founder Jeff Weaber. It showcases their production facility, which includes a $1.5 million Flavourtech spinning cone column to enable the management of alcohol levels in their ‘booch. Jeff claims:
Over 70% of the kombucha products you find on the market right now are mislabeled. It’s a bunch of flavorings to added to make it taste like kombucha. You can buy probiotics off the shelf and add it to a drink, carbonate it, add some apple cider vinegar to it. Make it taste and behave like kombucha, but it’s not been craft fermented.
In this video, you’ll see their production and lab-testing facilities.
GT’s Living Foods, Beverley Hills, California
However, GT Dave is somewhat secretive about his production process.
The video below gives a couple of glimpses of his state-of-the-art facility. It was also, as a Forbes profile of the first kombucha billionaire, the springboard for a spoof by two young comedians and GT Daves’ response. While nothing to do with ‘booch production, both have attracted millions of viewers and are well worth watching.
For more hints about GT’s systems, see him holding what looks like 5-gallon glass fermenting jars in this video, and in a demonstration of home brewing in this slo-mo video, he references a “fermenting agent… whether that’s a sugar, whether that’s a fruit juice, or whether that’s honey…”. It’s interesting to note that the ingredients on a typical bottle of Synergy Kombucha list kiwi juice, not sugar.
Health-Ade Kombucha, Torrance, California
Health-Ade co-founder Daina Trout shares the highlights of the Health-Ade story: from initial $600 investment to current 100,000 bottles a day capacity. The three-minute video shows elements of the production facility including:
- The automated high-speed bottling line.
- Racks of 300,000 two-and-a-half-gallon fermentation glass jars.
- Quantities of black and green teabags removed from the steeping process.
- Jalapeno peppers and carrots being cold-press juiced.
- LA water filtered through a 10,000-gallon tank.
- SCOBYs being fondled.
- Distribution and employment numbers.
Bliss Tea Kombucha, West Kelowna, BC, Canada
This three-minute 2015 video shows owner Rhonda Dieni bottling and hand-labeling mason jars. Watch this video to see:
- Sales at a local farmers market.
- A small rack of stainless steel fermenting vessels.
Lion Heart Kombucha, Portland, Oregon
This three-minute 2011 video shares specifics of the process Lion Heart employed back then. Watch the video to learn:
- The temperature of the water they steep and the brand of equipment they boil water in.
- The quantity of sugar they use per gallon.
- The length of time they steep their tea.
- How they use a cooling coil to lower the temperature of the tea before the SCOBY is added.
- Their 50-gallon Italian stainless steel wine-fermenter set-up.
- The quantity of starter liquid they use per 50-gallon container.
- The length of time and temperature of their ferment.
- Their process of filling kegs, chilling and pumping with CO2.
- The manual process of bottling and labeling.
Humm Kombucha, Bend, Oregon
This sub-two-minute, 2014 video shows the bottles, fermenting, and taproom facility at Humm Kombucha
Adam Vanni has raised the bar on transparency in kombucha brewing operations. It’s been said that the kombucha industry is where the craft beer industry was twenty years ago, before the explosion in the number of those breweries. Take a look at the 25 brewery profiles in the Craft Beer Channel to see what the future might look like on YouTube for our industry.
Do you brew kombucha commercially? What’re your thoughts on being transparent about your operations and revealing some “trade secrets” on camera?