Have you sampled the Sole Kombucha on tap or in bottles at the Doylestown Food Market? Or perhaps you’re already a dedicated enthusiast of the brew and eagerly await the next flavor on tap to fill your growler.
For those new to kombucha, what is it anyway? Andrea Santoro, owner and creator of Sole Kombucha, located in Dublin, PA has the answer: “Kombucha is more than a healthy, fizzy, totally natural beverage that makes you feel amazing. It’s part of a consciousness that surrounds ourselves and our community!”
Sample Sole Kombucha!
- Fun First Friday festivities on June 3 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm
- Sunday, June 12 from 3 - 5pm
Enjoy 20% off Sole Kombucha in June!
So how is this healthy, fizzy beverage made? Andrea explains: “We start with high quality green, black and jasmine tea. Along with our SCOBY (symbiotic community of yeast and bacteria) we use organic cane sugar to start the initial fermentation process. We add real fruit and herbs - local, non-gmo, and organic when possible - to flavor our kombucha. Finally, we bottle it, letting the yeast and left over sugar make their own carbonation.
I was curious to know if all the health benefits attributed to kombucha are true. Andrea was quick to respond: “Because kombucha has naturally occurring probiotics it aids in digestion and Improves intestinal flora. It is also rich in vitamin B and C. Without making health claims, I will say that from my experience the culture that is present in kombucha acts as a detoxifier for your whole body.”
How did Andrea get started in the business? Simple answer: “I started drinking it and I wanted more of it. That’s when I started making my own home brews.” Thus began her love affair with “the booch.”
With a degree and background in Art and Art Education, and having taught grade school level art for thirteen years, it was a bittersweet moment when the decision was made to transition from being an art teacher to a business owner. “My parents retired from their farm market business and I decided I wanted to go into that because I grew up with it. I was definitely sad to leave teaching but it’s really great being involved in something that is similar to the co-op, being part of a community with emphasis on local produce and products. Making kombucha was a part of that.”
Having access to and using the local products from the farm market vendors is what sparked Andrea’s interest in making larger batches of kombucha. Andrea’s husband, being in the wine industry said, ‘Let’s bottle this!’ and with that, it all came together – “From making it at home to making it on a larger scale just seemed natural.”
Where is the business going? “I eventually would like to have a distributorship – one that deals with the local community.” That’s Andrea’s preference from her direct experience with managing the farm market business. “Once we started making the product as well as having the farm market it became full circle: you buy from a farmer, you make the product, you sell the product, your local customers buy the product. With a supporting local community you don’t need the chain stores anymore.”
Future plans also include doing more with kegs. “The co-op has been an experiment with the kegs for me. They’re fun and I want to get better with them. They’re the creative part where I get to experiment and come up with combinations I think will go well together.” Andrea’s artistic instincts come into play especially when those occasional “happy accidents” happen, like when the unintended Chai version of the Pina Colada brew ended up being awesome.
What drives the kombucha brew master to continue with her vision? “My grandmother (the original driver behind the family’s farm market business) taught me to go for what I believe in and want without always thinking through the possible ramifications. It’s a bit like putting on the rose colored glasses. I don’t think I would have gotten as far without her talking to me from ‘up there.’"
In the near future, Andrea sees directing a percentage of the business profits into a cause that captured her daughter’s attention in school: Sole Hope, an organization that makes shoes for children and adults in Uganda. “People in local communities around the world cut out patterns from old jeans and send them to this organization who then employs people to make shoes to help alleviate the problem of jiggers in bare feet. Because it’s my daughter’s mission and her idea, I’ve thought about creating a ‘Sole to Sole’ collaboration.” --- Hmm, sounds like a perfect fit to me!
You will have two opportunities to meet Andrea and sample her kombucha: Fun First Friday, June 3, from 5:30 – 7:30, and again on Sunday, June 12, from 3 – 5 pm.
And for all new and established kombucha lovers there is a 20% discount on Sole Kombucha purchases during the month of June.