The days of bars and restaurants only carrying one beer and basic sodas on tap are long gone. Today, you will find a plethora of craft beers and soda, wine, cold brew coffee, ciders, craft cocktails and anything else you can think of on tap. As a 104-year-old company, Perlick is constantly evolving, and we are constantly improving our beverage dispensing line to be sure we are top of mind when you plan your next draft (or “draught” if you are fancy) experience.
Today, we are talking kombucha! Kombucha is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink. You can find it on draft at some coffee and tea shops, and many people brew it right at home. One of those people is Sara Kennedy, of A Food Lovers Life. The site shares many of Sara’s family recipes, including tips for brewing “booch” at home.
Sara recently worked with Perlick to install her new kegerator, and we discovered her on her Instagram page! Let’s learn more about Sara, and why she is so excited about her new Perlick.
First off, tell us a little about yourself, and why you love food and drink. What is your FAVORITE food?
Hey guys! I am Sara, born and raised in Colorado. We currently live about a mile north of Denver. Happily married 30+ years with two grown sons. I got into food at a very young age, cooking for myself and my family. Growing up my mom wouldn’t buy many baked goods or convenience foods but would happily buy all the ingredients for me if I wanted to make it myself. I learned to use the stove & oven very early, being allowed to cook & bake pretty much anything I felt like eating. I was taught independence and self-sufficiency in the kitchen which I have carried over all my life.
My favorite food is anything my husband grows! I am lucky that I have a mini farmer’s market right outside my backdoor. During the season Chris grows in a vast garden space and in the winter he’s got something going on in the greenhouse. Fresh veggies are always appearing on my kitchen counters, then I figure out what to do with them.
What is afoodloverslife.com, and what made you get it started?
AFoodLoversLife.com was a silly little website I started about 10 years ago just to put up some recipes that would be easily accessible for my boys to refer to once they left for college. Also for family and friends who were often asking for recipes. The website was pretty bare bones and was a ‘just for fun’ and convenience kind of thing for family & friends. Over time it ended up growing a little bit! Now I pay more attention to what it takes to keep up a website. It is still just a fun hobby for me but now I’m fortunate to have a few brand sponsors. They help cover operating expenses and camera gear. I am very grateful and appreciate their support. Each day and every project is new.
For those that do not know much about the “booch,” tell us what it is and why you like it?
Kombucha is fermented black tea which tastes like a combination of lemonade and iced tea. It is a bit tart and sweet at the same time. It has a lovely soft carbonation and fizz, similar to champagne. Kombucha is usually further flavored by infusing fruit (and some veggies) which give it a bright and refreshing flavor. Combinations of fruit and adding herbs like lavender, basil, ginger, cayenne take the flavors to the next level. The fermentation is a quick process. While beer and wine can take a few months or longer to ferment, kombucha can be ready to drink in as little as 2 weeks. Basically, if you like lemonade and iced tea mixed together, you’d love kombucha.
I like kombucha for the health benefits. It is chock full of beneficial probiotics, it is gut healthy, and studies show it is high in B12. It is also a fantastic replacement for beer and wine and something nice to ‘drink’ if you are taking a break from alcohol. Though kombucha has a trace of alcohol (about the same as mouthwash or cough syrup), home brewers can dial up the fermentation and get more alcohol per volume, but I brew to keep it low and almost all store-bought kombucha varieties are considered alcohol free.
What made you want to keg your kombucha?
I was brewing what would probably be considered large batch kombucha brewing, about 5 gallons at a time every 2 weeks. Everyone in my family was drinking kombucha daily so it went fast. I would have a rotation of up to 12-15 bottles of kombucha either fermenting or ready to drink. They occupied refrigerator space and required washing in-between batches. Graduating to kegs was a natural progression. It saves time, space, energy and is more cost effective. I knew I’d have kombucha as part of our daily diet, so I was eager to commit to something easier. It is refreshing, relaxing, gut healthy and simply makes us feel good!
Tell us how you got introduced to Perlick.
