Q & A With Founder Peter Barrett | Kombucha Northern Ireland

Owner of the craft tea brew co,, peter barrett, from northern ireland

“I became interested in fermented drinks a few years ago when I went to the doctor for acid reflux problems and he recommended putting me on prescription medicine for basically the rest of my life”

We sat down with owner and founder of The Craft Tea Brew Co, Northern Ireland’s first kombucha brewery, to find out what the inspiration is behind the brews, what his day job is, and what he’s doing when he’s not brewing a big batch of the good stuff. Here’s what he had to say about where his business is now and what he thinks the future of kombucha in Northern Ireland will hold.

1.What is your background before you started brewing kombucha?– ‘How long is this article going to be?’ he chuckles. ‘Well, I’m trained as an agricultural botanist and after I graduated with my PhD from Queen’s University, I did research and academia work for the university in this field. I had always worked in the local Agri-Food Sector throughout my career even when I moved on to the Commercial Sector. Most recently, I am involved in providing technical consultancy on fermentation and bio-processes in the renewable organic biogas industry.’

2. Why kombucha?-‘I became interested in fermented drinks a few years ago when I went to the doctor for acid reflux problems and he recommended putting me on prescription medicine for basically the rest of my life. I started doing my own research for natural digestive remedies and brewing different types of fermented drinks in my kitchen. I loved the concept of kombucha and felt like it was a really good application of my botanical interests and experiences.’

3. What is your all-time favourite batch you’ve brewed?– I have loads but I have one memorable one that sort of helped convince me to launch The Bucha’s Dog I called ‘No Secco’, it was amazing. I can’t even remember the recipe I used. I know it had tinned pears in it as well as green tea. I still have a bottle of it!’

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?– Hopefully as more of a mainstream product category, with us being a leading local independent manufacturer. We would love to be a household name in the UK and Ireland.’

5. Do you think Northern Ireland is ready for kombucha? What has held it back from the growth in places like America?– It definitely is ready! I think it has taken longer to take off here because of a smaller population of people who are wellness orientated. In the U.S, kombucha has been so successful because it is more visible and in all of the leading national health food stores, like Whole Foods. We will get there.’

6. If you weren’t brewing, what would you be doing instead?-‘ I would be wearing my other hat more often and doing more of the ‘day job’ But in truth I am entrepreneurial and would likely be looking for some other pet project to get my teeth into. But probably buying and drinking other brands of kombucha.’

7. When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?-‘Mountain biking, family time, and reading books.’ What kind of books do you read? ‘Mostly business or books about tea and all sorts of drinks.’

8. Is kombucha here to stay?-‘Yes, for sure!’

9. What do we have to look forward to this year with The Craft Tea Brew Co?-‘ More flavours, in the form of core products and also Limited Editions and more widespread availability throughout the UK and Ireland. We are excited to focus on the growth and development of kombucha on tap as a more eco-friendly option with our new click and collect service as well. More importantly, we really want to show people how many things you can do with tea and evolve people’s experience of it beyond what they thought ever possible. We want to expand people’s horizons and offer a new and sophisticated side of our already strong tea culture.’

Pete's Top Picks for This Month

Just released and conditioned for 6 months. This hand foraged kombucha is floral with a dry melon-like finish.

Take care of your Immuni-tea this winter. Packed with echinacea, elderberry, and black currant. This has been one of our most popular flavours this year.

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The Craft Tea Brew Co | Kombucha Northern Ireland 

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