Whole Story

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Local Producer: Buchi Kombucha

By Heather Kennedy, February 18, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Heather Kennedy

An ancient cultured beverage with origins in the Far East, kombucha tea has been revered for thousands of years as "the Elixir of Life" and “the Tea of Immortality.” It’s made by fermenting tea and sugar with a kombucha culture, resulting in an effervescent drink.

Sarah Schomber and Jeannine Bucher, two moms from Asheville, North Carolina, met through their kids and serendipitously realized that they both brewed kombucha at home using a similar recipe. 

They found it to be an excellent alternative to conventional soda. So they teamed up and after a year of experimentation, created their own unique recipe. The bold tasting fermented drink was so popular with family and friends that they brewed a little extra to sell at the local farmers market and their business, Buchi, was born.

With kombucha fans clamoring for more, they transformed an old warehouse into an eco-conscious brewery and became the first woman-owned commercial kombucha brewery in the southeast.

Buchi applied for a Local Producer Loan from Whole Foods Market® to help them purchase additional equipment for their new location.

This equipment will help them expand their business and sell their kombucha in our stores in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Not only does Buchi create hand-crafted kombucha, but they also adhere to a transformative business philosophy.

An essential part of Buchi’s business model is playing an active role in building a better community. They are guided by the principle that the power of business can solve social and environmental problems. They believe corporations will have greater economic opportunities when they embrace a philosophy that says "we can do well at being good.”

Their mission is to return to wholesome nutrient-rich, regionally produced food that nourishes our bodies, our environment and the local economy. That’s an ambitious and worthy goal and we’re honored that we could help!

