It started as something fun to do at home that combined a healthy diet and living off the land. And now, it’s a new business for a Bella Coola Valley couple.
In February, Gwyneth Anderson and her boyfriend Joseph Battensby decided to start brewing kombucha commercially. The couple, who have been together for almost six years and live on a farm in Hagensborg, spent the winter setting up their new business, Wildway Brewing, and they began selling bottles of kombucha in May.
Anderson says the business started because they both enjoy making and drinking kombucha, a fermented sweetened black or green tea drink. Anderson has been brewing kombucha at home for the past three to four years.
“I really love kombucha,” she says. “I love making it, me and Joe both love drinking it, and I think we both thought it would be something fun to try. I’ve always thought of having a little kombucha business. We decided why not try it out, start small and see what happens.”
Anderson and Battensby currently sell Wildway Brewing kombucha at Anderson’s Little Nook Café, at the Sunday Bella Coola Farmers’ Market and at the Wednesday Bella Coola Night Market, and they sell to the Bella Coola Mountain Lodge, which sells the kombucha by the glass and creates mixed cocktails with it.
Right now, Wildway Brewing kombucha comes in two different flavours: honey lavender rose; or blueberry, nettles and raspberry leaf.
“They are [flavours] I sort of came up with in my head,” says Anderson. “Honey lavender rose was one of the first I made at home, and it was one of our favourites so we decided that had to be one for sure. I drink a lot of nettles and raspberry leaf tea, so I wanted to try it with kombucha because nettles have a lot of different health benefits, but I knew it needed to have more sweetness.”
Anderson is excited to move towards being able to create kombucha flavours that use ingredients she and Battensby have grown or foraged themselves.
“We live on 52 acres, and eventually, the goal is to grow and wildcraft all the flavour ingredients,” she says.
Anderson says she became interested in kombucha because there are supposed to be a lot of health benefits. She says some people say it’s an “adaptogen,” and it can adapt to what your body needs and benefit the entire physiology, as opposed to fixing any one thing.
“It’s full of probiotics from the fermentation, which is really good for your gut flora, for a healthy gut,” she explains.
There are many reasons Anderson enjoys making – and sharing – kombucha.
“I really like creating flavours and things like that, so when we came up with the flavours, that was really exciting to me, and we are working on new flavours,” she says. “Also, I’m really interested in a healthy diet and looking into all these fermented foods and how it’s good for the body. Both Joe and I are interested in fermented foods and living off what we can produce. Just the fact that it’s a living culture that’s in there, you have to take care of it and keep it healthy, that’s also kind of magical.”
If anyone is interested in carrying Wildway Brewing kombucha or would like more information, they can email Anderson and Battensby at email@example.com.