RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - There's a national day for everything and Wednesday is no different. We're celebrating National Booch Day, honoring a drink that dates back several thousand years, with a local taproom that was the first in the state of South Dakota.
Lone Pine Kombucha has a regular rotation of at least 30 flavors throughout the year. (KOTA TV)
Lone Pine Kombucha sits in downtown Rapid City on 7th Street. It's been in the same building for about two years now.
"I started with just a glass of kombucha and I really like the product, so I started brewing it on the counter at home, and just took off from there," said Lone Pine Kombucha Owner Keith Houdashelt.
It was a product the state had never heard of, so Houdashelt went out to change that.
"At the state level, we spent almost 6 months with the [Department of Health] and the Department of Revenue creating all the guidelines, all the HAACP plans, all the operating procedures, basically all the rules and regulations of the industry. We got everything down in writing, everything in print now they have a regular kombucha license," said Houdashelt.
So what exactly is kombucha?
"It's a fermented tea, a probiotic drink full of healthy bacteria and enzymes, full of B vitamins, so really good for you on that note as far as boosting your energy, aids in your overall gut health and digestion," said Houdashelt.
Now, let's talk about how this drink is made. It starts with a tea blend, unique to any brewer, and sugar. Houdashelt uses pure cane sugar because he's had the best luck with it.
"Then we just it let ferment. There is some yeast in it, it's mostly a bacterial fermentation. We let it sit in our tanks for about 45 days to bring them to maturity," said Houdashelt. "We brew all of ours down to a specific sugar level and we add either fruits or herbs or spices at that point to get that flavoring. Then, they ferment again for a couple of days, and then we refrigerate and serve."
The flavor possibilities of kombucha are endless. The Lone Pine team has tried out at least 60 already over the past few years.
"There are about 30 of them we go through really regular that we try to keep in constant rotation, and then we have of course some seasonal rotators and some specialty blends that we do throughout the year," said Houdashelt.
According to KombuchaBrewers.org, it's been sold commercially in European apothecaries for at least 60 years. Now, compare that to the United States, which finally started embracing the product about 25 years ago.
"People have realized all the health benefits. People are drawing away from the sugary products, away from the soda pops, away from that, everyone's becoming way more health-conscious," said Houdashelt.
The trend is showing no signs of slowing down, turning into a multi-billion dollar industry.
It doesn't stop with the drink, however.
"The soap that we have is kombucha and SCOBY, which is the symbiotic compound bacteria in yeast, that is actually where all the bacteria and the yeast basically live in this product. It's really highly moisturizing, does wonders for eczema, for acne, we have people come in to say their acne has cleared up drastically," said Houdashelt.
The Lone Pine Kombucha owner hopes people will just come in and try it for themselves, before making any judgment.
"All kombucha is not created equal. If you don't like one brand, try another brand. If you don't like what you're getting in the store, we encourage everyone to get into the craft products. There's a big difference between a store and a craft product, just give 'em a try," said Houdashelt.
Anyone can drink kombucha, there's no age limit on it. Lone Pine also offers lifestyle shakes that are organic and great as a meal replacement.
The business is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.