Better Booch goes 'against the grain' with horchata flavor and can packaging

By Beth Newhart

- Last updated on GMT

"People are loving the cans. The customer hasn’t been deterred by it at all, it would seem."
"People are loving the cans. The customer hasn’t been deterred by it at all, it would seem."

Related tags kombucha Tea craft beverages Fermentation

Cinnamon, star anise and creamy rice combine with oolong tea for Better Booch’s newest kombucha flavor, Hola Horchata. It’s the first in a new line of out-of-the-box varieties set to launch in the US in early 2020.

Trey and Ashleigh Lockerbie have been brewing Better Booch kombucha together for eight years out of California, and now offer a total of eight flavors. The new Hola Horchata came from the brand’s head brewer who wanted to switch up all the classic flavors associated with kombucha.

The rest of Better Booch’s lineup is more traditional, with flavors like Ginger Boost and Citrus Sunrise. The Lockerbies wanted their formulation to be low in sugar and calories, and it’s flavored using only tea, herbs and botanicals with no fruit juice or powders.

better booch 1

All the drinks are tea-based and verified non-alcoholic, vegan, kosher, non-GMO and gluten-free. Hola Horchata is a permanent SKU and the first single in an exciting line of new flavors, according to the Lockerbies.

They took a chance on horchata to differentiate themselves from the populated kombucha market of fruity and floral flavors. The coming flavors will be a little more of a departure from its flavor lineup, will ‘make sense in context.’

Ashleigh told BeverageDaily, “We believe in being creative and trying to be unique, to go against the grain a little bit and not do what everyone else is doing. And we think we really have accomplished that with this flavor.”

As a small craft brewer, Better Booch started out as a one-gallon jar production and has grown to brewing more than 10,000 gallons weekly. The acids produced from the fermentation detox the body, according to Better Booch, while polyphenols and antioxidants from the tea rid the body of free radicals.

Are consumers down with canned 'buch?

Better Booch is available in both bottles and cans, but only ships cans because they are lighter and can be packed more tightly. Ashleigh said the team started noticing that some of their favorite craft beers have been packaging almost exclusively in cans with the aim of preserving the product better.

By packing more product into the same trucks, canned packaging lowers carbon emissions and protects the kombucha from penetrating UV light. They can be easily recycled and taken on-the-go with less risk of breakage. Ashleigh said from a preservation and quality standpoint, the overall kombucha experience is better out of a can.

“The biggest fear we had was consumer perception--if everyone’s always used to drinking kombucha out of glass, are they going to be down with the cans? But I think we’re seeing, judging by the fact that our can sales are way up, that people are loving the cans. The customer hasn’t been deterred by it at all, it would seem,”​ Ashleigh said.

It’s becoming a more popular choice for kombucha packaging, seen in smaller craft brands like KOE, Brew Dr. Kombucha and Kombucha Town. As the drink finds a footing in more drinking occasions and spaces, it’s natural for the packaging to evolve into something more convenient.

The craft side of kombucha has it cropping up on tap in bars, whether as a hard kombucha product, an alcohol alternative or for mixing into cocktails and mocktails. Ashleigh noted that kombucha fermentation is a very similar process to brewing beer and wine, and she thinks that the industry can go down the same route.

“There’s so many makers, and everyone has their own taste preferences, so I don’t see the growth of the industry slowing down any time soon. I do think there’s room for many, many more,”​ she said.

Each 16oz can of Better Booch contains 50 calories, 10g of sugar and 10g of carbs. It's now sold on Amazon and at more than 1,000 retail locations like Whole Foods, Sprouts, Lassens and Safeway, mostly located in California and the southwestern US. 

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