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Kombucha bar brings healthy new option to Kelowna’s brewery district

Rochelle Minagawa, founder of Motherlove Ferments.
Rochelle Minagawa, founder of Motherlove Ferments.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Motherlove Ferments

Pub-crawling through the emerging brewery district in Kelowna’s North End this summer will provide a new beverage option that’s healthier than beer but still carries the same punch.

Rochelle Minagawa, founder of Kelowna’s Motherlove Ferments, is expanding and relocating to The Kombucha Bar on Vaughan Avenue in June.

“People who don’t drink will have option to have non-alcoholic beverages or, if they’re bar-hopping, it might be nice to take a little break and have some healthier options,” she told “It’s just kind of a little bit of differentiation within the brewery district.”

READ MORE: Great brewing minds think alike in Kelowna’s North End brewery district

For those not in the know, kombucha is a fermented tea drink that normally has less than 0.5% alcohol in it so is not considered an alcoholic beverage.

Minagawa has been brewing and marketing it and other drinks since 2015 but is now taking it to a new level.

“It can be fermented into an alcohol,” she said. “So we want to add that on to the new taproom as a new product.”

She will still carry the Motherlove brand that’s now being marketed throughout B.C. and into Alberta. She’s just got agreements to move it into larger grocery stores, which is one of the reasons why she needs to expand her operations.

The alcoholic version of kombucha will have an alcohol content of 5% to 6%, similar to beer, and be labelled as Daypass. It will come in four flavours: mango habanero, pomegranate rose, hops and mojito.

“There’s lots of different ways that people brew kombucha so, some can be vinegary and acidic,” Minagawa said. “Some can be really sweet. We brew a milder one that is better tasting, in my opinion, than some of the other brands out there. Everyone does it very differently. It’s like beer. Somebody might like a lager and might not like a stout.”

Kombucha has been brewed for thousands of years but it’s just in the last 20 years that it started to be commercially produced and is now quite popular.

Minagawa has applied to the City of Kelowna for support for a liquor licence for a 25-seat lounge/taproom at the manufacturing and bottling plant on Vaughan Avenue and will close her existing plant on Finns Road.

The plan is to have access to a food truck providing local vegan, vegetarian and fermented options but it will also have “grab-and-go” foods like rice and veggie bowls on site.

There’s also going to be an educational component to The Kombucha Bar.

“You can learn about your health, about sustainable practices,” Minagawa said. “You can get a brewery tour of how we make the product. It’s just kind of like a little fun community centre with health-minded people where you can have some fun without alcohol. Or with.”

So, why kombucha when there’s so many good craft breweries and wineries in the region?

“It’s refreshing,” Minagawa said. “It’s hydrating. It’s like a functional beverage so, if people are going to drink a cold drink, it’s healthier than pop. It has low sugar. It’s organic tea in there. You have B vitamins, acetic acid and the probiotics. There are a lot of really good things that are found in kombucha. You’re having a drink that’s quenching thirst but it also has other functions to the beverage.”

The Kombucha Bar is across Vaughan Avenue from the B.C. Tree Fruits retail store and just down the street from craft breweries like the Rustic Reel, Unleashed and The Office.

For more on Motherlove Ferments, go to their website here.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s North End brewery district is going to the dogs

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