Editor’s Note: Startups is our new series focusing on up and coming concepts and businesses in the local food industry. These are often folks doing something cool, innovative, or different than others in the field and can have a huge impact down the road.
Nathan Brown is not your typical brewery, and his startup Teaberry Kombucha Co, is not your typical brew. Instead he is a bit of a literal mad scientist and he has put his knowledge to work to craft a concoction that might finally make Kombucha popular in Little Rock.
Kombucha, for those not familiar, is a fermented tea that comes from adding live cultures to brewed tea and allowing that to ferment over time much like beer, but technically non-alcoholic. It often adds other ingredients to enhance flavor like fruits, flowers, and spices. The result is a soda like drink that is extremely healthy and contains a small fraction of the sugar, and calories.
By trait, Brown is a molecular biologist, which immediately puts him in a class that very few brewers of any sort in Arkansas can claim. He spent his time in a high tech bioventure lab at UAMS developing cutting edge products by day. He would spend his free time brewing beers and kombucha, leveraging his science background to understand the complexities of what was going on, and then put it to use in his brew.
When the lab was sold and the research absorbed into another lab out of state, he decided to turn his hobby into a job. He founded Teaberry Kombucha Co and started working on recipes. He decided to join ARKitchen as a spot to brew his Kombucha, and they were quick to carve out an isolated climate controlled environment for the brewing process to thrive.
“I really wanted to get down to the science of what makes good kombucha,” Brown explains. “Like high end craft beer, different ingredients and different brewing processes do different things to the final product. Like home brewers, too many kombucha makers just brew through a recipe they found with little thought as to why and how this is working. I wanted to continue to experiment with this and create something unique that was hand crafted.”
Brown researched different cultures, tea options, and ingredients. He worked to source everything he could, down to the bottles, locally.
Between the high science and the carefully sourced ingredients Teaberry is by far and away the best Kombucha brewed in the state. The launch flavors include Lemon, Strawberry, and Ginger Peach.
The strawberry flavor in particular is perfect for someone new to kombucha. It is a very light and easy drinking kombucha with almost none of the traditional tartness that typical kombuchas come with. For those who are familiar with drinking kombucha, the lemon flavor provides that desired tartness, but still far smoother and cleaner than any others on the market currently.
Brown is currently selling Teaberry Kombucha to a few local stores like Green Corner Store, Drug Emporium, and Me & McGee Market with more to come. He is also kegging the kombucha and looking for open taps around town to serve as a great non-alcoholic alternative.