Gone are the days of going to a pub or bar and only having Carlton Draught or VB to choose from. Times have changed, and so have the alcoholic beverages that are on offer.
Max McKay, the owner of Captains bar in Geelong, believes patrons are no longer satisfied with your average beers, they want something different.
“We are finding that people nowadays are exploring more with their drinking options and want something a little different to the regular beers,” he said.
“Currently we have two beverages on tap (Furphy & Pipsqueek cider), 17 different beers in the fridge, six flavoured beers, 13 gins, 12 rums, five tequilas and six vodkas.”
But you’ll find that Max isn’t the only venue owner operating differently. Today, nearly any licensed venue will offer a range of beers, wines, ciders, vodkas, whiskey, bourbon, cocktails and kombucha …
Wait, what? Kombucha? What’s that?
Kombucha is made from a green or black tea base. White sugar is then added with a “tea fungus” called symbiotic culture of acetic acid (vinegar) bacteria and yeast, or better known as SCOBY.
This process takes two weeks and the end product claims to be a healthy alternative to soft drink, with next to no sugar.
Nick Cogger, a Torquay businessman, liked what he saw with the kombucha drink and came up with the idea to make a “better for you” alcoholic alternative.
“I just saw there was a global trend towards better for you alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and a push for normal kombucha,” he said.
“We looked at what kombucha was and how it was a fermented tea and slightly alcoholic, so we looked at making it more alcoholic, and it leant towards being a stronger alcoholic drink.
“It’s not just like orange juice with a shot of vodka, it was actually brewed and that’s what I liked about the product.”
K.BOOCH was released in February this year and is the first alcoholic kombucha to be released in Australia.
“I came up with the idea in October last year, but we didn’t launch until February this year,” Cogger said.
“I saw it as an opportunity as no one else was doing it in Australia at the time, so I put a business plan together and had a product in the market within eight weeks.”
K.BOOCH is locally brewed in Geelong and requires further steps to raise the alcohol levels compared to normal kombucha.
“We use the process to make a normal kombucha at the beginning, then we strip out the SCOBY from the product, and then we re-introduce cider yeast and some fresh sugar,” Cogger said.
“This creates a second fermentation process that takes around 14 days and from that we have created an alcoholic product, and then blend it with some flavoured juices.”
Cogger is hoping to attract younger-middle aged men and women who like to treat themselves every now and then.
“Our target market is currently for the people who drink once a month, maybe twice a month that is something premium and a little bit better for you as opposed to someone who wants to drink eight of them at a party,” he said.
Since the launch, Cogger has managed to get his product in stores all over Australia.
“We just went into 300 BWS (stores) nationally and we are in about another 300 independent bottle shops/bars.”