May 13, 2016

Links & More Information

Kombucha has re-emerged as an integral 21st century way to reclaim our guts. This is why we started brewing kombucha. 

However, you can’t have a conversation about fermentation without talking about food. At this time we are lucky to be living subjects, experiencing an amazing renaissance in gastronomy. Being driven, simultaneously, by some brilliant people and advances in science. To talk about kombucha, is to talk about beer, food and wine, as they are all of the same paradigm.

No wonder more and more research is being dedicated to the science of food, flavor, bacteria & microbial fermentation. Not only externally but internally as well. One area of great interest lately is the link between Gut-Health and Diabetes which is rising drastically. 

“We carry almost six pounds of microbes in our gut, which form our gut microbiome. Each person has a unique gut microbiome (also known as gut microbiota) as personalized as your signature. For example, some groups of microbes are inherited, and others are environmentally acquired. A group called Christensenellaceae is associated with a lean and healthy lifestyle and is very strongly inherited in families.

This unique mix of bacteria is diverse and responsible for numerous functions. For instance, some of our gut bacteria protect against external bacteria and support our immune system. They also help regulate intestinal hormone secretion and synthesize vitamin K and several B-vitamins, including folate and vitamin B12.” – Betul Hatipoglu, MD of the Chronic Conditions Team at Cleveland Clinic writes in an article exploring the link between gut health and diabetes.

As a Johns Hopkins Medicine expert points out the Brain-Gut Connection. A UCLA Study shows changing gut bacteria affects brain function. The Scientific American talks about how gut bacteria make us fat and thin. I often wonder about the effects corn syrup on the gut biome.

The NY Times explores how gut bacteria can explain your mood. The Atlantic discusses mood from the perspective of brain function. Theres actually a science backed reason people and the press are calling Pure Luck® Happiness in a Bottle™

Kombucha has the power to positively transform thinking through better gut health. 

Some of the people we find interesting…

The first real Head Brewmaster I met was Garrett Oliver, Head Brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery & Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Companion to Beer. The most comprehensive reference work on beer ever published. If you have searched Brooklyn Brewery online then you’ve seen my photos of Garrett and Steve Hindy.

I was fortunate enough to work with Brooklyn Brewery for several years just as I’d begun brewing kombucha. I was tasked with creating a photo archive of their Williamsburg, Brooklyn brewery expansion. Being that close to Garrett and Steve Hindy, Co-Founder of Brooklyn Brewery really motivated me. I learned so much just being around them. Steve’s Book, Beer School, also helped put me in check and bring me back to reality. At least we haven’t had to deal with the mafia yet! … well maybe a little bit in Bangkok.

Then there’s chefs like Dan Barber. Whom, advocates the ‘silly’ idea of growing food for flavor! His, Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant works directly with farmers. The idea, to grow food with an emphasis on the science of making it taste better by creating peak soil conditions. Watch the trailer for Chefs Table.

Dan Barber has also done two TED talks highlighting natural symbiotic/ biodynamic systems, a core principle of Pure Luck® ideology. If you eat fish or foie gras here is a parable for you.

Ultimately, it’s the people Dan Barber highlights. Eduardo Sousa, whom you might call the Goose whisperer. And Miguel, a biologist that turned a cattle farm into a fish farm and completely reversed the ecological destruction. These people are experts in relationships. They have both created completely self renewing, organic food systems. Miguel’s fish farm also happens to be one of the largest and most important bird sanctuary’s in Europe. He says they “farm extensively not intensively”. Eduardo’s Foie Gras won France’s coveted Coup de Coeur award in 2006.

Heston Blumenthal, is another very inventive, cooky seeming fellow that I personally find interesting. His 3 Michelin Starred Fat Duck serves a whimsical, multi sensory meal of Alice in Wonderland esq. proportions with neuroscience backed research.

Another is Jozef Youssef, founder of Kitchen Theory and author of Molecular Gastronomy at Home. These people are asking, what is the psychologist doing in the kitchen? Using things like “Sonic Seasoning” to create “Sensploration” meals. Not only are you served food. You are served sound, scent, lighting changes and visual mood cues. iPods hidden in seaweed and headphones. It’s not just a meal it’s an experience.

