Wild Kombucha by Ballsy Brewing was born after Matt and I returned from Maui, having been inspired by the vibrant energy of the Hawaiian Islands and the way we felt after drinking the local kombucha. Kombucha is an ancient beverage produced by the aerobic fermentation of tea with raw sugar. A symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (known as a SCOBY) converts the sugars into a range of organic acids and along with the nutrients from the tea creates a lightly carbonated, energizing and living drink – that with the right combination of wild workers in the colony tastes pretty good too!* It has been referred to as the ‘Tea of Immortality’, having been drunk for centuries for its purported health benefits in various countries, and we have found that awareness in Australia is growing with more and more interest in the process of fermentation.
With my background in fine art and Matt’s in medicine, we learnt the art and science of the brew process. After great feedback from friends and family, we decided to manifest the dream, which was to create a product aligned with our principles and an experience to accompany it.
Wild Kombucha is our signature product and Ballsy Brewing is a playful take on both our surname (Ball and O’Reilly) and the process of jumping head first into the beverage industry. We are honoured to supply our product on tap in three fantastic cafes – Orchard St Elixir Bar North Bondi & soon to be Paddington, Ruby’s Diner Waverley and Greenhouse Coffee Darlinghurst and the response has been very exciting. We currently have a wait list of potential customers.
One of the core aspects of our business is to be aware of our community impact and as such we promote refilling of our bottles off the tap as a takeaway. The majority of our waste is either recycled or composted in the Glover St Community Garden in Callan Park (Sydney’s oldest community garden). The bottle refill concept has been very successful to the point that we often discover hand labeled bottles with peoples names on them waiting for a fresh batch of kombucha down in Bondi! To say that is immensely satisfying is an understatement.
Our journey so far has had its challenges; one of the main ones being finding a permanent space to produce our product in Sydney. After a twelve-month search we found a beautiful warehouse space in Leichardt that allows us to explore our deeper interest, which is a fusion of passions in art, food and medicine. In line with our vision we are opening a cellar door style tasting and refill bar along with the Collaboratory (an incubator style space) in Leichhardt. The building has wonderful creative energy with nearby neighbours – Articulate – a gallery with artist studios next door. Our kitchen will be supporting makers in residence, and also running events and workshops exploring the concepts of natural health, conscious living and awareness of community. It is an exciting time for us!
*Kombucha is a living product that is theoretically probiotic and like any fermentation process generates a small (generally less than 1%) degree of alcohol. A small amount of caffeine (~5mg/100mL) and sugar (2-4g/100mL depending on flavouring) remains.