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Local Producer: Buchi Kombucha

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!

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28 comments

Comments

Kathie says …

I'm so much a fan that I buy it by the growler!

michelle says …

I used to live in asheville and I have tried it. its very good and they are delightful people.

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.

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!

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.

Wendy says …

wish I could get Buchi in Northern Virginia. I had it Tennesse and brought home a cooler full. It's awesome!!

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~

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!

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!

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.

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...

tom says …

Specifically what sweetners do you use in your buchi drinks?

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!

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

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

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.

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!!!!

Joan says …

I love the ginger Kombucha in Overland Park kansas , whole foods my family ever get enough of it.

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!

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.

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

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@MILAN - I would suggest reaching out to the vendor directly to see where they sell their products.

Jeanne says …

I was wondering who makes the kombucha I buy on tap from my Whole Foods on Long Island?

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.

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.

William says …

When will Buchi be available to order online in lieu of purchasing from select stores?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@WILLIAM - We do not currently have plans for online ordering of perishable products so I would suggest reaching out to Buchi directly at http://drinkbuchi.com/contact-us to find out if they offer online ordering.

Victoria Eves says …

That is wonderful to know about the Buchi gals! It is the by far tastiest brand of bottled Kombucha I have tried! It also doesn't give me "soda stomach" nor doesn't burst over the top when you open it, like all the others. Many Thanks!