Someone else inspiring a different molecular level is Big Thinker Michio Kaku. A Japanese-American futuristtheoretical physicist and popularizer of science according to Wikipedia. I came to know him in my younger years as a Co-Founder of String Field Theory and author of International Best Selling books, Physics of the Impossible, Parallel Worlds and Hyperspace. His books opened doors of perception to the physics of a very important theory, Quantum Mechanics. These theories exhibit subtle methods to use what is unseen, yet tested, to manifest direct physical outcomes. I really don’t want to use a Star Wars analogy but, the Force is real, and it’s all around us. Even if only in our own magnetic force. The studies are out there.

Your like what does particle physics have to do with kombucha? Well actually a lot. Keeping up with theoretical physics enables a greater understanding of the world around us through science. As a bit of a physics nerd, these extensions of Einstein’s theories and Max Planck‘s scientific work allows for a greater understanding, of not only the recent revelations in the science of food. But also the interconnectivity or relationship of the universe of space that surrounds us.

In a different capacity, and maybe not our favorite player, but well done for celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation, trying to bring a different point front and center in schools and at the policy level. Maybe it’s time to change what most experts agree is the main culprit for obesity and cancer. Chemically laden, sugar heavy, mass processed food.  Food Foundation focuses specifically on these mass processed foods grip on American schools lunch rooms and policy decisions. Options that include soda, chips and candy bars, milk with added sugar and ideas where pizza and french fries are considered vegetables? No wonder.

The Industry

When we started, I would often draw comparison between kombucha and craft beer of the late 80’s and early 90’s. When craft was still a relatively small industry taking foothold. To give some perspective, craft beer sales in 1987 represented only 0.1% of the total beer market, but by 1994 they represented 1.3%. Today, it’s 11% and in 2015 the craft beer market had total sales of over $2.9 billion.

In 2010 kombucha was said to be a $350 million dollar market growing on average 15% per year. In 2015 it was $521 million. Now, new brands are popping up all over the world. Im following over 400 brands on IG alone. As soda sales decline, for more than a decade now, kombucha will soon become the next billion dollar market. Not to mention all the offshoot products. We have GT Dave partially to thank for this, he opened the door for the rest of us. Who get the other half of the thanks! GT Dave was probably the reason most of us got hooked in the first place. Or from a friend who made their own. Kombucha is like that. You just want to share it!

However, the cost of our kombucha addiction and the better health benefits associated with super fresh, undiluted kombucha was another reason to start brewing our own. There were more reasons too, 99 choices of coloring and natural flavor added, corn syrup laden, sugar heavy drinks everywhere. Not one we would dare to drink.

Kombucha helps regulate gall function and is a mechanism that serves as way to wean the body off sugar addiction. If kombucha is overly sweet then the positive beneficial acid and fully metabolized micro-biotic effects are lost. Kombucha needs a full 21 days at least to reap the full benefits of fermentation. Conversely, if you add sugar to counter the sour taste, then you are acting in a way thats counterintuitive to the idea of trying to reduce sugar consumption. All of our kombuchas are fermented in a traditional manner, adopted to our standards of perfection, have very low sugar content and are sour because that’s the way Pure Kombucha™ tastes.

PURE KOMBUCHA™ IS SOUR – A pH of 2.8 – 3.5 is not uncommon. If you say you don’t like sour and drink Coke then you may be surprised to learn that Coke has a pH of 2.8.

The Last Part

Actually, the beginning of it all. As pure luck would have it, I spent the better part of the last two decades in Asia living and traveling as a professional photographer. My Asian experiences enforced my mild obsession with tea and brewing technique.

Today, tea is the second most consumed beverage on the planet, and beer, the third. On an energetic level these beverages represent countless historical events, world changing moments, ideas and brilliant conversations manifest in real time. The amount of collective, and creative, energy forged over thousands of years of cultivating and preparing plants, bacterias and yeast is enormous.

Much of this knowledge is passed down generationally. From many experiences with purveyors to ceremonialists. I noticed a subtle theme. As simple as brewing tea is, there’s also a bit of magic to it. Think, Japanese tea ceremony. Brewing tea, to me, and beer or kombucha by extension, is something ephemeral and unadulterated.

An idea is formed that the truest taste of tea can only be found through the collective experiences of cultivation, the experienced ceremonies of brewing and the generations of spoken knowledge and passed down, hand made technique.

And don’t forget Mom’s advice – Eat your vegetables!