Behind the Label: Caleb & Ali of Clearly Kombucha

Clearly Kombucha is a brand new, locally produced, artisan kombucha that is a healthy, non-alcoholic option for any time of day.

We chatted with Caleb and Ali of Clearly Kombucha to find out what makes this refreshing beverage unique. It’s obvious they are extremely passionate about their product and the process behind it. Caleb said: “Kombucha brewing is more of an art than a science. Crafting the best tasting kombucha is one part ingredient selection but two parts brewer magic. Taking care of our starter culture, brewing the tea, and leading the fermentation process is a full-time job that requires the undivided attention and dedication of our master brewers.”

Keep reading to learn how Caleb & Ali came up with the Clearly Kombucha concept and how it is made!

What makes Clearly Kombucha different from other kombuchas?

Clearly Kombucha is unbelievably great tasting kombucha produced locally in the Bay Area. We approach brewing kombucha like a vintner approaches the creation of an estate wine. In addition to sourcing the highest quality ingredients, we continually improve our brewing process and brewery to produce the healthiest and most refreshing kombucha imaginable!

In 2011, we built our own state-of-the-art brewery in Fairfield, CA. Having our own brewery allows us to slow brew our kombucha for up to 30 days. Through this extra long fermentation we ensure that our tea-based beverage is non-alcoholic (less than 1/2 of 1%) and that we produce a range of organic acids (including acetic and gluconic acids), micronutrients and antioxidants.

Our kombucha is 100% naturally fermented with no artificial anything, no GMOs and is gluten-free. But most importantly, Clearly Kombucha is the first and only kombucha to be truly great tasting and refreshing with a clean, crisp finish. When you walk into our brewery and smell the freshly steeping green tea, you can feel that our kombucha is a special beverage.

How did you come up with this concept?

In 2008, Alison and I were in Las Vegas for a friend’s 21st birthday party. We noticed a lack of non-alcoholic alternatives in the Vegas restaurants, bars and clubs. Of course there are diet sodas, sparkling waters, and energy drinks, but there are not any premium, healthy non-alcoholic drinks that make you feel good.

We realized there was an opportunity to create an upscale non-alcoholic beverage that is healthy for you, makes you feel good and fits seamlessly into the restaurant and bar scene. We put our energy into crafting Clearly Kombucha, which is approachable with fun flavors and a clean modern label, that can help people lead a healthy lifestyle.

What has it been like starting your own business?

Extremely challenging while being extremely rewarding. Because kombucha is unlike any other beverage on the market, everything has to be done in our brewery. We steep whole leaf green tea and organic sugar in small batches, then ferment the tea for up to 30 days. The brewing is very time consuming, but luckily we love brewing the fresh tea and spending the necessary time to make a high quality product. We put our heart and soul into making Clearly Kombucha and it’s worth every second because we know that we are crafting an extremely healthy and tasty beverage.

How do you source your ingredients, and can you tell us more about how Clearly Kombucha is brewed?

Clearly Kombucha is unique from start to finish. We partner with a tea purveyor who seeks out the highest quality teas from the world’s best estates.

Then, we begin the brewing process by steeping a generous heap of antioxidant-rich whole leaf green tea and adding organic evaporated cane juice. Some form of sugar is necessary for kombucha production because sugars provide the fuel for fermentation. We use organic evaporated cane juice because it is processed less than refined sugar and retains more of the naturally occurring nutrients found in sugar cane. During the fermentation process, which can take up to 30 days, nearly all of the cane juice is consumed by our starter culture. As mentioned earlier, a long fermentation allows us to first convert the cane juice into alcohol, and then convert the alcohol into organic acids and trace micronutrients. Finally, we cold filter Clearly Kombucha like a fine champagne to achieve a crisp and clean finish. Click here for more detail about this process!

What flavors are you partial to?

My favorite flavor is the Ginger Berry. The ginger is simply invigorating! I like to drink it after my morning workout and for my afternoon pick-me-up.

What is interesting is that everyone seems to have their own favorite and it’s pretty evenly spread between the Ginger Berry, Asian Pear, Black Currant, Tangerine and Original. To each his own!

The Original is especially appealing to those watching their calories. At 5 calories per bottle, the Original only has the residual sugar remaining after fermentation. Drink this down instead of your sparkling water and get the added bonus of antioxidants from our green tea and the organic acids produced during fermentation. Cheers!