Summit Kombucha owners Hilary Seymour, left, and Nicole Schoeneberg stand in front of their new shop on Sept.12. The store, located in Marwell, will open later this month. (Julien Gignac/Yukon News)

“It’s really filled our cup”: Summit Kombucha co-owner on positive reception in Whitehorse

The Yukon’s first kombucha makers are opening their own shop later this month

A sink delivery appeared somewhat symbolic for the owners behind Summit Kombucha, the Yukon’s first batch maker of a health drink that’s taken much of North America by storm.

On Sept. 12, the brick and mortar shop, located in Marwell, sat mostly empty with few supplies — until the sink arrived. It’s one of the final stages before the shop’s grand opening later this month.

Owners Hilary Seymour and Nicole Schoeneberg spotted a void in Whitehorse. Now they want to fill it with delicious drinks.

Many are likely aware of their craft. Since May, the duo has been selling kombucha at the Fireweed farmer’s market. The beverages are made with a regional bent in mind, and the flavours are manifold.

Rosemary-ginger, rosemary-mint, low bush cranberry, blueberry-basil, rosehip-strawberry, are but a few examples.

Ingredients are foraged. The rosehip, Schoeneberg said, was gathered at Kluane, for instance.

“We try to keep a local aspect to it,” she said.

“We always try to do a fruit, herbal infusion, of sorts.”

The drinks, rich with probiotics, are made by steeping tea, adding sugar then what’s endearingly called a scoby, a bacterial culture that’s fermented for a week at least. The final product is a dainty-sweet, effervescent beverage.

Alcohol is also present, given the fermenting process, but it’s negligible, generally sitting below 0.5 per cent.

This percentile, Seymour said, is the threshold for selling a non-alcoholic beverage.

Both Schoeneberg and Seymour said there’s an appetite for kombucha in Whitehorse. They know because they’ve gauged reaction for several months at the farmer’s market, where it’s been a hit.

“They love it,” Seymour said, referring to patrons. “I would say maybe half of the people who we’ve met at the market knew what it was and either made it themselves at home or buy it from the store. The other half are new converts and come back every week to fill multiple growlers. It’s pretty nuts, actually.”

Schoeneberg and Seymour are elementary school teachers, so Kombucha Summit will be a side hustle.

Their shop will be open on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This, though, is tentative. The perk of going to the outlet is that more specialty flavours will be stocked than at downtown retailers, Schoeneberg said.

Baked Café, Midnight Sun and Riverside refill 1-litre growlers for $12, discounting the price of the bottles, which fetch for $8. The kombucha will eventually be available by the glass at Wayfarer Oyster House, which is slated to open in the near future.

The pair project to brew 50 gallons of kombucha per week.

“It’s always taking a risk when you’re in the customer service realm, especially with food and drink,” Schoeneberg said. “We were doing and we were happy with our product and it’s really comforting to know that people are equally as enthusiastic and love it just as much as we do. We’ve had so much positive feedback. It’s really filled our cup.”

Contact Julien Gignac at julien.gignac@yukon-news.com

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