That was kind of roundabout stroke of luck type of thing! I was ordering a kegerator from a local tap company called Centennial Tap. They service and sell products to commercial and residential customers who use kegerators and taps. I found something online and let Valerie with Centennial know what I was looking for when it comes to sizing, pricing, etc. We found a unit and placed it on order, but it was 6 weeks out for delivery. She graciously let me borrow one of their in-stock kegerators, the Perlick, while mine was on order. She joked with me not to ‘get too attached to it’. It was a beautiful unit but an upgrade from what I had on order. I said ‘uh, oh, what are you sending me?’ and we got a kick out of it.
They brought out the Perlick and got it set up. A few hours later I emailed Val and asked her to price the Perlick for me instead and was it possible to cancel my other order. It was love at first sight! or draw, I should say. I am SO glad that other unit wasn’t available yet and that Val was nice enough to loan me one in the meantime. It worked out!
We know you are still new to Perlick, but what do you think about the product so far? Could you see using more Perlick in the future?
I love it!
The size. It is perfect to fit in a small corner of my kitchen. While I wanted a nice looking kegerator, I honestly didn’t want one that was going to take up too much space. I don’t have a dedicated built in counter space for it. I wanted a petite unit. Where it is at right now, it’s out of the way but also a ‘hey, what’s over here?’ question that we get a lot. I say grab a glass and pour some kombucha!
The design. I wanted something low profile but high in quality. A gorgeous black casing with stainless steel door.
The quality. Just opening the door you know it’s high quality, solid construction. There is a little feeling of suction on the door when it’s opened and closed. The interior is roomy, enough for 2 corny kegs and a bottle of C02. A simple on/off switch and electronic temperature control is easy to use. The whole unit just feels solid.
The motor. This was big one for me and a question I asked Val right away. What unit has a quiet motor? With this kegerator going in my kitchen, I didn’t want something that was going to hum or buzz and be distracting. The Perlick is quiet. It does turn on and off to regulate the temperature, but it’s not noticeable unless it’s deadly quiet and you’re specifically listening for it. With a normal kitchen, people coming and going, no one ever notices it.
Down the road we are thinking of doing some remodeling in the kitchen, and I would definitely consider a built in Perlick. We love the brand.
When we think kegs we think beer, and Perlick has been around since 1917, so beer has been our #1 for a long time, but we are branching out into coffee on draft, soda, craft cocktails and wine. Do you see the industry of beverages on tap continuing to grow, for both homebrew hobbyists like yourself, and bars/restaurants?
I think there is an ‘untapped’ -ha! opportunity for Perlick to venture into with kombucha and other non-alcoholic drinks. While I do still have a sip of beer or wine now and then, I think more and more people are being mindful of how much alcohol they drink. From what I read, about 1/3 of the US population is alcohol free and looking for replacements both at home and while out in restaurants and bars. It is a healthy drinking alternative. I am actually the second person in our family to buy a kegerator to use exclusively for kombucha. I first had it at my nephew’s house and thought it was the greatest thing ever. On the flip side, these units are more economical than buying bottles of beer and wine. We added up how much money we were spending on drinks and compared it to the cost of the unit and kegs. It was cheaper for us to buy in bulk. This kegerator could easily be switched to beer kegs, or we could do one kombucha and one draft beer!
Coffee on tap? Wow. My world would be complete at that point.
We all need a little comfort in this world, especially right now. How does food and drink bring us together, and why is that so important?
We are in stressful times. Personally, our family has been hibernating for about a year now. We cannot wait to have more people over and get back to socializing and having people over. Our food and drinks are at the center of our lives. We grow most of our own produce and make garden to table meals every day. We have friends and family over most weekends and host several groups as houseguests each year. It is fun to get food requests from some of our guests! I plan meals and menus, and everything is informal and casual. We cherish our food memories and traditions, and we also love trying new dishes. Company arrives and we head to the garden to pick something fresh. For us it is all about those we love and sharing a great meal and a drink. It’s bonding.
Thank you so much for the feature and for taking an interest in me, not only as a customer but as a person who loves good food and family. It has been wonderful to chat with you over email and social media. I am so glad I happened to come across your company and I smile everyday as I pour out a chilled & bubbly kombucha. Cheers!
Cheers to YOU Sara and thank you for sharing your story. We have a feeling that we are just beginning to untap some of the possibilities of beverages on draft. Happy holidays and enjoy the time with family, and of course food and "booch"!