A typical day at Real Kombucha begins when we swing open the door at our Chiltern Hills brewery. We’ll check the brewing tanks, make sure everything is ticking over nicely – that our Old Mothers look content and nicely fed – and then we’ll get on with whichever pressing matters are on our to-do-list.
One of our favourite moments in the day, however, is when we head over to our experimentation room. This is where we keep some of our new teas and flavours that we’re working on bubbling away. Not only is it a glimpse into what the future of Real Kombucha might hold, it’s also a slightly nostalgic gaze back into the past. You see, lining the shelves of this little room are countless Kilner jars – an ever-present reminder of how we started out on this journey.
Real Kombucha began in early 2016 when founder, David Begg, all but gave up drinking. A foodie at heart, David found he missed the joy of pairing great wine with great food, and increasingly began to notice that people choosing not to drink (for whatever reason) were not catered for in any serious, sophisticated manner. When a friend introduced him to an earthy, rich, oolong kombucha, he realised there might be a real alternative. His first brew, made with a silver needle tea he happened to have bought on a family holiday to India, was nurtured in a Kilner jar.
Like most early-stage brewers, the Kilner Jar played a big part in our understanding of kombucha. When Adrian Hodgson first joined David in the brewing shed (our very first brewery), he brought with him knowledge that he’d gleaned through making kombucha in a Kilner jar. Each subsequent team member to join Real Kombucha needs to build on what they know about making kombucha, and we always recommend that they do so in a Kilner jar.
So as you can imagine, we were delighted when we met the folks from Kilner at a trade show last year. Over a glass of the good stuff, they told us that they were about to launch an all-new Kilner® Kombucha Set, and that they were keen to work with people who really understood the ins and outs of making kombucha. Very quickly, a plan was hatched.
On a freezing couple of recent winter days, the Kilner team arrived at our brewery, filmed a set of interviews and took bucketloads of photos. With the cameras rolling, our man, Adrian Hodgson, took them through the best ways to brew kombucha, and off they went back up to Liverpool to edit everything together.
The results can now be found on this Kilner & Real Kombucha page – a complete beginner’s guide to making kombucha, featuring how-to videos and kombucha FAQs. We really can’t thank them enough for their enthusiasm for Real Kombucha, as well as for simply existing! Very few modern-day kombucha brewers would be able to get started without them, and we think the production of their Kilner® Kombucha Set is a great step forward for new brewers in the UK and across the world.