If you are looking for a sustainably sourced, healthier alternative to beer, I would recommend Boochcraft. It is currently available in eight states (CA, OR, WA, CO, TX, NV, AZ, and HI). Although I would love to give this company 3 planets, there is some information missing that I would have liked to know to more accurately rate their sustainability, such as the energy impact of their factories and details about their cans in Boochcraft 6 packs. In addition, they offer no information about their distribution practices for getting the Boochcraft from Chula Vista, CA to other states.
The Grapefruit Hibiscus Boochcraft has a short list of ingredients: grapefruits, hibiscus, heather, raw kombucha, yeast, and dried ginger. All of these ingredients are certified organic with QAI and the USDA. Boochcraft takes their craft seriously, so they do not use purees, extracts, artificial flavors, grains, honey, or animal-based products. They work directly with organic farmers to source their ingredients to ensure that they know where the ingredients come from and what the farmers use to plant and harvest. In terms of the Grapefruit Hibiscus Boochcraft, the website includes an interesting conundrum that Boochcraft must deal with every year. Come August, there is not a large enough supply of grapefruits to support the demand, so they increase production during June and July to compensate. Because they work with local ingredients, seasonality and perishability are ever important to the quality and quantity of their products, so they work to implement creative solutions. In a podcast on which Adam Hiner, one of the co-founders, was a guest, he describes the tea that they use for the initial kombucha brewing. The tea is some of the highest quality in the world and is sourced from a family-run organic tea farm in the regenerative forests of China. In addition, the sugar used in the fermentation process is all Fair Trade certified. In terms of the packaging, Boochcraft has taken some steps backwards. Initially, Boochcraft was only available in 22oz glass bottles, but in April of 2019, they began selling six packs of canned Boochcraft. Some cans have a BPA lining to ensure that the liquid contents do not react with the can, and Boochcraft does not clarify whether their cans are BPA-lined or not. Overall, Boochcraft provides very little information on the details of the packaging, which made me suspicious of why a company founded on the importance of transparency would not be more honest about the impact its decision to incorporate cans would have on the environment or human health.
Kombucha, in a general sense, is a fermented drink made with bacteria and yeast mixed with tea and sugar. A SCOBY, which is a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, turns the sugar and tea into kombucha. The process to create the regular kombucha is approximately 2 weeks. After those 2 weeks are up, the Boochcraft brewers add more sugar and yeast to create the high-alcohol kombucha. A closed fermentation tank prevents aerobic bacteria from metabolizing the newly added yeast. After 10-14 days for the second fermentation, the alcohol content is up to approximately 7% ABV. On the environmental sustainability front, Boochcraft composts 100% of their fruit scraps, tea, herbs, SCOBYs and paper towels in an effort to divert waste from landfill and provide organic compost for local farmers and gardeners. In December of 2019, they also installed a water recapture loop that saved 1116 gallons of fresh water per day. In addition, the fruit is all juiced on-site, ensuring that the juice is fresh. There were some areas for which there was no information on the Boochcraft website, such as the energy intensity of their factories and what type of energy the factory runs on, that made me wonder where they have not yet transitioned to sustainable practices, which is the only reason that I am rating it a bit lower.
Boochcraft is a high-alcohol kombucha that is made in Chula Vista, California. The company was founded in 2016 and now has over 70 employees comprised of brewers and a sales team. Boochcraft is a company that prides itself on transparency, sustainability, and high-quality products. After browsing the website, I got the impression that the three founders (Andrew Clark, Todd Kent, and Adam Hiner) wanted to maintain the time, effort and care put into their products even as the company expanded. They only use locally-sourced, when possible, and certified organic, non-GMO ingredients to ensure that individuals drinking Boochcraft would not have to worry about consuming pesticides or other chemicals. Boochcraft is also a member of 1% For The Planet, which means that they donate 1% of their sales to non-profits that support environmental sustainability. On the social justice side, Boochcraft co-created the Farm to Families initiative with the Wild Willow Farm “to bring fresh regenerative produce to underserved families along with nutrition, cooking and gardening education.” There is a blog on the Boochcraft website with sustainability tips, such as how to spot greenwashing and which sustainable brands to support, as well as descriptions of initiatives such as Farm to Families. Boochcraft really does come off as a genuine company that wants to create a better world with integrity, kindness, transparency, and excellence. In terms of some of their sustainability claims, though, some were lacking context.