Good Buzz Booch® is a non-alcoholic brewed probiotic soft drink commonly called kombucha. It is thought to have originated in Manchuria, China over 2000 years ago and the claims to health benefits have preserved the elixir through generations, carrying it around the world.
Alex's grandmother, Amy, started making what she called Manchurian Tea in 1974 in Kaikohe, NZ. Her kombucha culture continues on 40 years later with Good Buzz, handed on down through the family.
Amber, the boochmaster at Good Buzz, first dabbled in making kombucha four years ago but started back into it again in New Zealand mid-2012. Nine months of experimenting with different teas, sugars and amounts, temperatures and methods, as well as dealing with exploding bottles, and something magical happened. A brew came to life that was unlike any other kombucha they had tasted before – this was more like a smooth cider, lacking the strong vinegary taste commonly found in other kombucha brews.
Alex had been working for a Silicon Valley software company, thoroughly enjoying big data analytics, but when ‘Booch’ happened he knew something very special had been created. Not a gambler, but certainly a risk taker on a ‘good thing’, he came up with the business plan and identity-to-be for what would become Good Buzz.
Both Alex and Amber are children of chiropractic and naturopathic fathers. Healthy living and eating what nature has given has been the foundation of their lives and they are now proud to be able to share these principles with others too.
Booch® is not the brand of kombucha that just sits in the fridge at your local healthfood shop. It is also the beverage that sits next to fizzy drinks and juices at the cafe, the restaurant, even next to alcoholic beverages at the bar. It is packaged in an amber coloured bottle to preserve the contents but also allows for the bottle to be comfortably held in social settings. When individuals choose a Booch® because they are driving, or simply ‘opting out’ they are still getting a ‘true brew’.
It takes a little over two weeks to make a bottle of Booch®, from fermentation through bottle-conditioning, which builds the carbonation naturally and gives the brew a richer flavour. The fermentation process consists of placing a kombucha culture on a sweetened tea for about eight days and subsequently produces a tangy, slightly fizzy liquid. It no longer resembles tea at this stage, except for a hint of tea flavour depending on the type.
Good Buzz Booch® sets itself apart as a non-alcoholic brew tasting more like a refreshing cider. It's not too sweet with sugars hovering around 2%. Kombucha is enzyme rich and consists of dozens of organic acids to include acetic, lactic, glucuronic and gluconic acids. Due to the fermentation process Booch® contains some residual alcohol but never more than 1%, similar to a handcrafted ginger beer. NZ food code regulation states that non-alcoholic beverages must contain less than 1.15% alcohol by volume, and are thereby suitable for all ages.
Booch® is probiotic meaning that is has living, 'good' and beneficial bacteria in it. Our kombucha has been lab tested and contains saccharomyces boullardi, a known probiotic with a long history of use. Consumers may find live cultures in their bottle; generally, this is a small, slightly rubbery disc at the top of the bottle, similar to a skinless grape. This is totally harmless and most people simply eat/swallow it, though it can be discarded. This is an indisputable sign that the drink is in fact raw and 'living'. A bottle of Booch® currently has a ‘Best Before’ date of 4 months after bottle-conditioning, only to ensure a high-quality taste without tasting 'vinegary', though this does not mean the brew is bad or 'off'.
All teas used have been carefully selected based on the taste produced and are all certified organic and Fairtrade. We use Fairtrade organic sugar and artesian water from the Waiwhetu aquifer under the Hutt Valley in Wellington, which has not been treated by any type of chemical: chlorine, fluoride etc. The water is simply run through a commercial grade carbon filter, then through a commercial grade UV filter.
The Good Buzz journey has only just begun. Booch® paves the way but there is plenty more to come.