Drinking Cultured: Kombucha in West Michigan

Tangy, effervescent, slightly sour, and packed full of probiotics—kombucha has a lot going for it.

This fermented beverage has developed a real cult following over the decades, as people realize it’s not just tasty but has some health benefits. Just like with beer, mead and cider (all also fermented), creating kombucha involves yeast and bacteria breaking down sugars into various beneficial compounds, including alcohol. 

For beer, the sugars come from malt. For mead, it’s honey, and cider obviously comes from apples. In kombucha’s case, it’s made from sweetened tea, with the help of a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast, a.k.a. a SCOBY! 

The result is a fizzy, sweet and sour drink, with tons of probiotics and just a bit of alcohol, though it’s typically under 0.5% ABV, and many brands nowadays get the ABV low enough to where you don’t even need to be 21 to buy it. Which is great, because people of all ages deserve to enjoy this refreshing treat that seems to aid digestion and immune systems, thanks to the probiotics and other enzymes. 

We’re lucky in West Michigan to have a buffet of booch made right here and available at stores all over. Here are a few of our favorite kombucha makers in town.

Sacred Springs
1059 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids

Sacred Springs doesn’t just make kombucha, they have a whole taproom right on Wealthy, serving up kombucha, mead, kombucha beer and more. The duo running the joint craft their beverages along with singing bowls and didgeridoos, “infusing” every drop of liquid with sound and intention. Head here for 15 kombuchas, with flavors like Trop Hopics featuring pineapple and Simcoe hops.

Lively Up Kombucha

A hobby became a passion for the couple who started Lively Up, discovering kombucha culture while in Hawaii. You’ll now see their colorful bottles out and about at stores like Martha’s Vineyard and Kingma’s, in a variety of flavors including Lavender Bliss, Jammin’ Ginger and more. Also check out their JUN varieties—a cousin to kombucha made with raw local honey.

Boochie Bar
8450 Algoma Ave., Rockford

After seeing great success with kombucha when fighting autoimmune diseases, the owner of Boochie Bar fell in love with the stuff and wanted to spread the good word. This is her take on a wellness bar, with kombucha actually provided by Lively Up, alongside organic acai bowls, smoothies, “Funky Fresh Entrees,” raw juice and wellness shots.

Cultured Kombucha

Hailing from Traverse City, this kombucha brand is straightforward, quality stuff. Find their glass bottles on store shelves, in flavors like Yooper Berry, Strawberry Rhubarb, Lavender Bliss, Spiced Pear and Tasty Tepache. Also keep an eye out for seasonal flavors like Apple Harvest in the fall!

Zenned Out

Operating out of Muskegon and delivering within the region, Zenned Out Kombucha (ZOK) brews a uniquely well-balanced kombucha that has subtle tart notes. It began as a post-workout recovery for owners Matt and Kyle and blossomed into a business in 2022. Get a six-pack of their original green tea kombucha or raspberry hibiscus delivered to your door, or start making your own with the ZOK Kombucha Brewing 101 class—just $15 to attend and an additional $15 for an optional kombucha starter kit. 

Bailey’s Farms

Another Traverse City brand, Bailey’s does fun, fizzy fermented tea in 13 delicious flavors, ranging from Happy Spleen Green to Sun In The Winter, Creamy Earl Grey and many more. You can spot them by their signature cute, modern packaging in stores around West Michigan.