Profile: Laid Bear Kombucha, Leek, Staffordshire, England
Home town kombucha #4
This is the fourth in a series of posts featuring kombucha companies based in North West England.
So far I’ve posted an interview with Emma of Booch & Brew in Altrincham, Mark Young of Brew Loka in Manchester and hosted a guest posting by Sabia and Andrew of OMbucha in Wilmslow.
I was delighted to speak with Steph of Laid Bear Kombucha, since she lives in Congleton, only a dozen miles from where I was raised. Her brewery is in Leek, in rural Staffordshire.
Small batch brewing
Steph fermented her first kombucha in 2018. She and her partner fell in love with the drink, and in early 2019 they flew to Barcelona to attend a Good Culture workshop. Meeting other producers from across Europe, and hearing Denis Kelleher and the team share their insights, gave her the confidence to start her own company. They ferment in small batches and produce an original, ginger, and lime & mint flavor.
Steph made the conscious decision to locate her micro-brewery 10 miles from her Congleton, Cheshire home, across the county line in Leek, Staffordshire. One of the advantages is the exceptional water. Leek is on the edge of the Pennines, the home of Buxton Spring Water. Steph claims Leek’s water is equal to Buxton’s and points out that Cheshire silk weaving, which thrived in the 18th and 19th Centuries, prized the water from the River Churnet for the silk dyeing process.
Incidentally, the company is named after Congleton’s nickname of “Beartown”, acquired in the 1600s for reasons today’s animal lovers might not want to read too many details about.
In addition to the high-quality water and clean air, Laid Bear Kombucha buy award-winning tea from the Cheshire Tea Company down the road in Macclesfield, who source ethically produced quality tea.
Surviving Covid-19, building awareness
Steph has taken advantage of the UK’s lockdown period to focus on product development, nurturing their starter culture, rebranding, and looking for opportunities to grow sales on tap. She’s recently driven over to Altrincham Food Market near Manchester where she’s gaining traction by selling draft kombucha to customers at the open-air market. They are excited by the potential for selling kombucha on tap in the region as an environmentally-friendly alternative to bottles, caps, and plastic seals. Kombucha on tap also allows bars to create kombucha cocktails without the need to open a full bottle each time.
She’s met a range of customers, from those who have never tasted kombucha to people who have been drinking it for 20 years.
They’ve also seen an increase in traffic on their website and supply six-packs as well as orders from home brewers for SCOBYs and starter liquid.
Steph sees a connection between a growing acceptance of kombucha and an increased awareness of the benefits of vegan foods like tempeh. Indeed, she runs a sister company, Goodeybox, that prepares and delivers freshly prepared vegan meals to homes and offices in the area. Pulled Jackfruit Tacos with a bottle of Laid Bear kombucha would set anyone up for the day!
Check out to podcast to hear Steph tell the story of Laid Bear Kombucha.
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