SYMBIOSIS Magazine – Winter 2020
The Winter 2020 edition SYMBIOSIS magazine is out now. This is the official Journal of Kombucha Brewers International, a trade publication for the kombucha industry. The first edition of this quarterly publication came out in June and the second edition in September. We’d planned to bring this out in December, but keeping businesses going during the pandemic took priority.
All editions have an ‘evergreen’ lifespan and live forever on the MagCloud.com platform. Anyone can order a printed copy that will be sent directly to them in the mail. It’s the perfect way to get our content out into the world.
This is not just for KBI members. The content is of value for any commercial kombucha brewer worldwide, plus the growing ranks of homebrew enthusiasts curious about scaling up or refining their technique.
Table of Contents
The 48 pages of the Winter 2020 edition includes our regular columns:
- KBI President’s Letter: an update from Hannah Crum.
- Regional KBI Chapter Reports: from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia/New Zealand, and Canada.
- Legal Issues: KBI’s Virtual Hill Climb campaign.
- Advocacy Corner: Dave Ransom writes on the KOMBUCHA Act.
- Producer Profile: The story of Tarek and Rachel Kanaan who founded Unity Vibration Kombucha, the first hard kombucha brand.
- Brew Tech: Keisha Rose Harrison of Oregon State University Toby Tull of Bare Bucha on the relationship between starter broth and pellicle.
- Mocktail Recipes: Three non-alcoholic drinks to try.
- Book Review: High-Hanging Fruit, by Mark Rampolla.
- The History of Kombucha in Russia: by Max Ozhgeov the founder of Kombucha Club Russia.
- The Chemistry of Fermentation: Part 1 of a 3-part series by French expert Thierry Tran.
- Testing Equipment Reviewed: Toby Tull on the equipment options for the well-equipped brewery.
- KBI Member Survey Results: From the impact of the pandemic on business to what they wish they’d known when they started out.
- Virtual Kombucha Conference Summary: A look into the themes of the September 2020 online event.
- Opinion: Why one-way or single-use kegs are not recycled and are bad for the environment by Brett PA Lamont, founder of The Campaign for Sustainable Draft.
- The Kombucha Sourness Unit: Hannah Crum on a KBI initiative to help consumers make an informed decision before that first sip of a new brand or flavor.
- The Women of Kombucha: We profile Zoey Shamai of Canada’s Tonica Kombucha.
Letter from the Editor
I hope 2021 finds you in good health and keeping things afloat in challenging circumstances, delivering kombucha to people who, more than ever, need something to help sustain them.
Kombucha has been around for thousands of years, providing sustenance and support at other challenging times in history. Many will have heard about the origins of kombucha in Ancient China, something we celebrate with World Kombucha Day each Feb 21, acknowledging 221BC. However, the strong kombucha tradition in Russia is often overlooked. Max Ozeghov, the founder of Kombucha Club Russia, sets the record straight with a review of that history. He traces it back to the early years of the twentieth-century and the ubiquitous grandmother’s jar, fermenting on the windowsill. The recent resurgence has brought the drink from the steppes to your doorstep. We feature four producers with Russian roots, connections to Siberia, and a dedication to overcoming the negative stereotypes many still have about the drink in that country.
Elsewhere in this issue, we tell the story of Rachel and Tarek Kanaan, who founded the first hard kombucha brand in the States — Unity Vibration, in Michigan. We profile Zoey Shamai, the founder of Toronto’s Tonica Kombucha. Both her mother and great aunt were successful businesswomen who acted as role models.
Last September, the KBI Virtual KombuchaKon (VKKON) on-line event saw almost 200 brewers learn ways to boost their resilience and bounce back from the various challenges 2020 delivered, from the pandemic to the West Coast wildfires. We report on the major themes of the event, an enlivening mix of formal presentations and informal networking.
A more detailed look into the pandemic’s impact and the current state of business came from an October KBI Member Survey. Responses from over 60 brands listed the challenges they face, customer profile statistics, and mix of distribution channels. An open-ended survey question asked what they wished they had known when they started in this business. They shared the stories of hard-earned lessons in marketing and sales and the importance of learning how to strike deals with distributors. Above all, they acknowledged the sheer amount of hard work it takes to succeed in this business.
On the technical side, we are pleased to carry the work of French food scientist Thierry Tran. His analysis of the chemistry of fermentation kicks off a three-part series on the science of flavor and quality. Keisha Harrison from Oregon State University and Toby Tull of Bare Bucha review the chemistry of starter liquid and the need for a pellicle (SCOBY). Toby also has an in-depth evaluation of the tools and equipment to assist with quality control and food safety.
Finally, Brett Lamont, founder of the Campaign for a Sustainable Draft, challenges us to consider the environmental impact of ‘one-way’ plastic kegs versus traditional steel kegs.
As always, you can download a free PDF of SYMBIOSIS from the web or purchase a printed copy for your library.
Order your copy today
Print-on-demand and downloadable PDF versions are available from MagCloud. It’s printed in the US, UK, and mainland Europe with local postage rates. We make previous editions available for free PDF download.