We’re not sure exactly when kombucha crept onto brewery tap lists or “gut health” became acceptable to say in casual conversation, but the probiotic invasion of the refrigerated aisle is clear: We’re living in a funky, fermented world. While big-name brands dominate the grocery store, it’s the small-batch breweries across the country that capture our hearts—and soothe our stomachs after going too hard on that taco crawl.
Checking out local kombucha’s is great way to get a sense of the area’s collective taste and style. Plus, the fermented tea could help soothe an upset tummy while you’re on the road.
Shameless friend promotion: our gal Olga Sorzano of Baba’s Bucha (an Edible Philly “Local Hero” of 2019…!) makes some killer kombuchas, including plenty of pink-hued gems. We always have one of her fermented goodies on draft at Tria Taproom, so swing by and see what’s good. And funky. (And pink.)
Each year, we honor trailblazers in Philadelphia’s local food scene with our Local Hero awards. Edible Philly readers, contributors and past Local Hero award winners put forward nominees, and our editorial team chose 2019’s honorees. The tastemakers profiled in the following pages make our local food community more vibrant every year.
With an increasing awareness of and appreciation for locally made products, many local food artisans are expanding their operations to keep up with demand in this boom time.
“Growers and makers are gaining traction,” said Troy Sorzano, who operates Baba's Bucha: A Culture Factory in Phoenixville with his wife, Olga, who founded the business in 2015.
“You can just see it and it's not just Baba's Brew as a maker — we aren't the only ones growing.”
Joy Manning and Annie Baum-Stein invented Sober Ladies Happy Hours for women who want to hang out without drinking.
Here’s a look at some of Philly’s ferment-focused eateries and the most biotically blessed hometown products to sample:
Olga’s inspiration for her business came from her childhood. Growing up in Siberia, Olga used to drink her Baba’s (grandmother’s) kombucha. Every time Olga would have an ache or pain her Baba would reply with a simple phrase: “Have some kombucha.”
Baba’s Brew was founded in 2015 by loyal Kimberton Whole Foods customer, Olga Sorzano. Growing up in Soviet Russia in the 1980s, Olga began drinking kombucha with her great-grandmother (Baba) at a young age….
I’m a newly devoted kombucha drinker. Picture it with me: a slightly fizzy fermented drink, full of probiotics and antioxidants, low in sugar, and of course made with tea- sounds like a sweet deal, right? So when I learned there was a kombucha lecture in my area, I didn’t hesitate to attend. I originally went to learn more about this healing beverage and to maybe learn how to make it myself.
The Daily Tea Team
“Probiotic” is a big buzzword in the health and wellness world these days. Probiotics are microscopic live bacteria and yeasts, and they’re the “good” kind: good for your health, especially the digestive system. We’re all looking for that good gut health, right?
The Culture Factory, owned by Olga Sorzano and her husband, educates the community about the benefits of fermented foods, while brewing a fermented probiotic tonic made from sweet tea called Baba’s Brew Kombucha.
“It’s like ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ It takes a village to support the small businesses,” agreed Olga Sorzano of Baba’s Brew in Phoenixville.
Fun, fizzy, fermented … kombucha. An old-world drink with roots in China and Europe is now found right here in Phoenixville, brought to you by A Culture Factory on Morgan Street.
How do you define success? For Olga Sorzano success is a balancing act. Sorzano is an entrepreneur and business owner. Along with her husband, she runs Baba’s Brew, a Phoenixville, PA kombucha brewery which has grown rapidly over the two and a half years that they have been in...
One beautiful Saturday I sat down for brunch and was pleasantly surprised by what was on offer, usually brunch is an high-calorie, boozy endeavor but if you're on a health kick or teetotaling there are some great options on deck like local kombucha on tap.
Turns out our great grandmothers were right. At least that’s true for Olga Sorzano, whose Siberian baba always kept homemade kombucha on hand. Long treasured for its health benefits, kombucha combines sweet tea with a yeast-bacteria culture for an effervescent drink low in calories and sugar, but high in probiotics and all the stuff your bubbe said would keep the doctor away. In her Phoenixville nano-brewery, Sorzano creates seasonal flavors like Rosy Apple and Asian Pear Ginger and year-round Flower Power. Baba’s got a shout out from Inquirer food critic Craig LaBan, and it’s popping up in bottles and on tap in over 100 locations. Look for the brewery’s new tasting room and BIY (Brew-It-Yourself) classes.
The Town Dish: Phoenixville
Steel City offers three seasonal types of Baba’s Brew Kombucha on tap. Baba’s Bucha is handcrafted in small batches using only fair trade organic ingredients and local seasonal produce. It is vegan, raw, gluten free and has no artificial flavorings or colors.