Adam Hiner, Andrew Clark and Todd Kent have teamed to create Boochcraft, a company manufacturing and selling kombucha, after converting it into 7 percent alcohol content comparable to a typical IPA beer.
Likely originating in Asia, kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drink with purported intestinal health benefits derived from bacteria and yeast.
Marketed as “the happiest buzz on Earth,” Boochcraft can be found on tap at all of Ocean Beach's popular restaurants and markets including OB Surf Lodge and OB Noodle House. It is also widely available at convenience stores and neighborhood Whole Foods or BevMo outlets at the beachfront and throughout San Diego and the rest of California and much of the West.
Boochcraft recently expanded into a combined 27,500-square-foot brewery in Chula Vista with office/multipurpose and production space, including a new canning line and top-of-the-line equipment, which produces 70,000-plus barrels per year.
Boochcraft has been a perfect pairing for company co-founders Hiner and his brother-in-law Clark, as well as their mutual friend Kent.
“Kombucha is probiotic, good for your digestion,” said company CMO Hiner. “I started making it at my former Hillcrest restaurant, Local Habit. We were one of the first to have kombucha on tap in 2011.”
“I was an obsessed beer brewer,” confessed chief brewing officer Clark admitting, “I’m obsessed with the art of creating delicious beverages. [Boochcraft] uses so many different aspects of science – microbiology, chemistry, physics.”
Hiner credits Clark with coming up with the notion of boosting kombucha’s alcohol content. “None of us were big drinkers,” noted Hiner. “But we were all big on knowing the ingredients in the food we eat and eating organic food.”
But the three business partners shared one thing in common. “We were all ready to do this,” said Hiner.
Does Boochcraft taste like beer?
“It takes nothing like beer, it’s more like fruit wine,” said Hiner, noting their six core flavors include grapefruit, ginger, apple, grape, orange-pomegranate and lemon. “It’s basically a fermented tea.”
Beer brewer Clark borrowed existing technology from both beer and wine industries in crafting Boochcraft “to create an entirely new product category using existing equipment and infrastructure like kegs and bottle lines.”
A perfectionist, Clark said his wife refers to him as a “high-functioning autistic because I’m so hypercritical with myself and everything has to be perfect, has to match. I was like really geeking out after we landed the brewery after renting an empty warehouse.”
After “just brewing at home,” Clark added it was nice to “scale everything up using new technology controlling temperatures and having special filters to do custom work. We got to pioneer a new industry and spent three years perfecting it.”
The company is introducing 12-ounce cans and two new flavors to its existing offerings, which hit store shelves April 10. For more information, visit boochcraft.com.