A buzz with added benefits? Meet hard kombucha.
Hard Kombucha is the newest beverage craze and according to Anna Zesbaugh, founder of ’s for good reason., it
“We’ve seen a heightened focus on health-conscious lifestyles and ,” she says. “While we can’t necessarily say hard kombucha is ‘healthy’ with alcohol added to it, I think the probiotic benefits are something people are looking for.”
Whileis fermented tea, hard kombucha takes the fermentation process a step further to create a higher alcohol content. Its alcoholic volume is similar to that of a beer, yet it tends to be lighter on the stomach. Still relatively new, hard kombucha sales are on the rise. According to Kombucha Brewers International, hard kombucha grew from a $1.7 million market in 2017 to more than $12 million in 2019. In the next five years, brewers project it to reach up to $300 million.
Eager to bring the tangy drink to Denver, 25-year-old Zesbaugh launched a line of her own inspired by prohibition-style cocktails. The idea was birthed at the start of the pandemic and has since evolved to three signature flavors — Bee’s Knees, Clover Club and Old Fashioned — all now being distributed throughout the city.
“I had been furloughed from my job working in corporate events and was trying to think about what my next move was going to be,” she said. “When [Mayor] Hancock had shut down all of the liquor stores in Denver, it sparked something in my mind. It wasn’t necessarily the concept of Hooch Booch then, but I started to think about it a little more and the idea just hit me…It kind of felt like the perfect combination of bringing the times together but also bringing this beverage to light in the state of Colorado and Denver specifically.”
After its initial launch the first week of May 2021, Zesbaugh says it’s been a roaring success. To her, Hooch Booch represents the return of human connection and reconnecting with one’s community. She works to partner with local business to get the drinks in as many hands as possible.
All three of Hooch Booch’s signature flavors are handcrafted to be reminiscent of the booziest decade of the 20th century. Zesbaugh recommends to sip as is or add in a suggested spirit for a timeless libation.
Outside of creating Hooch Booch, Zesbaugh used her time in quarantine to earn a 300-hour yoga teacher certification, making her a 500-hour advanced yoga teacher.
“It’s been great to bring this beverage to my yoga community,” she says. “My practice has brought me ease throughout this entire journey — coming back to meditation, knowing that there’s always a plan in place for us.”
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Photos courtesy of Hooch Booch.