Kombucha culture is growing in Salt Lake City. Here’s where to try the buzzy drink.

The city is home to at least three kombucha breweries that serve the fermented drink.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Kate Lubing, co-owner and operations director of HK Brewing Collective, pours a sample of their popular blackberry juniper flavor at 370 Aspen Ave. in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

A balanced kombucha has just the right amount of sweet, sour and fizziness, and in Salt Lake City, business is bubbling.

The city is home to at least three kombucha breweries. In Utah, you can also find the potent, slightly carbonated tea beverage in grocery stores, breweries, restaurants, bars, yoga studios, bagel shops, coffee shops, taprooms and more.

The tea drink is fermented — like sauerkraut, yogurt, kimchi or sourdough — usually with white sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, or “SCOBY.” It reportedly got its start in China more than 2,000 years ago, according to The New York Times.

Because it’s said to be full of probiotics, kombucha is purported to have numerous health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving digestion and strengthening the immune system — even though there’s little evidence it does all that.

But people who drink it and love it can at least agree that it’s tasty and refreshing, with flavors that challenge and delight the palate.

Here are some of the Salt Lakers behind the growing local kombucha scene:

Mamachari Kombucha

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bottles of Mamachari kombucha are shown Thursday, March 23, 2023, at Mamachari Kombucha.

Founded a decade ago, Mamachari brewed Utah’s first commercial kombucha and can be found in four states.

Mamachari Kombucha got its start as a home-brewed product that was distributed around Salt Lake City on a bike. That’s where the name comes from, said co-owner Amy Stott, who took over the company in 2020. “Mamachari” is a Japanese word that means a city bike with baskets that’s used for errands, and she felt the use of the word was “synchronistic” because she’s half Japanese.

Since taking over ownership, Stott said she’s made two significant changes: sourcing more ingredients locally (like the lavender that’s used in some of the company’s kombucha), and making deeper connections with the community by holding markets with local vendors.

She’s also a proponent for naturally fermented drinks and their potential benefits to the gut. For Stott, kombucha isn’t just a beverage. Drinking it can be part of a routine that also includes “being conscious of what you put in your body,” she said.

Another drink that can be part of a healthy routine is Mamachari’s Tibi kefir soda, a vegan and caffeine-free drink that’s fermented like kombucha, but doesn’t have the same vinegary sourness. The name “Tibi” is short for tibicos, a small grain that’s used to ferment sweetened water combined with high mineral salts, which turns into soda with the help of bacteria and yeasts, according to the bottle’s label.

Sparkling and lightly sweet, Mamachari’s raspberry mint lime Tibi kefir soda tastes like freshly picked raspberries with just a hint of mint. Mamachari’s kefir soda and kombucha are both low in sugar, naturally flavored and rich in probiotics, Stott said.

Mamachari has a small taproom at their west-side space, where they serve unique seasonal and specialty flavors on draft. Growlers and half-size “growlettes” can be purchased and refilled there, and bottled kombucha is also available for purchase.

Where to find Mamachari Kombucha: Multiple grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops and breweries across Utah, plus Mamachari headquarters at 1415 S. 700 West, Suite 4, in Salt Lake City. For more info, follow @mamachari_kombucha_tibi_kefir on Instagram or visit mamachari.cc/where-to-find-us.

Cru Kombucha

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Zach Twombly, left, and Christian Alber, owners of Cru Kombucha pose for a portrait at their brewing headquarters in Salt Lake City on Monday, March 27, 2023.

When Christian Alber and Zachary Twombly first started selling kombucha at the Downtown Farmers Market in 2016, they didn’t have a logo, labeled bottles or a business plan. But the two friends and roommates did have a business license — and a keg full of kombucha they’d brewed together.

Now, Cru Kombucha has been operating for seven years (5 1/2 if you account for the COVID-19 pandemic, they said, when business had to pause).

Alber and Twombly still have a small operation (it’s just the two of them), but they usually have about six rotating flavors ready for sampling at their brewing space just south of Interstate 80 in Sugar House. And they use local tea from Tea Zaanti, water from the Water Wellness Center in Millcreek, and produce from Kessimakis in their kombucha.

