“Hard” doesn’t mean adding a boozy bite at the expense of flavor or natural ingredients, said Amy Goldman, announcing a new line of hard kombucha now available exclusively at The Brewkery’s North Kansas City taproom.
“We’ve all seen the trend toward low-calorie, low-sugar, and more sessionable drinks. The Brewkery opted to do it our way with real ingredients,” said Goldman, owner-operator of the taproom and its Lucky Elixir brand, noting the new Lucky Booch hard kombucha features no synthetic sweeteners.
Using a blend of Lucky Elixir kombucha and a neutral spirit to ensure the kombucha’s integrity isn’t compromised, she added, Lucky Booch products are gluten-free, flavored with fruit, hops and/or herbs, and full of healthy acid compounds and antioxidants.
“A lot of people who have tried it say they don’t even detect the alcohol in it at all. They think it tastes like regular kombucha,” Goldman said. “I can tell — but it’s pretty subtle.”
Lucky Booch is available (on tap and in 12-ounce cans) in four flavors: Peach Blossom (4 percent ABV), Lavender Lemon (4 percent ABV), Tart Raspberry (7 percent ABV) and Hops & Passion (7 percent ABV).
The new line was released in April at The Brewkery and is already a popular fixture in the space, which hosts individuals and small groups.
“We wanted to prove sales in our taproom before going to distributors, and we’ve already sold out of one flavor,” said Goldman.
The taproom — launched by Goldman and her husband, co-owner and brewer Sean Galloway in February 2018 — is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at 1443 Swift St.
Click here to learn more about The Brewkery or Lucky Elixir Kombucha.
Lucky Booch arrives about six years after the married duo first explored kombucha when they were looking for a non-alcoholic fermented drink to brew for their local farmers’ market — interest grown further from experimenting with making sourdough bread and beer.
“Once we got into kombucha making, we really kind of forgot about beer. It was just too hard to do all of it — even as a hobby,” Goldman said. “During COVID, we actually had a little bit of time to breathe. So it became one of our goals to finalize a line of hard kombucha — How we were going to do it became the big question.”
The project was a labor of love, she said, with its research and development phase serving as a testament to the brand’s commitment to product innovation and crafting high-quality, honest and transparent beverages.
But while the pandemic offered Goldman and Galloway the headspace to iterate their hard kombucha concept, it also saw a steep decline in wholesale demand for Lucky Elixir’s existing kombucha line. Thirst for kegs — especially in places like offices — plummeted during an extended work-from-home shutdown.
“People weren’t coming into work. Offices were closed. Companies didn’t have to worry about providing [those workplace amenities] at the time,” Goldman said. “It’s starting to come back now, and our taproom is stronger than ever.”
Aside from The Brewkery itself, non-alcoholic Lucky Elixir cans may be found in retail locations like The Roasterie, Made in KC, and smaller coffee shops across the city, as well as some grocery stores. A partnership with Kansas City-based Evolve has kombucha in all of their juice stores, from Omaha to Arkansas, Goldman said.
Even as the metro begins to reopen, one pandemic-prompted challenge remains, she added.
“We’re actually finding pretty major problems within the supply chain — everything from flavorings to even just growlers,” Goldman said. “It’s making everything take so much longer than it did before. It’s frustrating, but I think everyone’s still kind of in the same boat.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that seeks to build inclusive prosperity through a prepared workforce and entrepreneur-focused economic development. The Foundation works to change conditions, address root causes, and break down systemic barriers so that all people – regardless of race, gender, or geography – have the opportunity to achieve economic stability, mobility, and prosperity.