Booch Organic Kombucha Uses Unusual and Innovative Ingredients

Two members of the Booch Organic Kombucha Crew in the Brew Room

Consumer's Love for Ready-to-Drink Beverages is Thriving.

For years, I have been writing about how amazing Sea Buckthorn is when brewed as a kombucha. I have brewed many versions for myself and am pleased to supply sea buckthorn berries to several outstanding manufacturers of this wonderfully healthy fermented beverage. 

This is the story of Booch Organic Kombucha and Master Fermenter and CEO extraordinaire Shannon Kamins. Shannon was generous enough to share insight about her brewing journey and how much she loves using sea buckthorn in the Booch Citrus Twist Kombucha and their new Squeeze sparkling waters. 

A bottle of Booch Citrus Twist Organic Kombucha

In her own words: The History of Booch.

Booch’s story is one of health, growth, community, and local love; it’s a story that came to fruition through a mission of healing.

It began when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease after graduating with a degree in Health Science from Western University. When I first tasted kombucha back in 2010, it was love at first sip! I then began brewing my own kombucha at home and shortly after started making 10L batches on my countertop. I quickly developed a love for this ancient elixir that originated in China over 2000 years ago. My love for kombucha, coupled with my passion for cultivating community, spreading knowledge, and acting in the stewardship of local organic food systems, led me to open Booch, which operates on eco-regenerative and sustainable business practices, purpose, and lots of love!

I sold out within the first two hours of my very first market day at the Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario, and I continued to sell out every single week for two straight years!! At this time, the kombucha industry was very new. Nobody knew what it was or how to pronounce it, so there was a big educational component. The demand was more than I could have ever expected, and overnight, a new kombucha craze was happening in London, Ontario. The demand was so strong that it pushed me to move from a 10×10 stall to a 1,000 sq foot space in just four months and to a 13,000 sq ft space just two years later.

After almost nine years of business, Booch is now one of the most recognizable brands in Ontario and is now retailed at almost 1000 locations across Canada, including Metro, Sobeys, Food Basics, Foodland, Farmboy, independents, cafes, breweries and universities. We have a strong team of 11 employees, including an operations manager, quality manager, VP of sales, executive VP, and a mighty production team. We have a fully functioning bottling and canning line, brite tanks, walk-in coolers and even a ‘jungle tap room’ that is open during the week for those who refill large 1L bottles of kombucha, draught-style!

As an entrepreneur, creativity is at my core. After owning and operating Booch for so long, I wanted to expand our product offerings. We now produce Moonbrew (a honey and green tea ferment) and sparkling water.

A Can of Squeeze Seabuckthorn + Ginger Sparkling Water, made by Booch in front of two of Booch sparkling water flavours obscured in the background.Our newest product, released just two months ago, is called Squeeze. Squeeze is a botanically-infused, circular-waste sparkling water brand that up-cycles herbs and adds real ingredients into the water without any extracts! When I first started experimenting with the flavours, I wanted to use an ingredient with a story- and one less commonly used in the RTD beverages on the market. Sea buckthorn was the chosen ingredient! It is high in Vit C and antioxidants and has the most beautiful, complex flavour profile of citrus and tang. Given that we already use sea buckthorn in our Citrus Twist kombucha, this was an easy flavour to begin experimenting with. When I added a touch of Ginger, the taste was perfect.

Booch began as a kombucha brand but has transformed into a manufacturer of healing organic beverages that are good for you and the planet. We continue to diversify our product offerings to stay competitive but are also leaders in terms of flavour creativity in the market.

 

With a love for the unusual and flavourful: Sea Buckthorn is the perfect ingredient.

I really enjoy using Sea buckthorn in our product because of the jampacked flavour profile. It originally started when I met a local farmer in London, ON, that had a surplus of seaberries, and so I bought them… all 1000 lbs of them!! I don’t know what I was thinking!! But the flavour these bright orange berries produce is like nothing else. And so, to this day, we continue to use sea buckthorn because the flavour packs such a strong punch and allows us to use less of the overall ingredient, simultaneously ensuring our COGS are kept consistent and even lower than compared to using other ingredients like oranges.

I first learned about the sea buckthorn plant on a permaculture farm tour back in 2016. Our friends at The New New Age grew organic herbs, botanicals, fruit, and teas, and on our tour, we passed a sea buckthorn tree. We stopped and picked the berries and ate them fresh. Since then, I have always really enjoyed the flavour and appreciated the health benefits they provide. Because our products are certified organic, we began looking for an organic source of sea buckthorn and were so thrilled to find Omega Fruit Co. We have worked together for years now, and their product is high quality. When we are ready to flavour our kombucha and sparkling water, we juice the berries fresh and add it in!

In a competitive market, most brands come up with the same flavours! From one standpoint, this makes so much sense because they are following market and purchasing trends. But if you want to stand out (like we do), we find unique ingredients to create creative flavour profiles that have never been introduced on the market. In a world full of orange-flavoured kombucha and sparkling water, we add sea buckthorn to set ourselves apart from the crowd, yet mimicking very popular flavours that the public has come to love.

Because we process the berries ourselves and juice them fresh at the facility, it gives our product a high-quality flavour that extracts cannot imitate. We haven’t experienced any real challenges with using sea buckthorn, although we were surprised to learn that the berries have a small amount of fat content!

Exciting new product: Squeeze Sparkling Water

Our Sea Buckthorn + Ginger sparkling water is our VP of Sales’ all-time favourite product we create at Booch, and overall, the flavour is performing very well.

Because Squeeze is brand new, we are excited to see how the market responds to this unique flavour. We are currently attending events and giving away free samples to get more feedback and grow our sales across Canada. We already have three distributor partners.

There you have it! I hope you have enjoyed learning about the story of Booch: A great Canadian Brand ever forging ahead with innovative new products and setting the bar for market trends. I am grateful that Omega Fruit Co. is part of the fabric of their product design, and I look forward to the years to come as their sea buckthorn supplier. 

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BENEFITS

With 70% of our immune system residing in our gut, what we put into it, counts! Sea buckthorn juice is known to help achieve balanced nutrient intake, cold and flu resistance and increased energy levels.  It’s inflammation reducing antioxidants help athletes fight body fatigue, and the balanced Omegas fatty acids 3 – 6,  7* & 9, are considered to have a clear role in the prevention and healing of certain Atopic disorders.

 

RECIPE IDEAS

Sea buckthorn couli

Sea buckthorn coulis

Dark chocolate with sea buckthorn ganache

Delicious Sea buckthorn ganache inside dark chocolat shell.

Halibut with sea buckthorn, tomato and sea beans.

Halibut with sea buckthorn, tomato and sea beans.

Homemade Seaberry sorbet.

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