Kombucha (pronounced Kom-BOO-chuh) is a fermented tea beverage with roots in ancient China and Russia. It has been brewed and enjoyed by humans for thousands of years, and coveted for its unique flavor and purported digestive health benefits. Kombucha is made by fermenting sweet tea with a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast, called a SCOBY. The resulting brew is slightly caffeinated, bubbly, and full of probiotics, enzymes, and flavor!
Simply put, the yeast turns the sugar into alcohol and CO2, and the probiotic bacteria turn the alcohol into organic acids and enzymes that are said to have a myriad of health effects, including aiding digestion, easing hangovers, increasing energy, clarity and more*. Of course, our tight asterisk should tell you that these effects have not been evaluated by the FDA, so you’ll have to try it for yourself and see what you think.
What we can say is that the majority of the alcohol is broken down during the fermentation process, leaving only small amounts behind. Our flagship "Zesty Booch" finishes with 1.0% to 1.5% of alcohol by volume remaining in the drink. While it is legally an alcoholic beverage, we regard it as generally non-intoxicating. If you're concerned about consuming low amounts of alcohol, or under the age of 21, we have a number of lighter flavors that are legally non-alcoholic (below 0.5% ABV).
If you're looking to catch a buzz drinking Kombucha, we do have blends that boast as high as 6% ABV on the menu.
NOTE: Authentically fermented Kombucha can contain as much as 2+% ABV, so if you brew at home, be aware that while it's still not quite enough to be intoxicating, your brew may be stronger than you think!
Dean Wakerlin first found an interest in drinking Kombucha through the local Bozeman yoga community. Before long, a friend and fellow yoga student gave Dean his first SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast), which he gratefully took to begin attempting to brew Kombucha. After a couple of failed batches, Dean realized it wasn't as simple as it seemed and retired from his brief Kombucha brewing career to carry on with his life. It wasn't long before a different friend moved out of town and gave him her SCOBY (named Ché) as she left. He didn't have much of a choice but to give it another try, and with a little bit of luck, research, and determination, Dean and Ché began to produce a series of successful brews.
As his interest and ability grew, Dean began expanding his palate, experimenting with infusing exotic combinations of fruit, herbs, and spices into the finished Kombucha. His unique and bold flavor combinations made his brews perfectly zesty and nearly irresistible to all that tried it. The Booch began to amass a cult following of Booch fans who would do whatever it took to get their hands on a bottle. It was during that time that "Dean's Zesty Booch" was born.
Before long, Dean knew there was more to this movement than his casual kitchen Kombuchery could support, so he and his crack team of friends, brewers, designers, musicians, and ninjas set off to make Dean's Zesty Booch legit. Nearly eight years later, Dean and his team have turned a once failed hobby into Montana's first dedicated Kombucha brewery and bar, whose mission is to bring joy and digestive health to all that consume the Zesty Booch.
There is still so much to learn about Kombucha's wild fermentation process, including how different fermentation conditions affect the final alcohol content. In May of 2017, DZB finalized a brewery license to allow the team to explore the higher-alcohol end of Kombucha brewing. The variety of non-alcoholic, full-strength (low alcohol), and higher alcohol flavors are ever expanding. Stop into the tasting room and try them all for yourself!
Dean is (literally) the face of the brand, and the mastermind behind the recipes that have made our Kombucha so zesty. His indomitable work ethic and passion for excellence are largely responsible for the quality of the product and the environment at DZB. In his eight years home brewing Kombucha, he developed over 80 flavors, many of which will be added to our menu in the coming months and years. When he's not in the brewery, Dean plays drums with Dusty Pockets and didgeridoo with Sonic Bliss Bath. He regularly attends classes at Your Yoga, drinks goats milk and raw meal smoothies, does handstands, has a beard, and harvests his own firewood. He is all that is man, and exactly the guy you'd expect to own a Kombucha bar.
Joe moved to Bozeman in 2008 to attend Montana State University. After changing his major, joining a band, and failing a few music classes his freshman year, he came to his senses and graduated with a degree in Business in 2012. After meeting Dean and subsequently tasting the best Kombucha he had ever had at a local jam session, Joe's proceeded to spend nights and weekends designing the DZB brand, developing the business plan, and creating content as a culmination of his business education and creative passions. He currently manages most administrative tasks, marketing activities, and new product development.
Griff was looking for a SCOBY to begin brewing his own Kombucha when he found Dean's Zesty Booch. He started hanging around to lend a hand, and to be honest, drink his weight in free Kombucha by swirling the Booch in a glass and dazzling us with words like "flavor profile," "volatiles," and "esters". With a degree in Microbiology from Colorado State University, an interest in all things fermentation, and the by far most scientific background on the team, Griff quickly became indispensable around the brewery. He spends most of his time working in our small in-house lab, developing quality control processes, testing samples, and expanding our collective knowledge of all things Booch.
Jesse is as O.G. as it gets in the history of Booch. As a long-time friend, the co-owner of Peach Street Studios, and the founder of the Peach Street Jams, Jesse is responsible for providing Dean an outlet to awaken the Bozeman music community to the universal truths of the Booch. As Creative Director and co-founder of RedBrain Media, Jesse has worked closely with Joe to develop the marketing strategies and business plan to make DZB a reality. He also lent his innumerable finish carpentry skills to the build out effort, including scribing and joining two gorgeous and unruly Ponderosa Pine slabs for the bar.