For Alex Pearson, Kombucha tea has been something of a lifesaver – in more ways than one. For starters, drinking Kombucha has provided numerous health benefits for the 32-year-old who used to suffer from acid reflux, but is now cured of it. Also, when Alex was unable to continue in her chosen career as a veterinary technician, she opened her own Kombucha tea company – Kombucha Hound. “My sister-in-law got me into it,” Alex says. “I noticed my heartburn was getting better with it. It was an expensive habit so my sister-in-law and I did a homebrewing course and learned how to make it ourselves. I started giving some of my finished product to friends and they really liked it.”
Alex advanced from making home batches for herself and friends to starting a business where she now brews up to 1,300 litres of Kombucha tea per week. “I went to school to be a vet tech, and I did that job for seven and a half years, but I injured my back and suffered from terrible sciatica pain. It wasn’t getting any better because being a vet tech is a very strenuous job. I dropped down to doing it part-time but eventually had to make the hard decision to quit and turned to my hobby of making Kombucha into a full-time job. We moved to the country and opened our own commercial kitchen in Reeces Corners. It is mostly just me, but my husband Marc Piquette helps me when he can.”
Kombucha is a raw and unpasteurized drink that's fizzy and refreshing. “It is considered a living drink,” Alex says. “I don’t pasteurize it because that goes against what Kombucha is. Kombucha is very simple: It is made from sweet tea, cane sugar and water. Then you add your culture to it and let it sit and do its ferment. That is the basis for all Kombucha. In the second ferment, I add the fruit and herbs, and spices for extra flavouring." Pasteurization, or the heating of something to kill bacteria, also kills all the good probiotics, yeast, and bacteria. "You just wouldn’t get the beneficial properties from it.”
Kombucha Hound comes in a variety of flavours including Just Ginger, Strawberry Mojito, Black Cherry, Greyhound Grapefruit, Raspberry Gimlet, and Lavender Fields to name a few. And working as a one-woman show keeps Alex busy. "In addition to brewing, I do all the sanitizing and packaging. Originally, all our Kombucha came in glass bottles you could return for a deposit. But, due to supply issues, we are switching from bottles to cans, and I will do all that myself too.”Alex hopes others will enjoy the benefits of Kombucha tea. “I was on three medications because of acid reflux,” Alex says. “As I drank Kombucha I noticed right away my heartburn would dissipate. I didn’t have that with any of my medications. I was slowly weaned off the meds as I continued to drink Kombucha.” An animal lover, Alex says Kombucha Hound donates a portion of its proceeds to alternating animal rescues and shelters.