Category: Local




Pam Lewis says ...
Great story on two talented ladies in business. I live in their community and have watched them grow from very humble beginnings working hard and seeking the best counsel along the way. Kudos to Whole Foods for helping move them forward.
02/18/2012 8:22:05 PM CST
Jess says ...
I'm so happy to see that you're distributing Buchi in your Southeast stores! THANK YOU for supporting a natural, local Asheville business! Buchi is the tastiest kombucha I've ever had and I'm always excited to get a bottle or two when I hit the store. There ain't nothin' like Buchi. I hope one day to see you stocking it in EVERY one of your stores!
02/18/2012 8:47:07 PM CST
Hannah Crum says ...
Woot! Way to go Buchi - love to see companies that embody their values and strive to do business in a way that incorporates a triple bottom line.
02/18/2012 8:57:40 PM CST
Kathie says ...
I'm so much a fan that I buy it by the growler!
02/19/2012 11:24:53 AM CST
michelle says ...
I used to live in asheville and I have tried it. its very good and they are delightful people.
02/19/2012 12:12:28 PM CST
Wendy says ...
wish I could get Buchi in Northern Virginia. I had it Tennesse and brought home a cooler full. It's awesome!!
02/19/2012 9:21:07 PM CST
kara rane says ...
I love my home brew Kombucha (& all those friendly mushrooms) but always find it fun to try other peoples' beverages,, each can be so unique. Congratulations and keep up the good work Buchi & Whole Foods. much kindness~
02/19/2012 11:14:18 PM CST
Eric says ...
Great stuff! I lived next door to the N. Asheville Farmers Market and met these ladies. Thank you Whole Foods Market for supporting local Asheville businesses!
02/20/2012 10:56:01 AM CST
Sara says ...
Wish I could get some of that in Washington DC! They only have two different kinds (GT's, which is NOT as good as it used to be) at my store and I would love more variety!
02/23/2012 11:26:21 AM CST
Mary Lou says ...
Asheville is so lucky and proud to be the homebase for small food businesses like the Buchi Mamas. Our community supports them all the way.
02/25/2012 6:17:21 PM CST
Joy B says ...
I live in Maryland and would be thrilled to find out that there was kombucha on tap at Whole Foods in our area (North Bethesda) but so far only the really expensive bottled stuff which really adds up if you drink as much as I do...
12/03/2012 10:12:36 AM CST
tom says ...
Specifically what sweetners do you use in your buchi drinks?
01/04/2013 1:32:52 AM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@TOM - I would suggest reaching out directly to Buchi at http://drinkbuchi.com/ to find out exactly what sweeteners they use. I did notice that apple juice was a common ingredient that they might use as a sweetener!
01/04/2013 5:46:56 PM CST
Ruth says ...
I live in TN and your product is listed on a health program I am following. Can I purchase it anywhere in the state of TN? Can I order it from you? Thanks for the response and the help. Ruth
01/12/2013 12:56:35 AM CST
Buchi Brewery says ...
Thank you all so much for the kind words and support! We wanted to answer a few question which came up in the comments: Joy - We are working on coming up to Whole Foods Mid Atlantic! If you ask for Buchi on draft in your local store that could definitely help speed up the process. Tom - We use only organic evaporated cane sugar, most of which gets consumed during the fermentation. The only additional sugar comes from flavors like locally grown elderberry juice, organic coconut water, organic apple juice or the maple syrup we add to Buchi Earth. No sugar is added after fermentation without a specific intention. Ruth - You can! We are in all the Whole Foods in Tennessee, as well as a growing list of other retailers around Nashville, Knoxville, Johnson City and Chattanooga. We are hoping to greatly expand our retailer presence across TN this year. For a full list of our retailers, check out the "Find Buchi" section of our website: drinkbuchi.com/find-buchi
01/17/2013 5:35:38 PM CST
Carol Richardson says ...
I just made my first batch of Kombucha tea. I am very happy with the results. It tastes like a fizzy apple-cider and I no longer need to take a probiotic pill. I just drink Kombucha tea every day. My only concern is that the "mother" will get too big and I won't be able to find people to share it with. This is a product that my friends are not familiar with. I hope I can persuade them to try it.
03/25/2013 3:52:46 PM CDT
Kathy Hamilton says ...
I live on a beautiful mountain in West Asheville, where 5 moonshiners were turn of 1900's through 40's because of water being so awesome! Wonder where your company get its water source??? So proud of local companies!!!!
06/28/2013 5:18:58 PM CDT
Joan says ...
I love the ginger Kombucha in Overland Park kansas , whole foods my family ever get enough of it.
09/19/2013 4:24:51 PM CDT
Ashley Carmichael says ...
Your presence and endless supply of Kombucha at the Weston A. Price Conference made and already amazing conference even better. My daughter was in heaven with her favorite drink. Thank you so much for being there. Your kombucha is the best!
11/13/2013 3:30:48 PM CST
Hadassah Shabnam Lal says ...
I have been looking for this tea for quite sometime due to health reasons and an initiative to begin drinking it. Tried some a while back and I am so excited that I can buy here locally in Indy and it's made here as well. Oh and I love, love, Whole Foods. As a woman who owns her own business, I am a vehement supporter of my sisters as well.
01/30/2014 7:18:27 PM CST
milan dragin says ...
just finished reading your article in fast company, sounds like something I want to try. are there any stores that sell your product in the Chicago land area? I live in elgin, il great idea your gonna hit the big time with buchi kombucha, Milan dragin
11/27/2014 1:15:04 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MILAN - I would suggest reaching out to the vendor directly to see where they sell their products.
11/28/2014 1:23:08 PM CST
Jeanne says ...
I was wondering who makes the kombucha I buy on tap from my Whole Foods on Long Island?
12/30/2014 8:00:11 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JEANNE - Sometimes the vendors on tap can differ so I would suggest reaching out to the Jericho store directly at (516) 932-1733.
12/31/2014 1:41:47 PM CST
William ward says ...
I just read about your product Business North Carolina magazine. First I'd heard of Kombucha Tea.I'm very interested . I'm in need of extra energy . I'm going to Whole foods and buying some today.I hope I gain something from it.
05/07/2015 12:34:55 PM CDT