June 25, 2021

Flavorful Probiotic Brews On the Go with Greenbelt Kombucha

By Abianne Falla
Flavorful Probiotic Brews On the Go with Greenbelt Kombucha

Gavin Booth's first experience of what would become Greenbelt Kombucha set the tone for the endeavor. "Is this kombucha? If it is, this the best kombucha ever." From the beginning, Greenbelt has elevated every aspect of its craft. From their sustainability efforts to their tea curation, this kombucha is a unique Texan creation.

Founded in mid-2018, Greenbelt Kombucha has crafted a sparkling, probiotic, raw kombucha with various fruity flavors. They achieved a lucrative deal with HEB in 2019. This launched their distribution into over 100 stores. In 2020, they expanded via Walmart to North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. But their story begins much earlier.

Adam Blumenshein tested the early variations of Greenbelt Kombucha on over 50 people. He sought out people both within and without the industry. When he shared it with Booth, Booth knew it was special. After partnering with Tim Klatt, Nathan Klatt, and Rick Boucard, Booth and Blumenshein opened Greenbelt Kombucha. They utilized space in Strange Land Brewery, also founded by Tim Klatt and Blumenshein. There, they had access to plenty of space to ferment and process their brew.

Kombucha begins with tea, water, and sugar. After the tea brews, a SCOBY is added. A SCOBY is a unique combination of bacteria and yeast. In fact the name SCOBY stands for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast". The yeast in the SCOBY eats the sugar in the tea in a process called fermentation. The yeast produces carbon dioxide (the fizz in kombucha) and a small amount of alcohol.

Greenbelt Kombucha uses a single fermentation process. This means each of their varieties can have a different base tea. Many kombucha will have a black tea base, but Greenbelt Kombucha uses white tea, rooibos tea, yerba mate, pu-erh, oolong, and yaupon. Each of the teas are fermented with freeze-dried fruits that lend delicious natural flavors to the brews. Plus, after the fermentation process, there is no added sugar or fruit juice. This means each can comes out to only 40 calories.

Additionally, each tea is selected for the unique benefits they have. Some provide a boost of energy, support your immune system, or help you to relax. Several of their brews contain antioxidants that bolster your natural immune response. And all their kombucha are non-GMO and vegan.

Greenbelt Kombucha is about more than a delicious drink. They are also committed to shifting sustainability and access. Their push into the canned kombucha space is a relatively novel movement, especially in the southern kombucha space. By shifting away from bottles to cans, not only are their products more sustainable, but they are also more portable. In the greenbelt spaces of Austin, that are the namesake of the brand, glass bottles aren't allowed. But recyclable aluminum cans are. So these delicious kombucha drinks can travel where you go. As Gavin Booth says, "There’s nothing better than being the first major southern kombucha that you can take anywhere without any worry, from the greenbelt to any public pool.”

The founders of Greenbelt Kombucha are no strangers to innovation, especially in the beverage industry. Their founding team brings a wealth of experience to the table. They have founded other companies including Barrel Creek Provisions, Texas Sake (the largest American sake company), Strange Lands Brewing, and the blog Couple in the Kitchen. With these experiences, the Greenbelt team were well-positioned to innovate and excel within the kombucha space. They've even elevated their processing facilities. As of 2018, their facilities have been 100% wind energy powered.

Photo Credit: Timothy Klatt, Daily Texan Staff

Kombucha as an industry is projected to continue rising. In 2019, the industry was valued at about $1.6 billion and was projected to rise to over $7 billion by 2027. The growing number of advocates and fans of kombucha extol the many benefits of the drink. They share that it can boost your immune system, ease allergies, improve your mood, regulate gut health, and even decrease the risk of cancer. Though some nutritionists warn that there is little actual support for these benefits.

Grab a can of Greenbelt Kombucha today! And know that in every can, along with delicious flavor, is a commitment to excellence.