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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Golda Kombucha Strives For Health in Body, Environment

Melanie Wade started Atlanta’s Golda Kombucha with her 95-year-old grandmother’s recipe.

“When I was a kid I wasn’t really sure what her drink was,” says Wade. “I regarded it as the weird mushroom tea. That’s kind of how we all knew it in our family—as grandma’s weird mushroom tea.”

Kombucha is traditionally water, tea, sugar and a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) that is then fermented, according to Kombucha Brewers International (KBI).

The international organization states that the Chinese have consumed the beverage for health benefits for thousands of years. Golda Kombucha purports to be rich in B vitamins, probiotics, antioxidants and enzymes that benefit the digestive and immune systems.

Wade, who is secretary at KBI, reassures people who are concerned about drinking a fermented beverage made with bacteria.

“Kombucha for many generations has been brewed at home, but now, with the emerging industry we have many companies that are brewing kombucha. In order to brew kombucha, you have to be licensed and accredited,” says Wade. “It’s not just as easy as filling up your bathtub with kombucha. It’s a very lengthy process to get licensed and official.”

She suggests that anyone who wants to make their own at home research with reliable resources and take a class on proper brewing methods.

Wade, who started selling her product at farmers’ markets in 2013, has opened her own kombucha on the east side of the city. Golda’s six flavors include peach ginger, lavender lemon and hibiscus blood orange. Wade makes about 350 gallons a week, bottling some for big name retailers such as Krogers as well as selling kegs to local retailers, putting to work part of her business’s sustainability ethics.

“They can sell to their customers by pint glass or growler,” says Wade. “The customer not only gets costs savings associated with that, but they also get a guilt-free way of drinking kombucha that’s not putting several single-serve bottles in the landfills.”

My Friend’s Growler Shop, in Grant Park, has been carrying Golda Kombucha for several months. They sell draft beer to fill customers to-go beer containers, and have Golda’s Strawberry Mint on tap at the moment. Co-owner Camric Shultz says Golda Kombucha is good fit next to his other kegs.

“It’s easy for us to have them on draft, and all of our customers are coming in with growlers already, so it just kinda fits our model,” says Shultz. “Most of the time people, if it’s their first time seeing it, they’re like ‘Oh wow, you have kombucha here?’ They’re pretty big fans of it. Quite often we do samples of it here and everyone seems to really enjoy it.”

Wade also sells a line of Golda Kombucha-themed clothing created by local Tomahawk Prints, and a line of kombucha soaps produced by Atlanta’s Indigo Bath & Body.

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