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July 19, 2024

Bucha (that’s Kombucha) of Byron

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By Vivienne Pearson

If someone is reading this story out loud to you, you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a story about a new place to buy meat. But see it written and you think kombucha, the fermented drink.

For the few who don’t know and have been too afraid to ask, kombucha is a lightly fizzy drink made with tea (black or green), water, sugar and the oddly-named scoby (which makes sense when you realise it is an acronym for ‘symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast’).

This region abounds in kombucha and is now joined by a new player: The Bucha of Byron.

It is the creation of three friends who claim to love their ’bucha more than beer, so much so that they’ve swapped (or combined) careers in the beer industry for a business in kombucha. They have teamed up with Stone & Wood brewery to use their Byron Arts & Industry Estate brewery.

Paul Tansley is the born-and-bred local of the team – so much so that our planned interview was cancelled as Paul rushed back to his house in Billinudgel as the recent flood waters started to rise. ‘The local kombucha scene is further advanced here as it’s been adopted faster than the rest of Australia,’ he says. ‘But it’s growing fast everywhere in the country and if you look at somewhere such as the US, it’s in every supermarket.’

The team started selling locally (available on tap at Top Shop, Fresh Café and 100 Mile Table and is stocked in bottled form in more than 30 places – see their website for a list) and are now moving into Melbourne and Sydney. They are also on board with local events such as the Byron Surf Festival, the Mullum Music Festival and smaller ones.

Kombucha can be a divider of those who love it and those who, well, can’t stand it. ‘Kombucha brewing is a bit of a dark art,’ says Cam Macfarlane, another of the team. ‘We either grew up drinking it or watching our family members drink it for a range of health-related reasons.’ Paul adds that the team are aiming to get quality and consistency high so that: ‘The Bucha of Byron is known for its great taste, while maintaining all the health benefits.’

Over to you to give it a try…

The Bucha of Byron, available on tap and in bottles. www.buchaofbyron.com.au 

Bucha of Byron @ Surf Festival_Supplied

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