Sam and I have been fans of this wholesome brew for quite some time now. Whether we are logging computer hours at a local coffee shop while sipping on a pint, or whether we are grabbing a quick sushi fix at Wholefoods while sucking down a glass of the healthy beverage, we have been routinely enjoying kombucha for years now. Actually, it’s a little embarrassing that us self-proclaimed DIYers have not attempted to ferment and play with the process of making our own kombucha. Nope, not feeling a need to conquer that task when the guys over at Whalebird are doing such a bang-up job!
If you have not heard about Whalebird Kombucha before, then I guarantee that after reading this post you are going to be surprised. I think you might start seeing it everywhere. At least, they seem to be popping up in all of my fav coffee shops and restaurants up and down the Central Coast. And the best part is I can bring my growler and get it tanked up at all the locations!
Meet Jake & Mike, the creative brains behind this delicious brew.
Why are we excited about Whalebird? Whelp, their product is stellar, for sure. But we are also stoked on a local business that is getting major traction because of their pursuit of quality, their creativity, and their cheeky marketing tactics! No zen-like, new age graphics for this company. Nope. Their memorable logo is that of a flying whale. I like it! Kind of the embodiment of the entrepreneurial life, where even things of impossible mass can transform into flight. After all, choosing to even start your own business and beat to your own drum is purely an act defying gravity at times, right?
Jake and Mike are so inspired by their work, that they were more than ready to share their knowledge and educate us. Their process was simple and true to the entire natural process of brewing kombucha. These large barrels of black tea are kept at the perfect temperature while the cultures work their magic. Kombucha, much like a yogurt or kimchi, is a naturally fermented food that is chock-full of beneficial organisms that make for full flavor and many health benefits. I’m sure you are familiar with the term “probiotic”…well, count kombucha in your arsenal for digestive health along with yogurt or acidophilus pills. This stuff is delicious and really supports your overall health, my friends!
What we love about Whalebird‘s approach is their creativity with their flavoring. Taking what is essentially fermented, sweetened tea, they have worked with other local businesses like The Secret Garden to come up with gorgeous flavor enhancements. This huge bag of deliciousness is their base for their jasmine kombucha, filled with all sorts of lovely ingredients like jasmine flowers, raisins and more.
After 30 days in the barrels, Jake and Mike steep their kombucha to add layers of flavor. Our personal fave is their Ginger Sarsaparilla!
These giant tea bags brought out the kid in us….I guess it’s the caterers in us. We love playing with huge oversized food production gear. It just feels legit!
Actually, if you are familiar with sour beers, the guys said that brewing kombucha is a close cousin. Basically, sour beers start off the same way, but are eventually super heated to kill off the organisms. Then of course, they reintroduce things to build up the alcohol levels. With kombucha, the process is much more symbiotic which is why there may be trace amounts of alcohol in the brew, but not enough to write home about.
Hahaha, Sam looks like she is holding a baby! I TOLD you we love this stuff!
I think we were most impressed by their fridge on this tour. Haha we are such foodie nerds! It was such a cool engineering feat. I mean, they freaking DIYed an entire refrigerated room. Ummm, and check out that Zest it Up green! Yep, we are nerds!
Just chillin’ in the fridge!
Finally, back out to the tasting room, we were ready to sample all the delightfully effervescent concoctions!
Though ginger is our fav, the color and flavor of the jasmine is mesmerizing!
Aside from their uber cool growlers ornamenting the place, we were seriously impressed with all the original artwork throughout the space. Jake’s girlfriend just happens to be an insatiably talented artist. If you ever get a chance, you need to pop in for what feels like a mini gallery showing while sipping on some seriously good kombucha!
These guys have every right to be proud of what they are creating…both from the business side and the manufacturing side. Sam and I are fans for life!
We all adored the one of a kind deer head done by wood burning. Pretty legit!
Cheers to new friends, awesome beverages, and life in the SLO lane!