One thing that’s noticeable when drinking Cru Kombucha is the lack of sourness, and Alber said that’s on purpose. “I want to enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t want to have to hard pitch somebody my kombucha because I don’t want them to feel like they’re drinking medicine.”

Aside from Cru Kombucha’s lemon-ginger variety, which will pucker the mouth a bit, Alber and Twombly’s kombucha is pretty crushable. In their grapefruit-honey variety, especially, the honey mellows out the tartness of the grapefruit to create a balanced, tasty brew.

Cru Kombucha is just a pick-up location for now, Twombly said, where people can purchase bottled kombucha and have growlers filled.

Where to find Cru Kombucha: Hello Bulk Market, Zest Kitchen & Bar, Vitality Bowls, Water Wellness Center, Caffe Ibis and Tea Zaanti, plus Cru Kombucha at 2685 Preston St., Suite 130, in Salt Lake City. For more info, follow @cru_kombucha on Instagram and visit CruKombucha.com.

HK Brewing Collective

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Cans of Han’s Kombucha displayed at HK Brewing Collective, 370 Aspen Ave., in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.

Hannah Hendrickson (aka “Han”) started brewing kombucha in her dorm room closet at the University of Utah. In 2018, she sold her first batch of Han’s Kombucha to a local tea shop, and her business grew from there, expanding throughout Utah and into Idaho, Montana, Illinois and Arizona.

Hendrickson and business partner Kate Lubing met in 2019, and they decided to go “all-in” in 2020. They opened a taproom in Salt Lake City’s Ballpark neighborhood about two months ago, but they’ve been busy on the manufacturing side of things for over a year.

Their headquarters, HK Brewing Collective, is where head brewer Hendrickson and Lubing, who’s the co-owner and director of operations, brew all their kombucha and package it in cans.

At the front of that space is their stylish and spacious taproom, where patrons can order kombucha flights and snacks from Caputo’s, as well as get growlers filled and purchase cans of kombucha.

HK Brewing Collective recently got a full liquor license, and so Hendrickson and Lubing can now serve beer, wine and spirits in the taproom as well as their own kombucha cocktails. They also have a goal to get a manufacturing license, which would allow them to produce and package hard kombucha (most kombucha only has traces of alcohol in it from the fermentation process).

Lubing told The Salt Lake Tribune that she and Hendrickson make “darn good booch” that’s “really approachable, so that somebody that’s brand new to kombucha is going to enjoy it.” Try their new flavor, El Tigre, with notes of blood orange and cardamom.

Where to find Han’s Kombucha: Harmons Grocery, Mountain West Hard Cider, Animalia and multiple markets, plus HK Brewing Collective at 370 W. Aspen Ave. in Salt Lake City. A full list of vendors can be found online. Follow @hkbrewingco on Instagram.

Renourish Kombucha Tap Room

(Kolbie Peterson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Raquel Speroni pours kombucha at Renourish Kombucha Tap Room on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.

Raquel Speroni started drinking kombucha as part of her own “personal health journey” after she quit drinking soda.

“But water gets boring,” she said. “Even throwing in cucumber or orange in your water gets boring. And then I discovered kombucha and I was like, ‘This is fantastic.’”

Speroni had been drinking it for a long time when she first went to a kombucha bar in Alaska. “I fell in love with it,” she said. “And I kept thinking, somebody will do that in Salt Lake City — because we do have that growing kombucha culture. I just kept waiting and waiting and nobody did. So I finally opened it up.”

Renourish Kombucha Tap Room, which opened in December 2022, southwest of Liberty Park, is a one-stop kombucha shop, where you’ll find flavors on tap from companies based in Utah and beyond, including Teatonic Kombucha from Driggs, Idaho; Wild Bloom Fermentations from Moab; and Süunte Kombucha from Ogden, as well as Han’s, Mamachari and Cru.

Renourish fills a void for Speroni, along with kombucha itself. “I enjoy coffee, I enjoy cocktails, but there is no in-between either,” she said.

“Sometimes it’s too late for coffee. Sometimes it’s too early for cocktails, or I don’t want to drink necessarily every day,” she said. “So I’m like, we just need a place to do it, and to have an alternative to those things.”

Renourish Kombucha Tap Room, 1314 S. 500 East, Salt Lake City. For more info, follow @renourishtaproom on Instagram or visit RenourishTapRoom.com.