Profile: Baba’s Brew, Phoenixville, PA
Olga Sorzano was introduced to kombucha in Siberia by her grandmother, Baba, who kept a jar of continuous brew fermenting on top of her refrigerator year-round.
“I would visit her and use any excuse to have a chance to taste her delicious kombucha. I’d say, ‘Baba my belly hurts,’ and she would say, ‘have some kombucha.’ I would say, ‘my leg hurts,’ and she would say, ‘have some kombucha.’ ”
Little did Olga know, but years later, some of Baba’s original SCOBY would launch her commercial production with a brand named Baba’s Brew after the grandmother she loved.
Baba’s mother was one of the Volga Germans deported to Siberia in the 1940s. When Baba was a young girl, her father affectionately called her “Little Red Squirrel” due to her fiery red hair. This nickname stuck with her throughout her life and was Olga’s inspiration for the distinctive company logo.
People in Siberia understood that kombucha had great alkalizing effects, was loaded with vitamin C. They drank it because they felt the health effects. They infused it with chaga and other mushrooms to make it as potent as possible and help them survive really brutal Siberian winters.
Olga has the same philosophy her Baba had. Baba’s Brew is infused with organic whole berries or fruit, herbs, and spices. Her brews, like Purple Rain (blueberry-ginger) and Flower Power (lavender, rose, tulsi, and hibiscus) are flavored with whole fruits and spices— not juices or extracts—because that’s the way her grandmother did it. Ruby Sipper has vibrant notes of tart cherries & cranberries. Crisp and clean. It makes a killer margarita. Bee’s Knees is silky smooth with calming notes of warm caramel and honeysuckle, together with soothing and relaxing flavors of chamomile and a touch of local wildflower honey. Believe is a distinctively bright & lively ‘booch with juniper berries, ginger root, lemon balm, yerba mate, and chlorophyll.
Launching Baba’s Brew
After attending a 2014 Fermentation Festival in Santa Barbara, Olga and her husband decided to launch Pennsylvania’s first kombucha brewery. They started out with a small 70 sq. ft. facility and now occupy 6,000 sq. ft. Her goal is to become a strong local brand that will always use locally sourced ingredients and support the community. This 2017 interview with Olga tells the full story:
To hear more of Olga’s story in her own words, including how her childhood love of the original ‘Baba’s Brew’ in Siberia has influenced her, and her plans for the company, listen to the podcast.